Time Management

I got the following mail from my friends....and wanted to discuss.
Mail sent by Narayan Murthy to all Infosys staff:

It's half past 8 in the office but the lights are still on... PCs still running, coffee machines still buzzing...
And who's at work? Most of them ??? Take a closer look...

All or most specimens are ?? ...Something male species of the human race...

Look closer... again all or most of them are bachelors...

And why are they sitting late? Working hard? No way!!! Any guesses???
Let's ask one of them...
Here's what he says... 'What's there 2 do after going home...Here we get to surf, AC, phone, food, coffee that is why I am working late...Importantly no bossssssss!!!!!!!!!!!'

This is the scene in most research centers and software companies and other off-shore offices.

Bachelors 'Passing-Time' during late hours in the office just bcoz they say they've nothing else to do...
Now what r the consequences...

'Working' (for the record only) late hours soon becomes part of the institute or company culture.

With bosses more than eager to provide support to those 'working' late in the form of taxi vouchers, food vouchers and of course good feedback, (oh, he's a hard worker.... goes home only to change..!!).
They aren't helping things too...

To hell with bosses who don't understand the difference between 'sitting' late and 'working' late!!!

Very soon, the boss start expecting all employees to put in extra working hours.

So, My dear Bachelors let me tell you, life changes when u get married and start having a family... office is no longer a priority, family is... and
That's when the problem starts... b'coz u start having commitments at home too.

For your boss, the earlier 'hardworking' guy suddenly seems to become a 'early leaver' even if u leave an hour after regular time... after doing the same amount of work.

People leaving on time after doing their tasks for the day are labelled as work-shirkers...

Girls who thankfully always (its changing nowadays... though) leave on time are labelled as 'not up to it'. All the while, the bachelors pat their own backs and carry on 'working' not realizing that they r spoiling the work culture at their own place and never realize that they would have to regret at one point of time.

So what's the moral of the story??

* Very clear, LEAVE ON TIME!!!
* Never put in extra time ' unless really needed '
* Don't stay back unnecessarily and spoil your company work culture which will in turn cause inconvenience to you and your colleagues.

There are hundred other things to do in the evening..

Learn music....
Learn a foreign language...
Try a sport... TT, cricket..........
Importantly,get a girl friend or boy friend, take him/her around town...

* And for heaven's sake, net cafe rates have dropped to an all-time low (plus, no fire-walls) and try cooking for a change.

Take a tip from the Smirnoff ad: *'Life's calling, where are you??'*

Please pass on this message to all those colleagues and please do it before leaving time, don't stay back till midnight to forward this!!!



I do not want to debate on the statements made by Narayanmurthy. But here are my thoughts:

Is the mail really from Naryanmurthy?
Is he asking the bachelors to get a girl friend?

Am I going to discuss on the above?...................NO

Do not look into who sent the mail to whom, but look at the contents. It not only says that the resource should be efficient on time but also on the wastage of resources. In these economic slowdown, saving resources is very critical. Let us discuss on these lines.

1. Why people sit late in the office?

Excuse #1

There are many reasons for that. Primarily it is the people who themselves get into the habit of the sitting late. Very few cases, where the Manager sits late and expect the team also to sit late along with him. My boss tells me that I have the disease of sitting late. As most of you know, this is common in Accounts department. Being in a support function, all the day the accountant will work for others. After the office hours, he will feel relieved and start working on completing his own activity. This is how the practice of sitting late will start and become a habit. Office will become home and we start spending 8 hours at home.

Excuse #2

When you start your career, though you want to leave on time, you will not. Why? Others are sitting. How will that be treated? So you get used to that and that will become a practice. This reminds me the story of the Monkeys in the cage. The new monkey will also get used to the culture!!!! (I am not narrating the story, as most of you know this story of new monkey trying to get the banana and get beaten up by the others). This will continue in your subsequent organisations also.


When you join an organisation, you will spend time in learning the process and to increase your learning curve, you spend time in the office and it will turn out to be a practice.

When you complete your task on time and leave home early you get more work. So you will spend time to complete your work, so that you will not get more work. To be precise, you do not want to be penalised for the inefficiencies of others.

The excuse list is not exhaustive.

2. What can you do to avoid this late sitting?
  • When you join a company, understand the work culture. If possible, before joining the company itself.
  • After joining, make sure that you are not whiling away your time in cafeteria and then spend late hours in the office to complete your tasks.
  • Make sure you prepare a To-Do list and prioritize your schedules. As Stephen Covey in his "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" says - “The key is not to prioritize your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”
  • If you notice any dependency on some department or person, try to work with them closely to understand their concerns and address them, so that you get your support on time. After all, it is a team work.
  • Improve your process efficiency. Cut redundant tasks, automate.
  • Do not encourage unnecessary intruders. If you are busy, ask them to come later.
  • If your manager gives you an unscheduled job and if you are in some other important work, as him which one to prioritize. Open discussion will be give good times, most of the times.
  • If nothing works, talk to your manager. If it is not working, talk to your manager's manager. Even, if it is not have to take the call !!
In this globalized economy, we are to work on various time-zones and our body-clock is challenged. So, plan your time effectively. Spend time with your family, develop some habits. Enhance your skill set. Acquire new skill set.

I have not elaborated much on the points, as I would like to hear more from my friends on their views.



Raghavan said...

Really interesting and informative! I guess an extra curricular activity/habit is a great stress reliever. When nothing is working well in the office/personal life, these things keeps you going!

Bala on Mar 9, 2009, 10:39:00 AM said...

Good one, Gopal !!

It reminds me running the admin dept (one of the responsibilities) in my earlier organisation. All lights, A.Cs etc will be functioning in the entire hall, and the few people who are the floor would not really mind to switch off / inform admin. Also people (who have cabins) do not switch off the A.C in their cabin when they leave office.

When enquired everyone invariably say "It's not our job". Fine, management understands that it's the duty of admin department, but still what is expected is the co-operation from them. But that's missing.


Anand on Mar 10, 2009, 8:55:00 PM said...

Dear Gopal,
You have opened the Pandora box... This is one classic challenge i'm facing and faced in the past... I keep getting feedback from those late sitters that they left late...
According to me i prefer discipline... Unfortunately our IT culture has spoilt the entire industry... People cant understand the difference between sitting late and working late...
I firmly believe late working/sitting will cause lot of damage to company and individual...
One thing what i want to tell everyone is Bosses never value efforts but value results... Atleast i value results a lot...
Thank you once again gopal...

Bala on Mar 10, 2009, 8:57:00 PM said...

Hello Gopal,

Had many meetings today and was busy. That's the reason for delay.

Here're my thoughts (and have come across many as a HR manager):

Reasons for staying late in office:

a) Bachelors stay late since they think that they don't have anything to do at home
b) Dinner cost is saved as company sponsors for late sitting employees
c) If TV is available in office, staff who don't have TV at home / who cannot watch match at home, sit late in office (doing some work on and off to show that they are working)
d) During summer time, people stay late in office to enjoy air conditioned environment
e) If the boss sits late, his team member also sits late thinking that he can't leave office before boss does
f) Some employees stay late for other employees to finish their work. Reasons : they might be room-mates and want to go together, or friends who want to go out together to movies, shopping etc
g) Some wait for their spouse to come and pick up
h) Many don't get chance to do personal things during the day time and hence, they stay late to have those done like web sites browsing (mainly job, marriage, horoscope etc), taking xerox of personal documents etc

Can tell you more if time permits.


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