Workplace Culture

and so my previous post seemed to have triggered a chain reaction with RS and S&S writing their experiences and opinions here and here

Do read them…they are amazingly interesting…

I want to write more on the work place culture…

I  have changed 3 companies in 7 years of work ex…

In my previous company  (my second one) sitting back late was a norm…it was like if you dont stay back late, you are not efficient..pretty much as S&S put it in her post….you could come in at whatever time, but never leave on time…in my peak pregnancy, I have stayed back and worked till 10, worked on weekends, left home at 6.30 and reached work to finish off work…the stress levels were horrible…so much that R’s current doctor actually attributes R’s asthma to my stress levels in some way…

in the current company, which is basically an engineering firm, no one stays back..and if you stay back, you get paid 200 Rs an hour!!!! so there are people who actually plan their new furniture around overtime money..okie so I  have to buy that sofa which is Rs.4000, so I need to put in X hours of OT in this week, so as to reach my goal..blah blah blah….

and like S&S also wrote, till you were unmarried, it really didnt matter, it also didnt matter if you were married and had no kids and had a spouse who is equally workoholic..but it definitely started to matter once you had a kid…

again, we Indians dont believe in pursuing hobbies at the cost of ‘work’ we wont leave work on time to go to that dance class or music class or violin class…we will rather ‘work’ than enjoy a hobby…

but once it comes to children, we may..I repeat..may try and leave work on time..that too I notice its only the women…most men around me, nope sir…meri biwi hai na!

RD, I am extremely proud to say here, is the opposite…since he works nearer to home, its he who takes leaves, rushes in case of an emergency..and hands R over to me once I am back home 🙂

RD’s office is one of the few I have seen, who really values its least RD’s boss does…he is amongst the very few who actually persuade RD to go on leaves, take leaves, enjoy with the family and try and accommodate to R’s ill health as much as possible..he never question’s RD on why he has to go on leave…you have to take a leave..go ahead, no questions, no come to work now…blah blah  blah! he is an amazing boss…of course the fact that RD is never disconnected from work is something I am not dwelling on…I think the fault lies more with RD than his boss..because his boss values family…and to me thats the true spirit of a boss…one who trusts you to finish work in your own time and space!

anyways these are what I think should be work ethics in every organisation

1) Trust your employee to finish work…whether in 4 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours it doesnt really matter….give him/her deadlines which are realistic and then leave it to them to finish it..if they dont, give them 3 more chances…if not, well..just sack them!

2) Never expect your employees to stay back just for the heck of it..I always believe if you cant finish your work in 10 hours, it just shows either you are inefficient or you are really over case of the former, turn efficient; in case of the later, talk to your boss and let him know the importance of getting the right amount of work

3) Staying back late is not a norm! Infact people who stay back late at work should be pulled up to be more efficient! its not a positive thing!

4) Ask for valid reasons before letting a person stay back…check why that person is staying back – for work or just like that!

And so much more which S&S and RS have written…

I guess we need to change our work culture really really really…we need to realise that we are no longer slaves…we work for ourselves..and if the company is nice to us..we will be nice to the company..

If RD is super dedicated its more to do with the fact that his boss and his organisation cares for him which results in him caring for his organisation..

its always a two way relation..the more you care for your employees the more they will give back..

honestly in this organisation, I dont mind staying back late or working on a saturday..because my boss never pressurizes me to stay back…you leave on time and do it tomorrow…something that makes me want to do more for him…and thats the work culture we need to stress on..

I can understand occasionally staying back working against deadlines, etc etc..but to make it an everyday affair is not really a great thing..

and something comes to my mind..

whats the point of slogging so much…when are you going to enjoy what you are earning? after retirement?

which of course you can..but there are certain things which you can do only when you are why not do that..enjoy, let go, have fun when you can!

Being sincere to work is great, but remember being sincere to yourself is equally important 🙂



ETA: R is doing much better..she went to school and will proceed to daycare after that…thank you all for th prayers and for asking about her…I am so touched 🙂


About R's Mom

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39 Responses to Workplace Culture

  1. VJ says:

    That was an awesome post R’s mom.
    Its one of my pet peeves. I have never worked in India but have heard from husband about working late hours and the attitudes of organisations.
    When I think of coming back to India, this is one thing that really worries me.. I cannot work for more than the hours I am being paid. I may have been spoilt by the Western world .. but people here believe in work-family balance. I have stayed back on few occasions to finish work .. and everytime I need to, my company gives me a few days notice because they know I need to arrange for my kid to be picked up.

    P.S: the last few posts have been really interesting.. have been reading yours and all the others linked to your post.. just havent had the time to comment.

  2. Hi RM – Hope R is okay and is back to school & daycare today. And thanks a lot for linking up the post to mine.
    ‘meri biwi hai na!’ – I felt really outraged at that one (even with the almost close to nil hindi that I know!) What are we? Biwis or care-takers?! 😦
    ‘and if you stay back, you get paid 200 Rs an hour’- And now we know why people are not asked to stay back. I mean, associate a cost with the time and the management will know how to improve the working conditions.
    ‘at least RD’s boss does…’ – That is the sole point, RM. More than the organisation, it is the immediate superior who matters the most. If your boss is good and supportive enough, you can put up with any thing else in the workplace.
    ‘whats the point of slogging so much…when are you going to enjoy what you are earning? after retirement?’ – My children will not begin to talk in their ‘mazhalai’ after I retire, right? They wouldn’t even be staying with me to hug and kiss me when I am back from work, right? More than anything else, what are the odds that I will stay healthy and fine if I slog like a pig in my younger days??!
    I am sorry I ranted again. But this working late culture puts me off so much every time the topic comes up.
    A wonderful-thought-provoking-post as usual! 🙂

    • R's Mom says:

      R is almost back to normal..sorry should have mentioned in the post..will do it after I approve the comments 🙂

      I loved the last para about the so true na

  3. Sumana says:

    Lovely post RM. I have seen the stereo types of “Mere Biwi hai na”. I have come across too many of them. I was working as a consultant when abroad and have seen the Americans leave office at 5 and being in by 8am. What amazing timings they keep up to. They love their salsa and many other classes adn their time out with girl friends. It is just amazing that you have so many things to do after work and you never realise it till you drag yourself out of work. It is rarely that i come home late, but when i do, the kids ask me “So you are also becoming like appa?? coming late…” I sure have a person to answer to now and not one 2 of them. But i love to go home to the little ones.

  4. garima says:

    ‘Life is an icecream enjoy it before it melts’.
    Working to earn own living is necessary but then if we have no time to enjoy the earnings then wats the point of slogging entire life and at last dying.
    The work culture and stress level sometimes may be unavoidable but it should be such that it allows individuals to enjoys their hard work (money earned) the way they want.

    In West they have a wonderful concept of :
    1)Sabbatical leaves:Go on long breaks enjoy life to fullest and then come back with a bang.
    2)Unlimited sickleave:As they value their employee’s health.But then they are too honest to use only when absolutley required.

    Give ur best in office give that extra bit once in while if needed but when its required for u to take a break then go ahead go on leave come back re-energisied and then give 100% at work.

    Hope R baby is fine now!!!

    • R's Mom says:

      arey R is fine…I will add that in the post 🙂

      I love the concept of Sabbaticals…I think its so refreshening..RD also tells me of his friends in Australia who take Sabbaticals…lovely idea

  5. RS says:

    1. Hubby’s boss is a darling too – understands the need to take leaves when kids are unwell but also the fact that hubby is available 24/7 -whether necessary or not maybe adds to the confidence level.
    So, my arguement with hubby has been this: Right now we are both in very hectic projects but while he can stay back until 11pm take calls, stay and help the team resolve issues – I HAVE to leave at 5 even if my team is struggling with something – I can only give them tips and then cant wait and see if it resolves the issue or not… So balancing act is mine again? and the compromise too? Desptie having a real partnership marriage (I’ve seen, like you’ve mentioned- Biwi hai na, husbands plenty here) one of us have to stand with feet on 2 boats – work and home… That is when an understanding boss comes to picture who agrees that its OK for me to take onsite calls from home after putting my son to sleep (my previous manager too was one of the understanding ones and I loved working with him).

    2. I’ve changed 3 organisations in 7.5 yrs too 🙂 And even during my pregnancy I’ve worked from 9-9 because the manager was not ready to ‘trust’ anyone else and assigned every task to me even during 8th month of pregnancy – so you have managers like that too! Sometimes I think its bad to be a good worker too! 😦

    • R's Mom says:

      See RS, at the end of the day its between you and your hubby on who can do the balancing act…its good that your manager lets you take calls from home..isnt that better than slogging at work worrying about the baby…

      Its bad to be a good worker..hahahahah! thats such a cute line 🙂

  6. Seema says:

    “Trust your employee to finish work” – very valid point. Ultimately, work getting done is more important and not how it is getting done. To be more precise, by spending how many hours in office.

    Yes, it did not matter much to extend work hours before kids. It’s true how we are already planning to put kids to hobby classes and induce different interests in them but we forget that we too need some hobby. We don’t believe in pursuing hobby at the cost of work, kids, family!

    Lastly, how is R doing? Did she go to school today? Warm hugs to her.

    • R's Mom says:

      R is well thank you…will update the post

      work is getting done na..true thats what matters in the end….we dont believe in pursuing hobby at the cost of work, kids and family and that makes me sad 😦

  7. Bikram says:

    Hmmm I can never understand this. Where I work I leave on time and go on time.. Simpke and so does everyone else.. Another thing that makes me mad is holidays I have talked to a lot of indian friends and they all say, the same dont get leave max. 3 days etc etc. Why I cant understand that.

    You are right lot of trust is needed if employee is happy more efficient work….

    I did overtime for a year aftwr that never done it…not worth the hassel. I am happy with the salary I get.

    • R's Mom says:

      oh yaa..the issue of taking holidays…even I am guilty of that…whenever RD asks me to take off for some outing..I refuse …I seriously need to change that!

  8. You are absolutly right… I have never ever advocated staying back late… I infact think you are inefficient or seriously overworked, if you have to stay back late every day… one in a while in the time of crisis I can undertand, but it should not be everyday norm…

    In my Husband’s previous company, it was compulsary that you availed your leave, you could not encash it, could not carry it forward, could not let it lapse, if you dont finish it till end of the year, you had to go on leave for that much no of days at the end… this meant we properly planned vacations… even if it meant answering few ph calls, it was ok, you come back refreshed to work…

    I remember I had this boss who used to give me work at 1.00 pm on a sat wherein the working hours were till 1.30, I did the work for few weeks, then protested… I was never comfortable in the place, where I was expected to work more than the working hrs for just heck of it…

    The first org I worked was a small place, where everybody used to stay back during the incometax retur filing period, even I used to stay back… then I got engaged, and my fiance used to come to Pune during the weekends, my boss used to make sure that I left office early and not stayed back on a sat, so that I get time to meet him… I can never forget that he used to finish up my work…

    There are such people in the world, who makes the world go smoothly

    • R's Mom says:

      Long time..hope things are fine

      your husband organization sounded pretty much like RD’s you have to take leaves its important

      I loved your earlier boss..cute na..letting you leave office early and all…thats so romantic 🙂

  9. Ashwathy says:

    Agree with every single point you’ve stated here. It’s not about the number of hours you put in, but the quality of work that is the output, that matters.

    And in fact people who work late into the nights give others a bad reputation! 😡 🙄

  10. Sreetama says:

    Very valid points. My organization has this work culture that if u stay back till late, u r more efficient and the person responsible is the Boss himself. He runs 2 companies. Sits in our office in the morning, leaves in the afternoon and comes back again in the evening. He calls for a 5 minute meeting which often gets longer and sometimes he even assigns some immediate work which makes me late. This is very bugging! Sometimes I feel it is done purposely so that he can satisfy his ic pleasures! 😡

  11. Vidya says:

    My doc/mentor, during a recent visit showed me a few lines from a magazine.. While I don’t remember the exact lines, the essence was this: Not to tax ourselves in the name of being ambitious, not to always chase something, not to hold onto things etc.. It feels nice to just let go and breathe easily… You are right.. Its quite common to see specimens always trying to please the boss by staying up late and all that.. who cares!

  12. AT says:

    I have so much to say on this topic…I don’t want to hog this space, so i’ll write a post, linking it back over here (if that’s ok)…

    I am glad that R is doing better… God bless her…

  13. anisnest says:

    wow RM.. that’s absolutely true.. I have been through several management in this same project From the micro managing one to the one I have now.. My current mgr is just awesome is the least to say.. No pressure. Thinks twice before he calls at off-hour and that makes me more responsible.. makes me feel I have to do more.. isn’t this all about those positive vibes? I have learned a lot about people management in this project both good and bad.. On how NOT to treat team members from previous management and how to treat from current management.. It was an eye opener for me personally on how a person can positively impact others and make others feel responsible at the same time…

  14. Nice post !!
    You are so right when you point out that priorities change once you have kids. Atleast for me, my top priority are my kids and I have made that clear to everyone in my team. I am going to work only for the stipulated time … and will be available only if there is an urgency. I want to be part of my kid’s school programs .. want to volunteer in their school and do things with them. That is a must for me. While my managers understand my priority, I also know that my appraisal is affected with this. There are folks (mostly men) who are ready to work extra hours … put in extra effort (whether required or not is another debate) … and these guys hog the limelight all the time. Does that bother me ??? Well it used to … not so much any more. I think the time I spend with family is best spent that way … that is only thing that gives me most satisfaction.

    • R's Mom says:

      Hi CA! Long time no see…hope things are well 🙂

      Yaa infact earlier I used to feel a bit bad about my appraisals getting affected etc etc..but now I dont care…my family comes first….I do love my job and definitely want to continue working…but not at the cost of my family

  15. well written post RM, can’t stop but agree to all points mentioned here..

  16. Rajani Ram says:

    I have never worked in India…. but I have heard from my husband and my brother how the work conditions can be…. the current company I work for – we have flexible schedules, I can work from home whenever I want. There is no set time of when to come to work and when to leave… but More than all that the point where you mentioned “RD’s Boss” that is the key… even though i have all these things to say about my current company… its been a smooth sail only bcoz of my manager… He is soo cool about things and also has a trust that if the job is given I will complete it… it all relies on that…. trust…
    As for the comment ‘biwi hai na’ …. yeah… its like an old wives tale.. its there everywhere… but i dont see that much in today’s generation though… i do see a change there… hope that it stays and passes on….
    Excellent posts…. totally enjoyed all the posts you have written so far…. I have a get a doze of “RM” nowadays before the end of the day… keep writing…. 🙂 🙂

  17. Mathangi says:

    Hey Came across your blog through a friend’s.
    I really liked this post of yours. I am married for almost 5 years now and all these years of work and family, I have managed to work in sane timings even after being in Software Industry.
    If you have noticed, in most places, women manage to leave early. Is it because we are compelled to do so that we cut our coffee breaks and manage to do the work in the stipulated timing?
    in my current work place none comes to work before 10.30 and none leaves before 7.30 or 8.
    Whereas I reach at 9 and leave by 6 and I am an eyesore here. The looks I get when I leave at 6 are like Grr.. Hope everyone understands the need to relax and spend time with family.

    • R's Mom says:

      Hi welcome here 🙂

      Glad you still maintain the 9 to 6 timings..sometimes you just do stuff for yourself and as long as no one questions your work, I think its perfect okie…you cna also stare at them when they come in late gah!

  18. Scribby says:

    opps my comment went to wordpress bin it seems 😛

    any way all I was saying is most of the times it’s the casual attitude towards work of employees that makes them stay back late and earn the OT money-companies don’t realize that they’re spending extra apart from the CTC that they’re paying to the employees….

    The HR and the management needs to work closely to break this circuit in each organisation…to start with if every manager / team lead takes up the responsibility of implementing no late hours and working on weekends [unless of course it is utterly important and urgent] I think lot of problem will be solved automatically!

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