Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A friendly reminder when you are busy

I have been busy busy busy with deadlines deadlines deadlines. It's times like these that this email comes to mind.....

Mr. Narayana Murthy is undoubtedly one of the most famous persons from Karnataka. He is known not just for building the biggest IT empire in India but also for his simplicity. Almost every important dignitary visits Infosys campus.

He delivered an interesting speech during an employee session with another IT company in India. He is incidentally, one of the top 50 Influencial people of Asia according to an Asiaweek publication and also the new IT Advisor to the Thailand Prime Minister.

Extract of Mr. Narayana Murthy's Speech during Mentor Session :


I know people who work 12 hours a day, six days a week, or more. Some people do so because of a work emergency where the long hours are only temporary. Other people I know have put in these hours for years. I don't know if they are working all these hours, but I do know they are in the office this long. Others put in long office hours because they are addicted to the workplace.

Whatever the reason for putting in overtime, working long hours over the long term is harmful to the person and to the organization.

There are things managers can do to change this for everyone's benefit. Being in the office long hours, over long periods of time, makes way for potential errors. My colleagues who are in the office long hours frequently make mistakes caused by fatigue. Correcting these mistakes requires their time as well as the time and energy of others. I have seen people work Tuesday through Friday to correct mistakes made after 5 PM on Monday.

Another problem is that people who are in the office long hours are not pleasant company. They often complain about other people (who aren't working as hard); they are irritable, or cranky, or even angry. Other people avoid them. Such behaviour poses problems, where work goes much better when people work together instead of avoiding one another.

As Managers, there are things we can do to help people leave the office. First and foremost is to set the example and go home ourselves. I work with a manager who chides people for working long hours. His words quickly lose their meaning when he sends these chiding group e-mails with a time-stamp of 2 AM, Sunday!

Second is to encourage people to put some balance in their lives. For instance, here is a guideline I find helpful:

1) Wake up, eat a good breakfast, and go to work.
2) Work hard and smart for eight or nine hours.
3) Go home.
4) Read the books/comics, watch a funny movie, dig in the dirt,play with your kids, etc.
5) Eat well and sleep well.

This is called recreating. Doing steps 1, 3, 4, and 5 enable step 2.

Working regular hours and recreating daily are simple concepts. They are hard for some of us because that requires 'personal change'. They are possible since we all have the power to choose to do them.

In considering the issue of overtime, I am reminded of my oldest son. When he was a toddler, if people were visiting the apartment, he would not fall asleep no m! atter how long the visit, and no matter what time of day it was. He would fight off sleep until the visitors left. It was as if he was afraid that he would miss something. Once our visitors' left, he would go to sleep. By this time, however, he was over tired and would scream through half the night with nightmares. He, my wife, and I, all paid the price for his fear of missing out.

Perhaps some people put in such long hours because they don't want to miss anything when they leave the office. The trouble with this is that events will never stop happening.

That is life !! Things happen 24 hours a day. Allowing for little rest is not ultimately practical. So, take a nap. Things will happen while you're asleep, but you will have the energy to catch up when you wake.


Belacan says... "AIESEC Alumni PARTY this Saturday nite! woohoo!"


viewtru said...

I love my job! The fact that I'm hired for my looks thus not imply that I'm not productive. I love my job! And I eat and sleep well.

BawangMerah said...

I've been thinking the same thing. Work is taking too much time leaving no time for myself. Been cranky and moody all that time.

Poulotte said...

i work 9-5, mon-fri, no stress at work...very easy...

also get bored...

Lucia Lai said...

how true. mr. narayana murthy is wise.

it had been said that most people spend more time at work than at home. they had made their working place their second home.

er... i'm a little guilty of this. not to say that i had lots of work to do in office, OT lah and what-not, but i just prefer to stay in office than at home. i guess that's fine with me, being a single young... er... not so young... lady, with no committments.

Nee Shen said...

work does not stop in the office, we have laptops which allows us to bring work home. I learn this from my mum who brings work home, and my dad hates it.

work.. it never ends...

MrsT said...

I'm also trying to strike a balance.. although being owner by association does not help alot.. when it comes to stopping at only 8hrs .. because there are still alot to worry at the end of the day.. especially the ppl we hire.
But i'm still trying hard.. :)

Gene Lim said...

Is absolutely very true! I just wish my dad could have read this earlier. He spent his lifetime to his previous company (he is retired now) in fact dedicated his whole life working 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
And in the end, the companny forced him to retire early due to some top managers
are jealous of him, thought that my dad is a threat to them and set him up.


Chief said...

i have a friend that used to say that if you have to work overtime, you're perhaps not productive enough during your regular working hours.
yes he is also another advocate of don't work till you drop.
nobody at their death bed says that they had wished they'd spent more time working.

Wingz said...

Take a break! have a Kitty kat! ops .. i mean kitkat

eagleOK said...

Suprisingly, we're all touching on work this past week... me, u and even that er...rojaks.blogspot fella.....maybe tis can be like a new lingo. create a theme each week and see who blogs the best. Winner will be awarded a Kit Kat by Wingz ;)

Belacan said...

viewtru: you are a food reviewer izzit? hehehe

bawangmerah: i find long hot showers therapreutic, but when the bill comes.... ;)

poulotte: boring? what's that? ;)

lucia: must get out of office, then can get committment! heh!

neeshen: ya lor, itu laptop... sigh...

MrsT: ya, they say jadi Tuan Punya lagi susah. so many worries.

Genelim: ya, happened to someone close to me too. but since he was so good, other bosses quickly snap him up. hope your dad is ok now?

chief: how true! ;)

wingz: kittykat is more like it. i did say fuck off, rite? hehehe!

eagleok: erm, i prefer double malted scotch! hic!

Robt Halloway said...

Interested. Keep Blogging!