“I recently moved to Pune to head a project at a call centre but am already exhausted because of the long working hours. My team prefers to start late in the morning and spends long hours at the office. Even after office, we often chat to meet the deadlines. Is it the case for other expats as well who are struggling with work-life balance in India?”
A balanced work-life regime is always tricky to achieve and can often pose to be extremely challenging. Work culture varies from country to country and office to office. The Indian work culture is starkly different from the Western work life. The management in India often places tight deadlines upon its employees to try and deliver a stellar outcome and growth. Nonetheless, it is essential to maintain a balanced work-life.
When it comes to working, it is imperative to be considerate of time. It is the most important factor anywhere. Employees in India are extremely dedicated to their work and consider it their foremost priority, often neglecting their personal lives. They usually end up staying at the office into the wee hours of the morning to finish their work and often take the work home with them. When your homes become a place of work, it can often lead to difficulties.
While working, it is also crucial to take breaks to refresh one’s mind and clear your thoughts. The employees in India end up taking long one-hour lunch breaks which include strolling in the office premises after their meals. They also have a habit of gathering around tea stalls for chai and smokes. Indians love gatherings, and the office space is no exception, these small breaks help freshen their minds.
Indians follow hierarchical order scrupulously. It begins from the time they are born, respecting the older person, and the same applies in the workplace. There is a gap between the employees based on their seniority at work. Hierarchy is maintained, and so is authority. It is not always a very sociable environment to work in.
For expats working in India, some hindrances emerge, such as work after office hours. Often meetings, calls and training take place after a 9-hour long shift which is quite a tedious task. Another issue is the negative attitude expats receive, from their supervisors, regarding a balanced work-life despite the mentioned policies. Upon questioning expats about their experience of working in India and what they understand about the term “balanced work-life”, most of them ended up stating “flexible working hours” as one. They wish to leave work in their workspaces and not carry it home. They also want to leave work on time which in turn will give them more opportunity to pursue their hobbies and their passion. Most expats also want to be able to spend their downtime with their friends, getting the option to spend their holidays out of work. Although everyone’s definition of a work-life balance is different, these were some of the most common ones.
The work-life balance has always been a common issue in India. However, this system may have seen some changes due to the western influence on the Indian market. We are hoping to see a more noticeable difference in Indian companies and their management in the foreseeable future, making it a more employee-friendly environment to work in.