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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Playing hard at work!

Playing hard at work!

Who would have thought of the office as a place to put your feet up and let your hair down? This may just well be the case as Indrani Rajkhowa Banerjee finds out…


IT'S late night and the office is still abuzz with activity… computers are on, printers whirring, coffee machine buzzing. The atmosphere is that of serious activity, but the faces betray the gravity of the situation. There is a sense of relaxed easiness in the air, somewhat akin to that of a lounge bar sans the dim lights and the plush duvets; the mood groovy.

So, who's at work? Mostly bachelors.

A growing trend observed in the corporate world is of unmarried men staying back in the office after work hours. Young, brilliant and single, they aren't ready to mingle, not on weekdays at least! They'd rather enjoy the privileges of the office environ and take an easy ride back home in the office cab.

“I feel I own the place. There's Net, AC, phone, food, coffee, and most importantly, no boss around,” quips 24-year-old Manas Goel, who works in a Bangalore-based MNC consultancy firm.

But it wouldn't be fair to club every late worker in the same bracket. “Some take this opportunity to put on their thinking caps, while others attend conference calls with their counterparts in different time zones. It's more of a business need,” says a senior manager with ABN Amro Bank.

Most people in the managerial level view this as a growing trend in research centres, software companies and off-shore offices as they encourage this work pattern. “This happens mostly in organisations which hire a large number of freshers. In the initial phase, youngsters find the swanky cafeterias, gyms and other gizmos enticing. But as they mature, they get more professional,” says, Andheri Prakash Babu, country HR director, Amazon.

However, the trend gets dangerous when it becomes part of the company culture to seriously work late. There are cases when bosses endorse this by staying late themselves and expecting others to do so too, providing them with various lucrative offers in the form of taxi and food vouchers, and of course a good feedback. But the consequences of frequent late nights, according to industry bosses, are often not positive. “When an office makes staying late a culture, the future of its employees and the organisation is bleak. We don't enforce any particular work plan because, we believe, at the end of the day, every worker is accountable for his or her deliverance of work,” says Pankaj Bhargava, head, HR, Marico. “Anyway, hanging around in the office does not make one a better worker. On the contrary, if he doesn't enjoy his work, staying late hours will prove detrimental,” he adds. “Organisations in Europe and the US are strict about workers coming on time and leaving on time. And the workers work for eight hours with focus and zeal,” points out Babu.

According to an HCL spokesperson, “Long working hours may be counterproductive for both, the employer and the employee. From the employee's point of view, if he spends most of his waking hours in the office, he does not come back fresh for the next day's work. This affects his efficiency and harms the productivity of the employer as well. Hence we encourage people to work hard during office hours and enjoy a healthy social life outside of it.”

“Whatever the reason for working overtime over a long period, it is harmful for both, the employee and the organisation. They make way for potential errors. My colleagues who are in the office long hours frequently make mistakes caused by fatigue. The other problem is - they aren't pleasant company either as they often complain about other people (who aren't working as hard); they are irritable, or cranky, or angry,” says an excerpt from Infosys’ Narayana Murthy’s speech during a mentor session.

“People who put on their thinking caps in the office can do so anywhere. They don't need the office ambience to 'inspire' them. In fact, virtual setups and wi-fi have enabled workers to stay connected to their counterparts even from their bedroom,” says Zubin Modi, senior VP, IndusInd Bank.
AFTER HOURS · Try your hand at an outdoor sport· Learn music · Visit a book cafe · Hunt for cheap cyber cafes· Rustle up innovative meals· Get a girlfriend/boyfriend

So all you bachelors out there, there's a life beyond office too! Watch a movie where it should be watched; listen to music where it should be heard. Also, remember life changes when you get married and start a family.

As Murthy, considered one of the best bosses in the world puts it, “Love your job, but never fall in love with your company because you never know when the company stops loving you!”

thanks to Big B & Indrani.. pls keep sending me.. :)

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