Prior to arriving in India, I was used to the typical North American work day and work week, 9 to 5, Monday to Friday: your typical and average 40 hour work week. Upon arrival in India, I was rather surprised to learn that at most organizations, Saturday was a workday, and usually only 1 Saturday was an allocated off day in any given month. Furthermore, the hours were stretched from either 8am or 8.30am to about 5pm or 5.30pm. Perhaps this was to make up for the 4 o'clock tea time that's standard practice at almost all organizations.
Well, the latest numbers indicate that even while on vacation, Indian professionals are still attached to their work. According to The Times of India, a survey was conducted with TripAdvisor of 1,500 actively employed professionals of whom 75 percent traveled often for work.
The survey revealed that 82 percent of Indian professionals check e-mail regularly while on vacation. Furthermore, 61 percent check their e-mail daily and 15 percent are constantly checking their inbox.
Ironically, it wasn't because of employer expectations or pressures, but because of personal choice. What's even more ironic, especially on a holiday, is that 60 percent felt that working on their holiday didn't reduce their enjoyment, as in fact it helped them relax further.
Personally, I've always felt that weekends and vacation were time off from work. It's always best to strike the right balance between pressures at work, and maintaining both a healthy and productive personal life. However, the question remains--are you married to your job, even after hours when you're not required?
I won't deny the fact that after working across India for about 3 years that Indian professionals are indeed hardworking professionals. However, my suspicions soon became true as I would hear stories on Monday mornings about how other co-workers and team members were simply so burnt out from the week before and didn't have any "real" personal time to themselves. Clearly, this is not the right balance but that's just the way it is in India.
Most Indian professionals easily spend 2 to 4 hours commuting to work and back again, every day, six days a week. Of course for some, and this has applied to me too, this can be great downtime.
On top of that, most Indian professionals easily spend 2 to 4 hours commuting to work and back again, every day, six days a week. Of course for some, and this has applied to me too, this can be great downtime as for many, it's the only real personal time someone may get. You can catch up with friends on the phone, surf online, and just listen to music. And if anything, this has become the norm for almost all across the Indian metros.
That being said, if you're on vacation from work and if Indian professionals were able to just leave their work e-mails alone, I feel they'd be able to enjoy themselves further, in the company of others. Let's be frank, your family and friends don't like being left second to work, especially on vacation or weekends.