Work From Home: Are Indian Companies Exploiting Employees With Extra Work, Extra Hours?

Work From Home: Are Indian Companies Exploiting Employees With Extra Work, Extra Hours?

Work From Home: Are Indian Companies Exploiting Employees With Extra Work, Extra Hours?

The employers stated that the employees slack off when working from home. According to the reports, many employees from various sectors of the economy have complained about extra workload imposed on them by their managers. 

Read to find out more…

Employers Being Insensitive As the Crisis Increases!

From March 20, many professionals have been forced to work from home. As they  have begun to ease into the concept of working from their homes, the 10-hour workday, including travel, has turned into a nightmare for many professionals across the country. Allegedly the employers have forced workers to set aside the work timings and have adopted all ‘waking hours’ as the new measure for productivity, to set deadlines and even to hand out new projects.

As per reports from TNM, a 28-year-old Advaith (name changed) working at an FMCG company in Chennai said, “Between the mountain of deliverables set by my company and the looming pile of dishes I need to wash at home, I don’t know which challenge is larger.” He also said that his work-life balance has been disturbed tremendously as all his waking hours are working hours. 

Advaith who lives with his roommate said, “I start working at 9 in the morning and continue till midnight. Most of my colleagues and I worked through the weekend as well, which is not something that we would have been able to do if we were still going to office.” he also stated that despite working constantly with little to no breaks in between. The breaks are consumed by quickly making lunch and dinner or washing the vessels and cleaning the house. Many people have given their domestic help and have given paid leave so they can self-quarantine till the lockdown ends. 

Employees Forced to Work 12-14 Hrs a Day and Also on Weekends!

A 35-year old Vivek (name changed) who stays with his elderly parents in Chennai works with the back-end support team of an international bank. He complained saying that he has been forced to work 12-14 hrs a day last week with an addition to working through the weekend to handle customer issues.

He said, “ What they don’t understand is that we also have increased responsibilities at home now. We are under a lot of mental stress already and our employers need to at least acknowledge this. Even buying groceries requires additional planning due to the timings that have been set. I used to order food for my parents and myself earlier, but I am afraid to do that now because we can’t risk infection.” 

According to these employees, projects, which were originally meant to begin three months later, have already been initiated. At this time when the household work, mental stress and obstacles have increased, several companies should assign lesser tasks but they have done the opposite. To build the employees’ frustration even more, the companies on their part aren’t even providing the necessary infrastructure to work from home like high speed internet, hardware or privacy at home. 

Employees with Kids Affected the Most!

Deepti (name changed) a 34-year old IT professional works in the field of conversational Artificial Intelligence in Bengaluru. While her company offers flexible hours and is understanding of her need to juggle work, household chores and raising a 6 year-old child has been challenging. She has been thinking of taking a leave while losing the pay since the lockdown began. 

She said, “My husband and I wake up at 5 am to finish whatever chores we can and then settle down to work. But even then we are unable to give the job our complete attention. At least once in 20 minutes I have to focus on my child who needs monitoring, help or a snack. In addition to this, being at home all day and unable to meet her friends, really affects her mood.I have given up on having time limits for her to watch television because I don’t have the mental space or energy to do things with her. In fact, the other day, she watched something inappropriate on YouTube and I had to remove the application itself from our viewing list.”

She added saying that her colleagues have been facing similar challenges. She also said, “I feel like I am unable to adequately focus on the task at hand and my child together. This is not like a regular work from home situation where all other factors are stress-free. We are currently facing an unprecedented situation where our mental health is being affected by the additional workload.”

The Chain Reaction of Workload Will Stop by Making Policy Changes and Showing Empathy!

Latha (name changed), a 49 year-old partner-consultant from an international tech firm in Chennai handles a team of seven persons. She highlighted that only empathy and policy changes can rescue employees from the current situation.

She stated, “The pressure I get from my boss will go to my team through me. There is this general perception that employees don’t work as much from home. But in fact the situation is the opposite. Senior employees need to understand that responsibilities have increased with there being no external help or even the usual reliance on relatives to pick up the slack or for childcare. We need to have some sort of crisis management system which will also set guidelines on how employees should be treated when there is a pandemic, health crisis or any unusual disaster. Going forward, only putting systems in place will aid the situation.”

UNITE Demands a Law For Employees Right to Disconnect After Working Hours!

UNITE is a union of IT and ITES employees. It has raised this matter of additional work given to employees. They have demanded that work hours be reduced to 6 hours during the lockdown period, without the expectation of meeting usual levels of productivity. It also demanded that the additional expenses of internet and electricity that employees have to bear during the lockdown too must be borne by the companies.

UNITE also demanded that a law be brought into force where employees have the right to disconnect after working hours. It stated, “Work from home blurs the line between work time and personal time. This leads to expectations to check and reply to their work phone calls and emails out of work hours. This can aggravate stress, burnout, sleep problems and introduce relationship difficulties.”

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