Working Hours Increase As Does Employee Misery: Bravo Cognizant!
We had reported earlier that Cognizant is making all of its India based workers show up for work 9 hours a day. They cited business-focused (heedless to employee health) reasons that have to do with “utilization” rates.
What is “Utilization”
For those not in the know, as I was at the time of writing, utilization is the concept of squeezing out every last drop of productivity (adroitly put “Billable hours”) out of the total hours a worker puts in per day.
Cognizant CEO Brian Humphries had this to say- “The utilization levels are quite high. We are at the stage now that our benches are light and are committed to build that out. We continue to build out our capabilities with evergreen skills and build upon our capabilities such that we can reduce utilization.”
10 More Leaves, Hooray!
As a consolation prize they have increased the total number of leaves from 26 to 36, adding ten more days of separation from work that could be helpful for employees to catch up on sleep and the inevitable dent to their social lives that is to come after a 45 hour work week. Work-life balance almost achieved!
Government and IT Industry Join Hands, Essentially Say Let’s Make Them Work More
In other news, IT employees in Chennai are dismayed over a Labour Code bill looking to increase working hours per week from 45 to 48 hours. That’s roughly 9 and a half hours a day and some change.
The centre has provided flexible options- one can either opt for working 12 hours a day for 4 days, 10 hours a day for 5 days or 8 hours a day for 6 days. Truly a buffet to enjoy.
Just To Recap
As the current practice goes, tech employees are expected to take calls after logging out, pitch in on weekends also and overtime which is encouraged. In a culture like this, people are afraid to leave exactly when their shift ends because they look over and their colleagues and bosses are still there. Doesn’t look good on them.
A Masterclass In Selfishness And Tone Deafness
This implicit pressure is just one in a long line of unhealthy work practices that plague these tech firms and BPOs. Any little concession fed to employees in the name of employee engagement initiatives or other creative wordings such as snack boxes (dry sandwich and a juice box.. Strangely reminiscent of school lunches), games or a single ping-pong table is supposed to be seen as exciting, a warm gesture showing gratitude to employees.
Because if there’s one thing a worker takes away from his day and smiles about when he returns home, it is the little sticker he won for winning a quiz.
In an ironic way, at least us Indians are ahead of the States in one thing- work hours and slogging and typing away to achieve the dreams of a tech company.
The future looks bright.