Iconic places in India

India @Work

By Ninad Sheth

It’s an exciting time to work in India, but it’s also a hectic time. As the Indian economy grows, so too does the pressure on India’s workers. By employing some daily “life hacks”, the path towards a successful and fulfilling work life is within your reach

For many of us, the heat is on at work. As the Indian economy grows at seven percent each year, the country’s US$31 billion worth of foreign capital inflows in the first half of 2015 mean that India has surpassed China as the world’s top foreign direct investment destination.

Truth be told, Indians are working harder than ever. And yet there is a feeling of automation at work — the sense of a loss of self. It’s this disconnect between being busy, being satisfied and getting ahead at work, with an emphasis on wellness in your daily routine, that our new series India @Work will explore.

How do we perform better and yet stay connected with our inner selves? What are the life hacks we can employ to stay fit and be in better health, even as we strive to meet our work targets? In a bewildering world full of choice, which fitness mantras and recipe secrets suit you the best?

This series will address these questions and unearth a path towards a happy, healthy and rewarding work life. Along the way too, we’ll be exploring how lifestyle factors can influence our readiness for work — and provide helpful suggestions to improve both work and play.

1. Work smarter to reclaim your time

For many office workers in India, manic Mondays at work are the new normal. The work hours and daily pace that previous generations knew now seem to be long gone. Today, India’s increasing global competitiveness, and rising salary levels, have seen almost revolutionary alterations. With that of course, comes great expectation.

As incomes rise, the 40-hour workweek lies in the distant past. Increasingly, people work 50 to 60 hour weeks. In some startup businesses, more than 70 hours is typical. Of course, too much time spent in the office, and we run increasing risks of stress and work-related illnesses. We will address smarter alternatives to longer hours — that can help us address the tasks faster and more effectively, leaving us time in the bank for the rest of life.

2. Get match-fit for work

India’s champion cricketers and Olympic athletes wouldn’t go under the floodlights in anything other than perfect match condition. Yet our preoccupation with the mental demands and changing skillsets of our offices can make us forget the importance of factors beyond work.

Are we getting an adequate sleep, in terms of quality and quantity? And are our meals — for many of us the most pleasurable times of our day — causing us to underachieve in the office? We look at ways to keep the delicious factor of our food high, while gearing our eating times and portions to a more work-friendly formula.

3. Find sanctuary in the big city

India invented and perfected many globally-recognised ways to find balance amidst the trials of daily life: can these improve our outlook on working life, and even help us in problem solving? From yoga and meditation, through to effective conflict resolution, what proven techniques can help us to find inner peace amidst some of the biggest commutes and most frantic traffic jams in the world? And in a career marketplace where health club memberships and free medical checkups are now part of talent retention, using them as tools for work may be a key to getting ahead, and staying in the game.

4. Assess your office effectiveness

What is your leadership style? What is your effectiveness quotient? Are you a change leader in the workplace? We will help you to assess your India @Work profile, and give you strategies to become more effective, creative and recognised at work.

5. Gear up to reboot your career: Why waste commuting hours on Angry Birds, when you could be learning a new language, or devising more sound pricing strategies? We look at everything from goal-setting books and guides of corporate creativity, to productivity tools, applications and e-books that can help to crank your career path up a level.

6. Master your work-life fusion

Work demands so much of our time and energy: while we can’t avoid this, we can look at family-friendly strategies to improve the quality of work and home life. Might you and your spouse work for the same company, in order to spend more time together? Could your children spend playtime with the kids of others in your office, so your team all benefits from family time even when deadlines are
raining down? And if you’re able to work effectively, might your boss consider your commuting time as time spent at work?

While staying well at work is a universal concept, India’s services sectors have specific concerns too. These include the nearly five million call centre employees in India — many of whom work at night and sleep during the day, in is a work routine that demands employees to enact unique adaptations to their lives.

Thankfully, interest from corporate India in ensuring wellness is also reaching a critical mass: the wellness industry in India is poised to reach Rs 1 trillion (US$15 billion) this year, growing at over twice the rate of the economy. The result is a heightening awareness that the office has to work for us too, and not just for the bottom line.

These are exciting times to work in India — and we’re confident that India @Work will introduce you to the positive ways you can maximise your potential, and, in turn, transform your work life into one that is more uplifting, and ultimately, more rewarding.

Are you living to work or working to live?

What could you do to live more fully?