Several employees working in the IT industry have come out and spoken to Incubees about the wrath of long working hours in the IT industry. While speaking to someone (maintaining confidentiality) working in the IT industry, the person revealed several details along with suggestions to improve and to reduce the stress on the employees along with providing them with a fair increment.
Many surveys and studies have been conducted revealing the work stress people have been going through. It has also been noticed that many workplaces do not have enough support, lack proper infrastructure, cases of bullying and harassment, long working hours, causing serious harm to one’s mental health along with the physical health and it really needs to be looked into. If the issue of long working hours is avoided then it will eventually reduce performance efficiency, quality of work and the interest will also be lost.
Incubees: The IT sector has seen tremendous growth over the years, what are your thoughts on this, and do you think the due credit goes to people who have been working for long shifts?
Source: I agree that the IT sector has grown over the past decade. This is backed by reports from the media if we go through them over the net. From 13.9% in the 2011 fiscal to 28% in 2021 fiscal, we see that growth has more than doubled for the IT sector and we have seen a plethora of technologies that have been introduced in this sector.
This has been made possible due to the below reasons.
- Vision of leadership
- Strong Research and Development in finding new technologies and/or upgrading existing ones
- Adoption of new technologies or maintenance/support of existing applications or infrastructure by the client organizations of IT
- Employees working towards the vision of the IT Organization’s leadership
So, I completely agree that due credit should be given to people who work long shifts in order to achieve the goals and objectives of the IT Organization.
Incubees: Do you think the ‘long working hours’ in the IT sector differs from organization to organization or it has now just become a habitual routine for the employees to spend long hours working?
Source: I would not say that the long working hours differ from one organization to another. I have been in this industry for the past 25 years now. I have contacts in various organizations who seem to have the same story to tell when it comes to working long hours. In fact, in the organization that I work in, every computer has a “Productivity tool” installed which measures what time did I log in, what time did I log out, and also records what was my activities during a given day. If I open a document, if I attend meetings, if I do certain activities, all of these are recorded by this tool. If I take a lunch or dinner break, that time is considered being “offline” (unproductive) time by the tool. It can generate reports on a daily basis, weekly, monthly and quarterly reports for a given department or even down to an employee.
From what I know such productivity measurement tools have been used in a few other organizations as well. This is one of the triggers for employees to work long hours even if they have completed work or don’t have work to be done. I don’t know about everyone, but I have so many meetings to attend during a day that I have to spend extra time to complete my planned work for a day.
Incubees: How do you think the leadership should improve and stop taking undue advantage of the employees?
Source: There is no formal connection between the Senior and Junior layers of an organization. So, there is no transparency in terms of Business between the two layers. While an employee in the junior-most rung can see visions of the Leadership, he simply doesn’t have a view of how he will be benefitted by working for the organization. While there are sufficient forums to discuss ideas, share thoughts, there is no transparency from a business perspective on how this vision will shape up. Leadership should improve on this front. If we have seen numbers in terms of revenue, market share, profit%, of the past, we should also see how employees of every band will benefit monetarily over a period of the next 1-2 years. What is required to be done to get to that position? All of these are not shared by Leadership which I believe is taking undue advantage of the employees. Today we see news of IT organization’s growth, profits, revenue splashed all over the media. But how many leaders actually ask the media to hold a press conference on their company premises and invite all of their employees to that? I don’t think any leader does that. Media gets to speak to only the top layer of an organization or only to a designated spokesperson. Why is this not allowed by the Leadership? This according to me is taking undue advantage of their position.
Secondly, exploitation of employees is also happening simply because Leadership wants to reap in more revenue and profits by making employees working beyond their stipulated work timings and literally turning a blind eye to their plights.
Incubees: There are times when hours might also depend on the kind of project the company is working on, how do you think this can be fixed?
Source: The problem is not about working on a given project. The actual problem is employees working additional hours without getting any kind of benefit. Instead of working 9 hours a day, they work for 12-13 hours which I believe is not good.
Incubees: Tell us about the huge profits IT companies are making but the increment every year is very low? Also, considering COVID-19, companies earned a huge amount of profit as they saved money after cutting down the requirement of office spaces?
Source: Many IT organizations have actually gone ahead and announced to their employees that they will not get any increment this year. This is not from the pandemic times but has been the case for several years now. Also, these are not startups but IT majors which have their presence in many countries across the world. Though we see huge profits being shown in media, why then do employees still feel frustrated? Why are they not allowed to speak to the media? Why is there news of attrition in IT companies today? These are all questions that can be answered not by Leadership but by employees.