Working for 6 days a week is never a particularly appealing idea. Most people would agree that a single Sunday is not enough to wash away the fatigue of working throughout the week.
Till recently when my spouse had a 6 day work week, life outside of work was dreary, almost non-existent as the weekends were generally spent on routine household chores, stocking stuff for weekly consumption or for occasionally watching a movie. Others with a 6 day work week would admit to having a similar lacklustre schedule.
Surprisingly, now close to 100 years after the 5 days, ’40 hours’ work week was first instituted by Henry Ford, to boost productivity among workers, many Indian companies are still hesitant about adopting a 5 day culture.
It is interesting to note that from time to time, number of studies have indicated that working for long hours over a period of time does not increase productivity. Quite the reverse, productivity is supposed to drop beyond 40 hours of work per week (as per a research paper published in 2011, by the International Labour Organization).
Working for long hours over prolonged periods are known to cause strain, fatigue and burn out among the middle-aged people, thereby impacting cognitive performance and productivity, shows a study published in the American Journal of Epidemilogy [i].
In wake of the knowledge that productivity does not increase with a longer work week, the question arises :
Why are some Indian companies still on a 6 day work week?
Globalization means we have to re-examine some of our ideas, and look at ideas from other countries, from other cultures, and open ourselves to them. And that’s not comfortable for the average person. ~ Herbie Hancock
Culture, invariably, has an immense influence on the global business environment.
Customs, values, attitude towards work and what people consider as ethical in business vary from country to country. Besides the differences in policy or regulatory environment, differences that stem from different cultural backgrounds have often been known to create hurdles in the international business. Cultural barriers can stymie or delay business deals. On a number of occasions, business negotiations between multinationals have failed due to cultural differences.
So, it makes a lot of sense to set the cultural context for minimizing or dissolving the cultural barriers before talking business.
“Cultural barriers can be overcome relatively swiftly where there is the political will to do so.”
~ Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
This is primarily what India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has established during his trip to Japan, thus setting a brilliant example of how political leaders can create the required cultural context to pave the way for commerce to follow.
Four aspects that PM Modi put emphasis on for creating the cultural milieu for strengthening bilateral relations between India and Japan are:
Stressing on commonalities between the two cultures
Stressing on cultural commonality can create acceptance, breed tolerance towards cultural differences and accelerate the discovery of complementarities.
If you take mythologies from different cultures, the names may change and the story lines may vary but there is always something in common. ~Maynard James Keenan
The past cultural connection between India and Japan has provided a basis for commonality
We can never stop marveling at the ingenious and unique ways in which Nature presents its designs.
Translucent ants gain colour of the food they eat
Dr Mohamed Babu, a scientist from Mysore, photographed ants with translucent abdomen changing colour as they sip on colourful drops of sugar. The ants seemed to prefer lighter colours such as greens and yellow to darker blues. Some of the ants wandered from one colour to another, creating new combinations in their bodies.
Genetic anomaly results in visually spectacular butterflies
Some anomalies produce spectacular results!
‘Bilateral Gynandromorphism’ is a Genetic anomaly found in living organisms that results in insects having both male and female characteristics, evenly split, right down the middle. This genetic anomaly results in spectacular butterflies with male & female wings. Read more
I came across these two articles with historical facts presumably unknown to many, as they were to me, so found them worth sharing.
The section ‘Facts & Trivia’ (on the Menu) includes some informative and interesting articles. In this post I am including some tweets. Retweet is possible from the included tweet itself.
Britain has invaded all countries in the world barring 22 countries at different points in time.
Contrary to the common belief that the British rule extended to a quarter of the atlas, a study indicates that barring 22 countries in the world, all other countries have experienced an invasion by the British at different points in time. Read more
Reinvention seems to be the buzzword of the season. With India’s Elections 2014 over, the need for reinvention has resurfaced with vigor. In light of the dismal performance in elections, some parties have dissolved different committees on grounds of non performance to rediscover winning ways. Questions have surfaced on whether political parties can reinvent themselves. Suggestions for restructuring the ministries to reduce multiplicity of government departments and bring about effective governance have been put forth for the new government by the specialists.
At this juncture, when people are expecting India to take on the path to economic recovery and international brokerages are betting high on India’s growth story, the time is apt for many institutions to start the process of reorganizing themselves. Needless to say the magnitude of efforts and change required will be humungous.
One of the essential elements in the process will be a shift from a reactive or inaction based approach to a ‘process based action oriented’ approach. That, in itself, is a challenging task as it requires a huge shift in the mindset at all levels – starting from the highest and percolating down the ranks; though a somewhat obvious statement, this is seldom spoken about. Nonetheless, a shift in mindset and approach is necessary to bring about even the small changes, or for that matter for plucking the ‘low hanging’ fruits.
The challenges are aplenty. In our society which places a premium on hierarchy and individual merit, following a process is not something that people eagerly look forward to. Read more
On 16th May 2014, India witnessed the spectacular victory of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 16th Lok Sabha elections, with Narendra Modi spearheaded to be the 15th PM of the country. If that is a numerology coincidence, and 16 is indeed a lucky number for Narendra Modi, I would not know. There are numerous ongoing analysis of different factors to pinpoint what all made BJP such a grand success while UPA story went horribly wrong, and AAP, in spite of all the noise, failed to make any dent.
Of the various factors, the projected personality of the PM candidates, and how it was perceived by Indian citizens makes an interesting comparison. Read more
The “Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)” revolution in India led by Arvind Kejriwalhas caught the attention of the entire country so much so that the onetime poster boy of the media – Narendra Modi- has been swept off the media pedestal. As per the AAP spokesperson Yogendra Yadav, people have voted for AAP for 3 reasons viz. clean politics, good governance and anti- corruption. Very true!
Narendra Modi’s agenda has included these two themes along with economic development as a part of his election campaign. Arvind Kejriwal is being touted as the 3rd alternative for the Prime Minister’s post so much that a national newspaper has reported today that Modi has pressed the panic button fearing the AAP wave.
What does the country need now? Given the precarious economic scenario that we find ourselves in, economic development is very important for our country. Our GDP growth rate has fallen to sub – 5% levels from the 9% levels we were in a few years back. However, the country has been severely shaken by the numerous corruption scandals in the last few years and historically corruption has been rampant in this country ever since our independence. Read more