Out of 77 cities assessed across the world, Mumbai has surpassed other countries in terms of working hours.
Mumbai is synonymous with the phrase — ‘the city that never sleeps’ for its sheer energy. While we take pride in this sobriquet, a report recently also revealed that the city also works the longest.
The Swiss investment bank UBS recently released a report stating that an average employee in Mumbai works for 3,315 hours a year — the most across the world.
For 29-year-old Kinshuk Saraswat, who works in a corporate firm in Airoli, the minimum work shift is of 12 hours. “I work for a US-based company for which I have to reach work by 5 pm. And I have some targets to complete, so I reach office by 3 pm instead of 5. To achieve these targets I have to put in more working hours. I don’t have other option,” says Kinshuk.
Advocate Abha Singh explains this situation as ‘building industries by cutting trees’.
One might have to put in those extra hours, but it is the city, at the end of the day, that makes survival difficult. “Surviving in the city is difficult. A lot of people come to the city making Mumbai their practice net and soon shift to Delhi because they have to put in more work hours. They can’t handle the ‘no personal life’,” she adds.
The labour law doesn’t allow an employee to work more than 48 hours a week and not more than nine hours a day. But irrespective of the law, work commitments make it difficult for employees to take it easy.
A human resource employee at IndiaBulls, Anju Mathew, says, “Employees are never asked to work for longer hours but they are assigned so much work that they are forced to finish their targets. I feel that there should be an employee grievance cell to resolve employees’ issues because at times even HR is bound to see the company’s operational target perspectives.”
But call centre associate Shravan Bharati has a completely different outlook towards long working hours. For him, it is a way of earning more money. “We have overtime policy and that helps me earn more. Not just that, once you spend more time in the office you establish contacts with your leadership and get noticed. This helps you to grow,” says Shravan.
Aditya Pratap, a Bombay high court lawyer, is of the thought that, “Working for longer hours kills the intellectuality of the work. There should be strict enforcement of working hours. Heavy work hours make the city most submissive,” asserts Aditya.
More work pressure means incessant working hours, which worries consultant psychiatrist Alpes Panchal as he attributes this to mental illness.
“Dissatisfied minds give rise to a dissatisfied society. The ideology is such that the more you work, the more you earn. Hence, everyone is running to achieve the targets. And the outpour of this is mental health issues. One can go through depression, constant anxiety, phobia, and performance anxiety,” lists Alpes.
While we can’t change the situation overnight, the psychiatrist has few suggestions.
“One can develop their own rewards and pleasure that will help them to stayat peace. Then the long working hours won’t burn you,” he smiles.