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Old 23rd May 2011, 12:05   #31
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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But attributing the word "Brit work culture" is wrong, try finding someone a minute after the office timings in Indian Government offices, you will know! I'd been to a post office to send a parcel, it took the lady in charge 1.5 hours to clear me, she is least bothered about the crowd outside, yawned generously, spoke slowly and refused all the customers as she did not have any change! Tata is wrong in generalizing, I guess inefficiency is there where there is complacency and security. I definitely know a lot of Brits who come early to office and leave Early, it is responsibility of the management to get the work done in the agreed work hours, nothing to go public about this unless he want to lay off!
Anil you touched upon the deeper roots of 'work culture' disimilarities OR similarities between India and the UK. Rewind a century, and you will notice that certain 'traits' of ours (especially witnessed in government offices) can be attributed to 'colonial hangovers.' Small trivia: the Supreme Court 'banned' the addressal of the judge as 'My Lord,' a couple of years back. Guess why?
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Old 23rd May 2011, 12:28   #32
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

While we are on the topic, a slight OT (or rather a light moment) on that.
Just got a BBM as follows:

"While leaving India in 1947 Lord Mountbatten stated - India would need to work very hard to stand on its feet. 64 years later, Mr. Tata says the same thing to UK. History does turn around you know!"

Though not really funny, it does sound quirky. No?

Back to On topic: Todays TOI carries a full fledged artcile stating Mr. Tata was misquoted. He says, he had said that prior to the Tata -JLR take over. He is pretty satisfied with the work ethics of the managers in JLR! Damage control mode on, or a genuine clarification?
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Old 23rd May 2011, 12:50   #33
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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Anil you touched upon the deeper roots of 'work culture' disimilarities OR similarities between India and the UK. Rewind a century, and you will notice that certain 'traits' of ours (especially witnessed in government offices) can be attributed to 'colonial hangovers.' Small trivia: the Supreme Court 'banned' the addressal of the judge as 'My Lord,' a couple of years back. Guess why?

hehehe, that is indeed a valid point!! Now it all makes sense to me !
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Old 23rd May 2011, 13:34   #34
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

It is true that generalisation is dangerous. Once, one of my Japanese seniors confided: "Actually, just because you see us at our desks early morning to late night, does not necessarily mean we are working!"
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Old 23rd May 2011, 13:40   #35
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

There is a need to separate the definition of work ethic from work hours. While in India, an employee seen to be working longer is seen as hard working, in Britain you are measured by your productivity, ie, your output (results) matters more than your input (work hours).

As discussed earlier, the typical Indian employee has many non-work related distractions, whereas their British counterparts tend to clearly separate work from personal life.

While an Indian employee would grudgingly turn up if called in to work on an off-day, a British employee would expect to be suitably remunerated. The concept of overtime pay is non-existent in India with the exception of IT companies. (correct me if i'm wrong)

Also, we Indians do not have a weekend break culture as most of us have a 6-day week. Which is why British employees tend to switch off after lunch on friday.

Ratan Tata has 2 options. Either stamp the Indian work ethic on his overseas companies or move jobs/processes to India. In the case of JLR, the latter would be the better option for Mr.Tata.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 14:20   #36
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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The concept of overtime pay is non-existent in India with the exception of IT companies. (correct me if i'm wrong)
There is no overtime pay in IT companies, neither Indian nor the foreign MNCs which have set shop here. There's something called a 'shift allowance' for people working in offshore development centres of foreign customers, which presumably implies little bit additional payment for working in odd shifts (such as from 4 pm - 12:30 pm). There are workers in Indian IT organizations, either working on projects or working on business side of things (such as pre-sales, solution proposals etc.) whose office timings are from 9:00 to 6:30, and many of them end up working from 9:30 am till 9:30 pm almost on a daily basis, leaving aside customer submission deadlines, which will come up twice every month, and will make them work throughout the night. If one is little bit high up in the management ranks (say a GM or so), then you're expected to be available from 6:30 am till 12:30 pm on phone/e-mails, and from 8:30 am till 8:30 pm in office everyday! Weekends - mobile phone availability almost for 12-16 hours, and also e-mail availability at least for 4-6 hrs on both the days.

Do these necessarily ensure better quality deliverables and better business? Absolutely not.

Last edited by Tats07 : 23rd May 2011 at 14:24.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 14:29   #37
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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The concept of overtime pay is non-existent in India with the exception of IT companies. (correct me if i'm wrong)
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There is no overtime pay in IT companies, neither Indian nor the foreign MNCs which have set shop here.
You both are right. How? If you work for 10 hours instead of 8, your company will bill the client for 10 hours. But you will get paid 8 hours worth only
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Old 23rd May 2011, 14:33   #38
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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You both are right. How? If you work for 10 hours instead of 8, your company will bill the client for 10 hours. But you will get paid 8 hours worth only
Correct, that is applicable for people who are billable to customers. There are others who work on the business side (as I said on pre-sales, solution propositions etc.), who may not be billable but have a huge contribution in getting new business for the company.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 14:48   #39
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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The concept of overtime pay is non-existent in India with the exception of IT companies. (correct me if i'm wrong)
In fact it is other way round, OT in IT exists only on paper!

Manufacturing and Processing industries do pay OT among other sectors.
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Old 26th May 2011, 15:04   #40
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

I feel Ratan Tata, as a owner has the right in commenting his workforce. Nothing wrong in it. Its true & its a fact.
He was only worried about the extra mile not given by them. The only difference between UK / Europe & India / Middle East is that the difference in the total working hours in a week. His comments are w.r.t to the same. If work demands one has to be flexible & give the xtra mile.
TATA's felt that, Indian managers do give the xtra mile than their counterpart in UK. It is not about burning the midnight oile etc. Its about rising to the expectation when need arises.
This fire is there in Indian & not in Brits! I think we need to be proud.
Mr.Ratan TATA had the guts to say this & as a owner he has the right torun his organisation......
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Old 27th May 2011, 01:18   #41
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

I think more than work ethics there is also a factor of how one must live his life. I have always noticed that we like to drown ourselves in our work and feel satisfied only when we have stretched ourselves to the extreme, nothing comes before work. It is a good approach but i dont remember when was the last time i met someone in India at a party or otherwise who had something new to talk about except work, its like we have few or no hobbies where we can go and devout ourselves to other than work.
When i say hobby i dont mean surfing the net and reading about something that interests you but creating something or achieving something.
This is a general observation especially of the life i see in Mumbai so wont contest anyone who doesnt agree with what i say, in fact i'd be glad if someone really has something interesting to share.
From studying overseas i have realized they have a concept of personal time where they can spend time with family, pursue hobbies, activities, etc. Here (including travel) a person easily works for 16 hours a day.
I dont say i am an exception, i too give everything to work but i do feel it should not be the only part that defines me, people are multifaceted and you should get a chance to explore different sides of you that you never knew existed
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Old 27th May 2011, 06:37   #42
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I agree with Ishaan on the part of us Indians forever talking about work or work related issues. Our European colleagues are more into outdoor & social activities than our team here in India. I guess we follow a set expected pattern or routine based on our age.

I think the main issue Mr Tata has is the rigidity of schedules they follow for their benefit. They expect the company to be flexible enough to allow them to leave early on Fridays, but are not flexible enough to leave at 6pm on a Friday if the company requires them to. Who knows if they are even able to complete 35 'net' working hours each week!
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Old 27th May 2011, 11:32   #43
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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if you're in higher positions, and earning huige pay packets to own those swanky villas and super cars, then you have to sacrifice some part of your personal life - take a look at the lives of some of the top CEOs in the western world.
Wouldn't that have a trickle down effect. A manager or VP cannot work on his own. If he's putting in extra that would mean, that people down the hierarchy too, would have to work extra.
When a senior level guy works extra-hard he is compensated for that, because his pay is mostly variable. The better the performance of the company and he is suitable rewarded by dividends, etc, etc. Wheras a junior level guy gets nothing extra even if he has to put in 12 hr/day, 6 days a week.

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Back to On topic: Todays TOI carries a full fledged artcile stating Mr. Tata was misquoted. He says, he had said that prior to the Tata -JLR take over. He is pretty satisfied with the work ethics of the managers in JLR! Damage control mode on, or a genuine clarification?
Is that lady still in charge of their PR, or an even better person roped in?

Last edited by Daewood : 27th May 2011 at 11:39.
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Old 27th May 2011, 11:42   #44
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

I think Ratan Tata is Spot on.

A generations sacrifices (not literal) is needed for a revolution.

Acc to reports 3 Indian worker = 1 Japanese person. Its because Japs work diligently, honestly and employ best practices.

Acc to me, sacrifices have to be made to devleop a nation, work-life balance is important. But a 'Commitment' is more important than that. If there is a commitment to meet a deadline - I would move mountains to meet the deadline. And if you cannot adhere to the deadline, you should make it clear at the beginning, that you are not capable of doing it.

Life is important, but if everyone starts thinking about 'life' who will work ?

And if 'life' is so important - use the US work timings - get up at 5, reach office by 7, work till 4 or 5 and enjoy the evenings.

hence acc to me Ratan tata is spot on. Work or get fired.

cheers,
ac
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Old 27th May 2011, 12:16   #45
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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When a senior level guy works extra-hard he is compensated for that, because his pay is mostly variable. The better the performance of the company and he is suitable rewarded by dividends, etc, etc. Wheras a junior level guy gets nothing extra even if he has to put in 12 hr/day, 6 days a week.
The junior level guy gets the opportunity to prove himself

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And if 'life' is so important - use the US work timings - get up at 5, reach office by 7, work till 4 or 5 and enjoy the evenings.
hence acc to me Ratan tata is spot on. Work or get fired.
cheers,
ac
These guys seem to be using two yardsticks; the British one for coming into work and the US/ German for leaving work. At the end of the week, they havent worked enough to justify the salaries they are getting paid and this attitude should change. Especially with the economy as it is today, everyone has to pull their weight. Ship up or shape out!
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