Myths of 6-day week among Employees: Student engagement
Myths Of 6-Day Week Among Employees: Student Engagement. The Indian Society is fast approaching a scenario where the working styles, working hours,...
The Indian Society is fast approaching a scenario where the working styles, working hours, the work itself and the commonly applicable laws governing the working conditions are assuming increasing importance. A significant number of institutions both in the business and education space have adopted / started adopting to various types of family-friendly employment / educational practices to help employees and students fulfill their work and family aspirations simultaneously.
The Indian working conditions:
Giving due importance to the nature of business, size, resources, culture and traditions of the people the time has come now for the organizations to evolve working patterns that take care of family leaves, flexible work arrangements and family support.
The five-day work week applies to different modes of operation. In general, enterprises can implement a five-day work week according to their nature of business and the modes compatible to them like:
- Govt Offices opened on weekdays and closed at weekends (Saturday and Sunday)
- For Business that shall operate 7 days a week from 9.00 am to 12.00 Midnight
- Allowing employees to take fixed or Flexible two days off per week; or
- Creating roasters that facilitate “five-day-work, two-day-off” schedule.
- This will increase the employment opportunities for few more people as relievers on account of two days weekly rest and leave.
Employees enjoying two days off per week will have sufficient time re-charge themselves. When returning to work, they will be refreshed and therefore can become more productive, humane that would be resulting in more recalls, less errors, customer complaints, more business, enhanced image due to polite working styles and service delivery. The institutes / business organizations can certainly enhance their competitiveness and image in their markets.
Employees can spend more time for their families and taking care of them. It can help them to relieve stress from coping with work and family commitments. The society at large would get benefitted in terms of substantial reduction in crime, suicides, family problems, divorce cases, better performance among school going children, etc. For employees with fewer family commitments, they can utilize their days off for further studies or to develop personal interests.
Ecological advantages: Employees’ travelling time and expenses on commuting to and from the workplaces can be saved. This will directly result in reduction in the consumption of fossil fuel, energy, vehicular pollution, accidents, maintenance cost of vehicle and other office equipments. When human mind functions in a normal manner it gets naturally attracted towards nature and values ecology and makes efforts to correct the imbalance. The list of advantages can go further as we brainstorm on this more.
The positive impact on the market in the country:
Today all MNCs operating out of India have adopted 5 day week or flexi timings based on the clients they serve in various time zones. However the general norm of all these MNCs is to have a 5 day working norm.
While significant Indian organizations have adopted the 5 day week some of the Indian organizations still believe in having 6 day as the best option. In the pharma sector where 5 day week is very much possible the Indian Pharma companies do not adopt this because it is assumed that their business competitiveness gets reduced. The very reason for the foreign Pharma Companies entering into contract manufacturing with the Indian Pharma Firms is basically to avoid higher employee cost and 5 day norm. By using the Indian Pharma companies they get more productivity (due to 24x7 working in 6 day week mode).
It is myth that Indian Pharma companies will lose by having 5 day week. They in fact add value to the Indian employment market and generate more employment and yet become competitive. The Indian salaries will continue to remain low when compared to Developed Nations’, even if India joins the Developed Nations Club. The reason for this is the sheer number of employable people available in India and the kind of economic principles India follow.
A manufacturing unit in Hyderabad adopted 5 day week in 1999 as one of the benefits to its employees and the employees welcomed this and agreed to let go a portion of the hike they demanded, in lieu of this. This clearly establishes the fact that it is only a myth that organizations work for 6 day week are more productive and do more business than the organizations that adopt 5 day week. We in India need to give due dignity and respect to the common man serving as an employee giving the prime time of the life in the service of the organization. 5 day norm for India is a must for social, political, ecological, financial, emotional, health and safety reasons.
Educational Institutions and the 5 day week:
Only the International Schools offer 5 day week and all the local schools work 6 day. Some local schools work with second and fourth Saturdays as holidays and some schools declare only second Saturday as holiday. Even the Engineering and Management Institutes prefer to have 6 day week to cover the huge syllabus that they plan to teach!!
This trend of not having 5 day week destroyed the very joy of learning among the student community. The stress levels among children starts increasing since 6th standard onwards. In some schools even from 1st standard onwards!! The reason for this unhealthy stress is the mad competitive exams that we designed to punish our children to allot seats in professional courses. We as adults in India have made education as the most painful process for our kids. It is high time that we must adopt the most natural education system that really brings out the innate talent among the children rather than focusing on the rote memory and mechanical recall capability. Unfortunately such natural system is confined to the International Schools / Colleges/Institutions that cater to a minority of Student community that hailed from rich family background. We have, thus, created the division in the student community and in the learning process too which actually should have been uniform.
Since we adopt more working hours for the schools, the policy makers of our Education System take advantage of this and add more syllabus to each subject. The classic case is the CBSE text book for Class XII. The student needs to mug up so much to reproduce in the final exam. It is not humane on the part of the curriculum writers of CBSE to burden the young minds with vast syllabus for each subject. It is unfortunate that parents in India would love to see their wards getting more syllabus so that they know many things much earlier than they did!! I heard a parent of a 5th std student with a beaming face saying that my son knows reproductive system very well and he can even explain it!! This is the current trend which is really creating a punishing scenario for all our kids in the schools. They deserve more time for playing, exploring, indulging in more creative activities than mere attending the classes 6 day a week and in addition to that we have a great practice called sending children for private tuitions after the school hours. Private tuitions like electricity stabilizers speak of the highest order inefficiency.
The exposure to the traffic pollution:
School buses contribute significantly to the traffic pollution and other factors that impact the fuel and maintenance costs. When schools adopt 5 day week as a norm they substantially reduce the accidents, health hazards to which the school going children are exposed to. We see in our cities students commuting by school buses several Kilometers up and down every day and spend more than one hour even in the bus to reach school, one way. The risk of being in the traffic two hours a day is very high and many parents do not pay attention to this. By the time they reach home these future citizens look like pale buds.
We need to marry education and industry with the same values. It is possible only through exploring the most possible patterns of work hours that enable parents to spend quality time with their wards and mould them into great citizens of future India. Unfortunately we are yet to bring in this small but significant improvement and we had made so much delayed already in brining this much needed change.
Meaningful and productive engagement is possible only when the mind is allowed to express itself fully and unleash its creative power optimally. This is highly impossible with our current working hours in both industry and in academic institutions. Hope Mr. Modi and his team and the CMs of the States in India appreciate this simple fact soon rather than doing cosmetic changes in our education and employment systems.
By Dr. IVNS Raju
HR and OD Professional