Indians currently work an average of 47.7 hours a week — higher than the US (36.4), the UK (35.9), and Germany (34.4), according to the International Labour Organization. Long working hours can impact health and performance at work. So, how can sustainable progress be achieved in a manner that considers the aspirations of a developing nation and the well-being of its citizens? One way is for companies to focus on directing their investments towards resources that enhance work efficiency, which, in turn, will contribute to the growth of the economy. Some of these include new technologies, skilling and a focus on quality management.
Leveraging cutting-edge technologies like automation, data analytics, cloud computing, AI, IoT, blockchain, AR/VR, cybersecurity, RPA, and 5G is essential for staying competitive in today’s business landscape. Embracing digital transformation allows businesses to remain competitive and adaptable in a rapidly evolving global landscape. By automating repetitive tasks and harnessing data insights, companies can streamline processes, save time and free up their workforce for other jobs and projects.
Implementing robust training and development programs is another critical component of enhancing work efficiency. A skilled workforce is a valuable asset to any organisation, and continuous upskilling and reskilling programs are necessary to keep employees abreast of evolving industry trends. Investing in employee development through reskilling and upskilling helps employees acquire new competencies, minimise skill gaps and maximise employee efficiency at the workplace.
Adhering to industry best practices and quality management systems is vital for work efficiency and long-term progress. These include Six Sigma, Lean Management, Kaizen, thorough customer feedback and surveys analysis, and implementing Total Quality Management (TQM) principles, ensuring that products and services consistently meet or exceed customer expectations. Effective project management and the promotion of a culture of continuous improvement can help companies streamline their operations, ultimately contributing to the economy by enhancing productivity and maintaining high standards of quality and efficiency.
While there may not be an ideal number of hours an employee should work, those embarking on their careers should not discount the importance of hard work or long hours, as the skills acquired during this period are immensely beneficial. However, it is equally crucial for companies to recognise the evolving nature of work and the potential pitfalls of overburdening their employees. Companies can foster productivity and employee well-being by strategically leveraging technology, investing in continuous skilling programs, and implementing robust quality management practices.