Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Worker’s Productivity: Long working hours

GS1/GS4/GS3 Paper 

 Syllabus: Indian Society/ Ethics/ Economy


Source: TOI

 Context: Recently, NR Narayana Murthy (Founder of Infosys) suggested that Indian youth should work long hours to improve productivity,

What is Productivity?

It is the efficiency of using resources like labour and capital to produce goods and services. It impacts a nation’s living standards and economic growth.


Type of Productivity:

Type Description
Labour Productivity Measures output per hour of work, directly influencing wages, living standards, and purchasing power.
Capital Productivity Evaluates output from physical assets like machinery and buildings, impacting profitability and competitiveness.
Total Factor Productivity Accounts for output growth beyond labour and capital, are often associated with innovation, efficiency, and technological progress.


Benefits of long working hours:

Aspect Benefits
Economy 1. Increased economic output and GDP growth.
2. Enhanced competitiveness on a global scale.
3. Expansion of employment opportunities.
4. Potential for higher tax revenues for the government.
Businesses 1. Higher production and potential for increased profits.
2. Greater flexibility to meet market demands.
3. Improved innovation and product development.
4. Enhanced market share and sustainability.
Individuals 1. Opportunities for higher income and career growth.
2. Improved job security and advancement prospects.
3. Ability to meet financial goals and aspirations.
4. Gaining valuable work experience and skills.
Society 1. Reduced unemployment and poverty rates.
2. Improved overall living standards.
3. Enhanced infrastructure and public services.
4. Potential for social and community development.


Demerits of long working hours:

Aspect Demerits
Economy Decreased worker productivity and burnout.
Increased healthcare costs due to stress-related issues e.g., Higher medical expenses
Limited opportunities for new entrants in the job market.
Businesses Reduced employee morale: Frequent resignations and recruitment expenses
Diminished creativity and innovation in the long run.
Greater absenteeism due to health and personal issues e.g., More sick leave requests
Individuals Poor work-life balance: Stress-related health problems
Limited time for personal and family life leading to Strained relationships
Reduced personal development and skill acquisition e.g., Limited time for education, hobbies, and self-improvement
Society Potential for decreased family stability e.g., Increased divorce rates and family conflicts
Reduced community engagement and social cohesion e.g., Less time for participation in community activities and volunteering


Indian workers’ productivity status:

Despite Indians working an average of nearly 48 hours per week (ILO data), one of the highest figures worldwide, their hourly output stands at $8.47. In contrast, countries like France, where the average workweek is around 30 hours, manage to achieve significantly higher productivity of over $58 per hour.


Indian workers’ productivity remains relatively low despite their long working hours due to various factors:

  • Impact of Agriculture: A significant portion of the workforce in agriculture can lower a country’s overall productivity
  • Outdated technology use and technology diffusion in workers
  • Insufficient skills
  • Suboptimal work conditions
  • Lack of innovation


The number of hours worked is not the sole determinant of productivity, and other factors, such as technological advancement and human capital, play a crucial role in enhancing overall productivity.


How the productivity of Indian workers can be improved without increasing the number of working hours?

Approach Description
Technological Adoption Invest in modern technologies and automation to streamline processes and reduce manual labour.
Skills Enhancement Provide training and education to workers to improve their skill sets and adapt to changing job requirements e.g., Skill India Mission
Better Work-Life Balance Promote flexible work arrangements, telecommuting, and support for employees’ well-being to reduce stress and burnout. Encourage concepts like 15 Minutes work neighbourhoods. Put health before wealth
Infrastructure Upgrade Develop better infrastructure, including transportation and communication, to reduce time wasted in commuting and improve access to resources e.g., Delhi Metro, RRTS between Delhi and Meerut, etc.,
Innovation and R&D Encourage research and development to foster innovation, leading to improved products and services.
Incentive Programs Offer performance-based incentives to motivate employees and reward exceptional productivity
Collaborative Culture Promote a collaborative work culture to enhance teamwork and problem-solving.
Meaning of Success Success has different meanings for different people: Economic success is not the only yardstick to measure the success of human life.
Understand employees and employers have different mindsets Entrepreneur and employee mindsets are different: If an employee has to work 70+ hours for a basic salary, then it is not a great idea. The employee may as well take the entrepreneurship path where there is an opportunity to create a company and keep the profits


What is “8 hours work’ debate and hustle culture”?

Hustle culture is defined as one that encourages employees to work more than normal working hours.

  • Work is on their minds even when they have free time or on holidays.
  • The major requirement of this culture is to complete a job on target at a faster pace than usual.

Last year, A LinkedIn post by the CEO of a company advising youngsters to work 18 hours a day, at least for four to five years initially in their career, faced a backlash and was ridiculed



 Improving productivity without increasing working hours is not only beneficial for workers but also contributes to economic growth and overall well-being.


Insta Links: 

New trends in work culture


Mains Link:

Do you think rejecting hustle culture youngsters or going for moonlighting is rejecting the idea of work is worship embedded in Indian Culture? Discuss. 10M