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When Will Indians Be Free Of This Toxic Work Culture?

Posted: September 22, 2020

A toxic work environment not only affects your mental peace but can also greatly impact your physical health and family relationships.

“What is with your office colleagues? Don’t they understand when you say I’m driving, will talk later!”

I always nudge my husband after he finishes attending to a call while driving.

It is not like he appreciates or welcomes such unwanted callers. But then, somehow the caller makes it look so urgent that he is left with no other option but to attend to it.

Why is it wrong

Now I have few questions to all such type of callers,

Aren’t you aware that using the mobile phone while driving is a crime?

What if someone meets with an accident while attending to your call? Will you take ownership of the casualty?

Something similar happens during lunch hours. As soon as he is about to take his first morsel, his cell phone will ring, keeping him engrossed throughout lunchtime. This lockdown has made me witness this regularly. For me, even that one lunch together is a luxury, a far-fetched dream.

There are days when we hardly get to interact. The reason? He is neck-deep in presentations and meetings. Some days he has back to back meetings with no breathing space.

No peace in WFH either

When the lockdown was announced, I was elated. I thought, at least now he’ll get to eat his food hot and fresh. But no, people on the other side of the phone somehow don’t understand when someone says, “I’ll call you after lunch.”

I want to ask such callers, “Why can’t you wait for a few minutes? The world won’t stop revolving and the sky won’t come crumbling down, will it?! But your empathy will let someone have his/her food peacefully.”

When I ask anyone, why do you slog so much?

I get a pat answer,” Paapi pet ke liye!” (for the sake of one’s livelihood).

Still, as a colleague or as a superior, you won’t encourage your counterparts and subordinates to fill their stomach peacefully and on time!

Health impact of toxic work culture

Do you know such people are one of the major contributors (apart from genes) for the soaring cases of diabetes, obesity, hypertension and acidity in the country?

One more hazardous aspect of work culture which almost every office encourages and cultivates is of long meeting/training hours with no proper breaks and arrangements for food. The official mail would mention lunch arrangements.

But in reality, people are forced to eat pizzas, burgers, sandwiches etc.

Aren’t you spoiling the health of your own employees by feeding them such unhealthy food?

Freshers and newcomers are practically treated as scum. They are made to sit for long hours in the name of on-the-job training, thus weakening their back muscles.

Isn’t that equal to ragging?

Just a month back my husband had a call with one of his clients. A few hours later, he got the news that that person had passed away due to cardiac arrest!

Can you imagine the shock he underwent?

After probing, it was found that the person who was in his early fifties with no background of heart issues, was overly stressed due to the unending workload.

Now tell me who lost in this bargain? Of course, the family! The company has no dearth of people. A vacant position gets filled easily and immediately. But what about the family?

That’s why it’s important to learn the art of saying ‘No’. It’s okay if it makes you sound rude or costs you a few promotions; at least you will get to live for your dear ones.

I have had a majority of my yoga students, irrespective of their age, complaining about neck and back pain. When probed, they confide about long working hours, constantly sitting with no breaks in between. Did you know this is why so many are suffering from back problems?

And in the case of ladies, it’s even worse, making them suffer from UTI, PCODs, obesity, thyroid!

I always advise my Yoga students to take breaks, to do simple hand and leg movements and stretching. I tell them, “People take cigarette breaks, you start the trend of stretching breaks. At least, it’s a better and healthier addiction than the former.”

No healthy boundaries

I have seen people ruining vacations with phone calls. One of the biggest reasons why I left the corporate world was when I found people poking their noses in while I was on vacation.

Companies have fixed paid and sick leaves, the latest being period leaves, but dare you take one!

It’s only when you go on a vacation or break that they will come chasing you, making you feel guilty of enjoying your hard earned break.

Why?

Working for a company shouldn’t make one lose the freedom to live. And the worst part of this lockdown is that nobody is discussing leaves! Working from home is not synonymous with vacations or paid leave. Just because people are working from home doesn’t mean they are always available. They have the right to spend time with their family, do their workouts and take short breaks.

I understand that having meetings with people from different time zones can be difficult. But I am talking about the unwanted emergencies and chaos created by co-workers, colleagues and superiors, thus messing up one’s personal life and adding unwanted misery and mental stress.

This is an issue you face only while working for an Indian company or with an Indian. Yes, you read it right, it’s a very typical Indian mindset.

The same Indian when working with a Non-Indian becomes the most understanding counterpart/co-worker/team-member.

Why do we take our countrymen for granted?

Are they any less human?

If you agree with the above article, please feel free to pour in your suggestions and share it generously till we revamp the entire work-culture.

First published here.

Picture Credits: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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