Indian billionaire reckons young people need to work 70-hour weeks

NR Narayana Murthy says young people should want to work 70 hours a week.

NR Narayana Murthy says young people should want to work 70 hours a week.

While the idea of a four-day workweek is gaining traction, a billionaire has suggested young people in India should be working 70 hours a week.

NR Narayana Murthy is the CEO of Infosys and also happens to be the father-in-law of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

He recently jumped on a podcast and shared his radical thoughts on what young people should be doing to help advance India.

He said that work productivity in the country is “one of the lowest in the world”, and if that could not improve India would not be able to compete with countries that have made “tremendous progress”.

“So, therefore, my request is that our youngsters must say, ‘This is my country. I’d like to work 70 hours a week’,” he said.

In the same interview he said that the youth in India has the habit of taking “not so desirable habits from the West” and stressed that people needed to work hard and be disciplined.

Naturally, reactions were divided on Murphy’s prescription. A few supported his sentiment, but many slammed the idea of having young people work 70 hours a week.

Many pointed out that it is important to have a good work-life balance in order to live a healthy life.

The four day workweek is productive

Murphy’s comments come as more businesses around the world are embracing the idea of working less.

Earlier this year, business professor Zhou Jiang from RMIT said he believes switching to a four-day workweek could revolutionise society and bring about positive impacts for the environment.

Professor Jiang said there have been several successful trials of the four-day work week in Australia.

Results from those trials “have signalled a need to transform the way we work to achieve sustainable benefits for the employee, the organisation and society”, he said.

“It is not surprising that the reduction of working hours/days without a pay cut improves employees’ wellbeing, which can further boost their performance, productivity, innovation and creativity,” Professor Jiang said.

“Mental health and wellbeing issues are prevalent among workers and a main trigger of these issues is long working hours.”

Additionally younger people are rejecting so-called “hustle culture”.

In China, young people grew to be so disillusioned with both work and life they let go of their aspirations – and then came a trend called tang ping, which means lying flat.

“The popularity of this word reflects the stress and disappointment young people feel,” Jia Miao, an assistant professor of sociology from New York University Shanghai told CNBC News in 2022.

Miao explained that tang ping is the rejection of working too much, doing the bare minimum and just letting things be.

Topics: Careers
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