Infosys Founder Narayana Murthy States that Youngsters Must Work 70 Hours a Week
Narayan Murthy made the statement in an interview with former Infosys CFO Mohandas Pai at the inaugural edition of 3one4 Capital's podcast, The Record.
The statement given by the Infosys founder is: "I request that our youngsters must say, 'This is my country, I need to work 70 hours a week.' This is exactly what the Germans and the Japanese did after the Second World War." It sparked a new debate over the balance between work and personal life and elicited intense reactions on social media. Concerns were raised against long working hours potentially impacting their physical and mental health.
Some supported Narayana Murthy's opinion, while others were against it. JSW group chairman Sajjan Jindal expressed his support on X (formerly Twitter), stating, "I wholeheartedly endorse Mr. Narayan Murthy's statement. It's not about burnout, it's about dedication. We need to make India an economic superpower that we can all be proud of. A 5-day-week culture is not what a fast-developing nation of our size needs." He also cited Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an example of someone who puts in extensive working hours.
CP Gurnani, CEO of Tech Mahindra, has aligned with Narayana Murthy's statement and stated, "I believe when he talks about work, it's not limited to the company; it extends to yourself and your country."
A cardiologist named Dr. Deepak Krishnamurthy, residing in Bengaluru, has also voiced concerns about the impact of long working hours on heart health in young individuals on X (formerly Twitter).
A psychiatrist, Dr. Devashsh Palkar, stated, "I think we need to grow beyond that mindset where we just focus on numbers and quantify things and, instead, start looking at the quality of the output." A mental health expert recommended that taking short breaks between work, engaging in physical activities, maintaining a healthy diet, and utilizing stress management techniques are essential.
Finally, Sudha Murthy, wife of Narayana Murthy, responded to the heated debate and emphasized that "He has worked 80–90 hours a week, so he doesn't know what less than that is. He trusts in real hard work and he lived like that. Hence, he has told what he felt".
But if these long working hours are implemented, it can impact the health of employees in different ways. It can lead to poor posture, back pain, a dormant lifestyle, stress, anxiety, depression, and heart-related concerns, and in women, it can lead to hormonal imbalances. Because of desk-based jobs, employees have to stay indoors, which can also lead to vitamin D deficiency.
So companies have to promote a healthy work culture for efficiency and productivity and prioritize the health of employees by giving short breaks, conducting health checkups, and creating awareness about physical fitness and mental health.
(Input from various media sources)