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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Working Late: Smart work or Fate?

Sanjeev Jain
Saturday, April 1, 2006
Sanjeev Jain
After 6 pm, I don't want to stay a single minute in the office, but at the last moment things go awry and I end up working late,” rues Vikas Mehta, 24, a developer with India's largest banking software company i-flex Technologies in Bangalore.

He isn’t alone in his company staying or working late, thousands of programmers like him at diverse IT companies spread across the country end up working late. In an industry that demands timely delivery of codes built to order to the customer's specifications, it has become a daily ritual for techies to stay late in the office. The software industry works on hit and trial method. You write a code that is ready to be shipped and lo and behold- you are struck with an error. What do you do then? Work till you get rid of the error. “One small bug and every effort put to make the product goes waste and we stay late to rectify that,” says Mehta.

Everyone complains about working hours extending even up to midnights and to the weekends and sometimes on Sundays too. Wiry and energetic techies are at extreme ends but nobody seem to have a solution as yet. “It happens all the time. We get calls for clarifications, confirmation and small changes to be included in the project and the problem is that most of the time it comes from abroad,” says Arun Murthy, Associate Consultant, i-flex.

Infosys chief mentor Narayana Murthy says, “I know people who work 12 hours a day, six days a week, or more. Some people do so because of a work emergency where the long hours are only temporary. Other people I know have put in these hours for years. I don't know if they are working all these hours, but I do know they are in the office this long."

Such timings have wrecked havoc in their lives. A lack of team communication and ineffective meetings are the top time wasters. He says, “Little known to the team, it is always poor teamwork and endless meetings which ultimately comes out with nothing more than renewed deadlines.”

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