In the office on any given workday, everyone is busy. Rushing from one meeting to the next, finishing off emails and reports, taking important phone calls. Most professionals barely have time to take a breath – or is that just how it seems? Is your colleague next to you furiously typing a last-minute essential email, or chatting with her husband about what to have for dinner?

That’s why we did this survey in India to find out: are we truly busy at work? Hundreds of white-collar professionals across a variety of sectors and seniority levels told us what they did during work hours, along with stats on their commute, how they stay connected and balancing work and play. This is what we found. 

Autonomy at work

As job burnout becomes a more recognised consequence of long hours and high stress, many organisations are working towards alleviating this. One way is through creating a flexible working environment. According to our results, 9 out of 10 respondents felt that a flexible work environment was important to them. This indicates that it could be a large contributing factor to overall job satisfaction and employee engagement.

Organisations can exercise flexibility in numerous ways, from introducing flexi hour, to simply allowing their employees to plan their own days and schedule their own breaks when necessary. Our study shows that 92% of professionals responded that they spend less than an hour on personal matters at work. However, when on break, they use their free time to a variety of activities, from chatting with family and friends on messaging apps and scrolling through social media to speaking with colleagues.

This shows that most employees continue to be productive at work despite spending time on personal matters at work, when given the autonomy to do so.

Building relationships at work

According to a Harvard Business School survey, 94% of service professionals put in 50+ hours a week. We spend majority of our time at work, which is what makes fostering bonds with your co-workers another key component in creating a good work environment. Our results showed that 98% felt that being on good terms with colleagues and bosses can improve productivity.  This is why establishing a strong and supportive company culture has become vital to organisations all over the world, who understand that building safe spaces for colleagues to interact and grow will enable many of their employees to unlick their fully potential.

When interacting with colleagues at work, our survey found that 46% of our respondents preferred to engage in conversations around the economy and politics. This was followed by 26% who liked to chat about entertainment. Sports seemed to be the least favourite topic of conversation amongst our respondents.

Commuting to work

Around the world, extreme commuting (spending more than two hours commuting per day) is on the rise due to high rental costs and crowded cities. So in India, given its relatively large size, how long are people spending getting to and from the office?

According to our results, 65% of respondents spend more than an hour travelling daily, just enough time to beat several levels of Candy Crush - but not an unreasonable amount of time, considering that in many metropolitan cities around the world, commute times often exceed two hours per day. According to The Economic Times India, many Indians spend more time in daily office commute than people in most countries in the world, with more than 2 hours on the road every day, according to a report by office commute platform.

Unsurprisingly, 76% of respondents regard the commute to work as an important factor when considering a new job, signaling that office location could play a large part in whether or not a job offer is accepted, given the long commute hours that most have to endure.  

Staying connected

Smartphones, laptops, tablets - connectivity is a big deal these days and in many ways the line between time in the office and time out is becoming blurred by the pressure to always be on. This pressure can be increased by the devices that companies provide - 93% of respondents in India received a device from work, and the type of device varied:

Balancing work and play

Safe to say, India truly is busy at the workplace, but the increasingly long hours of work and the mounting stress on the job can get to the best of us. To stay emotionally and mentally healthy and happy, many choose to inject their own pockets of entertainment into their day to make the most of their day.  Autonomy and flexible work environments remain key contributors to keeping employees in India satisfied at work.  

While it seems a bit too easy, sometimes the key to happiness can be as simple as reframing the way that successes and failures within the work environment are viewed and establishing nurturing work cultures.

Focus on productivity, not activity

As the results show, it looks like Indians really are working hard at work when they’re in the office or working remotely. And the overarching message that comes through in this survey is that even though the work is important, we also value connecting with colleagues on a deeper level and being given the autonomy to schedule our day our way.  If companies can find policies to help address these needs and balance them with business goals, they should find themselves with happier, healthier and overall more productive employees within their organisation. 

Download the full infographic here for more insights.

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