Narayana Murthy, co-founder of Infosys Ltd., speaks at the Infosys 40th anniversary celebration event at the company’s head office in Bengaluru, India, on December 14, 2022. Aparna Jayakumar – Bloomberg via Getty Images
First, Alibaba founder Jack Ma required tech workers to follow “996,” a schedule from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., six days a week. Then Elon Musk asked workers at Twitter – which has now become X – to commit to long working hours and high intensity. Late last year, Tencent CEO Pony Ma complained that his employees were taking it easy on weekends while the company was struggling.
Now, another tech founder is speaking out about allegedly lazy workers. Narayana Murthy, founder of IT consultancy Infosys, believes employees need to work 70 hours a week – and should do so out of pride in their country.
“Our youth should say: This is my country, I want to work 70 hours a week,” Murthy said in a speech. interview with Indian venture capital firm 3one4 Capital, published on Thursday. Pointing out that low productivity is holding India back from realizing its potential, the tech founder said Indian youth should follow the example of Germany and Japan in rebuilding after the war.
“For the first time, India is getting a certain respect. This is the time for us to consolidate and accelerate progress, and to achieve this we need to work very hard,” Murthy said.
Murthy founded Infosys with six engineers for $250 in 1981, taking advantage of Western technology companies that hoped to outsource IT operations to low-cost India. He resigned as CEO of the company in 2002.
Infosys’ market capitalization is currently around $68 billion. The company generated revenues of about $18 billion last year, an increase of 14.6% from the previous year.
Indian workers spend approx 43% of their time are engaged in “performative work,” the highest among markets surveyed by Slack and research firm Qualtrics. On average, employees globally spend about 32% of their time looking busy rather than working, according to the report.
Murthy’s comments sparked Online discussion Whether among fellow businessmen or ordinary Indians. Bhavesh Agarwal, founder of Indian ride-sharing company Ola, expressed his support for a longer work week, Posting on X That he was “setting the hours. Not just 70, but 140.”
Tech founders have long tried to encourage employees to work longer and later, but those arguments are starting to fail amid new conversations about work-life balance.
The push for “996,” which equates to a 72-hour work week, helped fuel the Chinese idea of “laying back,” or rejecting the culture of long hours by doing the bare minimum to get by. It’s part of a larger trend of young workers in China who push back against the idea that hard work will lead to personal and professional success.
Younger workers in the US and Europe are also rejecting the idea of “hustle culture,” giving rise to new social media trending terms like “quiet quit” and “minimum Mondays.”
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