Offices of India @ 75

The Indian Independence Day is right around the corner. It is the Amrit Mahotsav this time- we are celebrating 75 years of independence! As we look back, we realise that after all these years of churning, the Amrit seems to have finally come out as we get the sense of an ever-evolving sense of a nation and self.

Multiple themes have been declared this time around by the government- Ideas @ 75, which aims to bring into focus key concepts and ideas that have formed the core mosaic for us and will continue to guide us even twenty-five years from now. Achievements @ 75 aims to bring into focus our legacy, efforts and contributions. Actions @ 75 emphasises the actions being taken to put policies into implementation. Resolves @ 75 reminds us about our individual and collective resolves that will help us further our commitment to better our motherland.

Despite the 75 years mark, there are still times when we glorify western ideas of the office life, often disregarding our own merits and unique perspectives. In the light of the spirit of pride and emancipation of mental shackles, let us have a look at some of the ideas, achievements, actions and resolves within the Indian office as we step into the Amrit Mahotsav.

Ideas @ 75:

India has always been a blend of tradition and modernity. And it is about time we think of this idea as a source of pride. A little anecdote from an old magazine comes to mind: imagine a boardroom with quiet murmurs and occasional spatter of words that one can hear at a workplace. It’s a pleasantly lit room. Suddenly one hears the sound of ‘payals’ or anklets. Does it feel like an interruption?

It certainly isn’t. It is a well-accepted normalcy in our country, and it is thanks to our understanding that tradition and modernity aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

This blend suggests something more. Where there are international struggles of sexism against women at workplace, where women feel like they are in a ‘masculine’ work environment, the normalcy of the twinkling anklets is more than just a pleasant sound- it encapsulates a pleasant idea of a workplace that has space for the ‘feminine.’

The rakhis on the hand, the leftover decorations for Christmas and Diwali on some of the office walls too are signs of blend of tradition and modernity.

The Indian way has always been about following the traditions, celebrating the festivals in harmony with the daily life, rather than seeing festivals and traditions as respites from the drudgery. Let us think of this idea that harmonises tradition and modernity with a sense of pride. There is no need to hide the celebratory spirit, nor any need to hide the diversity that stems from various points of view.

Achievements @ 75:

Many companies in western countries are trying hard to achieve ‘diversity’ within. Special Diversity and Inclusion officers are being appointed to ensure there is a diversity of voices and the cultural minorities do not have to face challenges because of their background. It is no less than an achievement for India that the diversity within our population has long been recognised and it is almost always taken for granted. And that it is reflected in our offices. Whether it is the diversity within age, education, language, cultural and religious background, the Indian way of interaction has always accepted diversity in others. It is so obvious and natural to us that most of us don’t even think of it as an achievement.

To think that such a diversity exists, where accents and dialects change every few kilometres, where regional and cultural influences on dressing styles are seen within the same city, and to still find everyone united- it is no mean feat. The famed unity in diversity of our country can be seen in our well-functioning offices, with staff members from multiple background.

Actions and Resolves @ 75:

As we acknowledge our unique harmony of tradition and modernity, our inherent diversity, we also need to acknowledge the existing problems. As we mentioned in one of our recently posted articles, the state of mental and physical well-being of employees in India needs serious consideration. We also need to see if we are giving a level-playing field to everyone, or if we are favouring our ‘contacts’, a.k.a, we need to ensure merit, and not nepotism is the guiding force for our choices. Dignity of labour, leave policies, overwork and burnout, instances of sexism etc are some universal issues to be solved. These issues need our action and resolve to ensure our future generations of employees and employers do not end up inheriting our problems. This is where we need to use our hindsight to improve our foresight. This is where we need to think beyond our own individual selves, keeping the present and future collective in mind. Miraculously, when we keep the collective benefit of the nation, the ‘desh hit’ above everything, ‘sarvopari’, the benefits will seep into our individual lives as well.

This Independence Day, let us look back and take pride in how far we have come. Let us take pride in our achievements, the gifts of our culture that translated into our offices. Let us acknowledge and resolve to take actions against that which needs to be improved, because by no means, the churning of the Amrit should stop.

Team UHR wishes everyone a very Happy Independence Day!

The Independence Within

The Independence Day of our country is right around the corner! Time and again we are reminded of the sacrifices our freedom fighters have made and how indebted we are to them, when we take a look around and see where we stand as a country after all these years. Have we looked within and tried to cultivate a state of freedom in our own thinking and actions?

Hereby we take a look at some aspects where an independence of thought and a freedom from the shackles of conformity is a must if we want to make the best of our careers. Let us take a look!

Independence in Thinking About our Career-Values:

Often, we find ourselves being confronted by key decisions…of other people. When a long-time co-worker leaves their job, we find ourselves wondering if it’s time for us to leave as well. When we see a colleague take up a new side-venture, we wonder if we should do it too. In other words, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of comparison and put ourselves through unnecessary rethinking. There is a fine line between wanting a change in one’s path and wanting a change in one’s path because someone made you feel so.

 A keen sense of self-awareness about one’s own career path is necessary to make sure we make the right decisions, independently, keeping our own situation, our aspirations and our own dreams in mind. An independence in thinking about what works well for our life and career is necessary to stay on the right path so we don’t end up projecting the situation and aspirations of someone else onto ours.

This brings us to a related but nevertheless an important point.

Independence in Thinking About our Values:

Everyone wants different things from their jobs. Some of us might crave for some structural stability, while others are looking for an outlet for their creativity, while some are looking to channelise their need to uplift and inspire people. A person might be looking for autonomy, fulfilling intellectual work, fast-pace and new challenges. Another person might be looking for stability, security, steadiness and routine work.

What gives the other person contentment might leave another feeling stuck. It is thus necessary to think about our own individual values, independent of what others decide for themselves and what countless success-stories of others might tell us.

One too many of us often under-utilise our potential, change paths unnecessarily or stay at the same place wondering why we are unhappy because of not thinking about what we really want from our work.

Independence in Initiative:

We often let factors like office politics, prejudices and biases of others, our own assumptions about people, our mental-sets about our own capacities come in the way of taking efficient initiatives within the workplace environment. The latter point deserves some more explanation. A senior member might have the mental-set that they can’t learn anything new and that technology is difficult to master when in reality, it’s a fast- growing learning curve. A younger person might feel the interviewers on the panel are out to bully their lack of experience and go in the interview already under-confident when in reality, they are testing how fresh their ideas are. A person in the middle of their career might feel like their opportunities have dried up and it’s no use learning or undertaking anything new, when in reality their wisdom and humility are much needed qualities.

While communicating with client and colleagues, we often let the established biases, prejudices and assumptions come in the way, stopping us from trying our best, thinking ‘It has always been like this…’, when in reality, a little independence in thought, a little unshackling can lead us to think, ‘Yes, it has always been like this, but have we tried to…’

It is about trying out an innovation without waiting for someone else to bring it up.

It is about understanding the shackles that bind our thinking in the form of hearsay, unsaid conventions and outdated beliefs and cultivating that independence in trying to look beyond them.

Thus, this Independence Day, let us free ourselves from habits and thought patterns that prevent us from being the best version of ourselves and making our office environment a better place. Team UHR wishes everyone a very happy Independence Day!