Tech industry leaders have recently been making headlines with their controversial stances on work hours, and now Infosys founder Narayana Murthy has joined the chorus. In a recent interview with Indian venture capital firm 3one4 Capital, Murthy advocated for a demanding 70-hour work week for employees, emphasizing the need for Indian youth to work longer and harder to bolster the country’s progress.
According to Murthy, low productivity is holding India back from reaching its full potential, and he believes that young Indians should take inspiration from the postwar rebuilding efforts of Germany and Japan. “Our youngsters must say, ‘This is my country, I want to work 70 hours a week,'” Murthy declared, expressing the need for a strong work ethic and national pride.
Murthy’s call for a 70-hour work week has ignited discussions both among business leaders and the general public. Bhavish Aggarwal, the founder of Indian ridesharing company Ola, voiced his support for longer work hours, signaling his commitment by claiming to put in even more than 70 hours.
The demand for extended work hours is not new in the tech industry. Alibaba’s Jack Ma previously championed the “996” schedule, where employees are expected to work from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, six days a week. Elon Musk also urged workers at his companies to embrace high-intensity work schedules. However, such demands are now facing resistance in the context of growing discussions about work-life balance.
In China, the “996” push led to the emergence of “lying flat,” a movement advocating against excessive working hours and celebrating a more balanced approach to life. Younger workers in China are increasingly questioning the notion that hard work is the sole path to success.
This trend is not exclusive to China. In the United States and Europe, there’s a growing rejection of the “hustle culture,” which has given rise to terms like “quiet quitting” and “bare minimum Mondays.” These phrases reflect a changing mindset among younger professionals who prioritize their well-being and personal lives alongside their careers.
The conversation sparked by Murthy’s call for a 70-hour work week highlights the ongoing tension between the demands of the tech industry and the desire for a healthier work-life balance. It remains to be seen how these conflicting ideals will shape the future of work in the technology sector, not only in India but also on a global scale.