Capitalism Normalizes Overworking: Overworking is not something you should celebrate

Why do people feel proud when they overwork?


To begin with, all the people who have been working in an office, must have known that one person at least who is always ready to work and might often boast about the fact that how much work they has got, how they could barely sleep and how they prefer to do all the work irrespective of the condition they has around. And while saying so, they always take pride in themselves for the fact that they are working more than their capacity.

Amid the lockdown, while there emerged problems in control and coordination with the employees. Where in the office spectrum, the managers could directly check who is working on what, with the lockdown, this couldn’t possibly be done. While different companies used different measures to keep a surveillance on their employees, a Noida Based startup working on Internet of Things redefined the salary structure on the basis of the result, the company gets from the employee’s performance.

An employee from the company informed that the new policy is such that, if the employee works up to the manager’s expectation, does over time and his/ her performance benefits the organisation, then they will be paid the full salary. If the manager thinks that their input is not sufficient, how much is sufficient is still uncertain, then a deduction, and if the employee happens to do overtimes, then he/ she can expect huge bonuses. Well, ultimately, what this policy did is it put them all in a race with themselves for working more than how much they can when how much is enough is still uncertain. And yes, they must have started celebrating overworking as that is the mark of judgement.

Well, such a policy is absolutely a capitalist one and puts the employees in a position where they start to appreciate overworking. But honestly, there is nothing to celebrate in overworking.


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Losing work-life balance

Prioritising work over family and much needed holidays is not a thing one needs to celebrate. There should always be a work-life balance.

To put this in perspective, Denmark is one of the best in its employee wellness culture. They prefer to work not more than 37 hours a week, anytime between 6:00 AM to 6:00 pm in 5 working days. Staying extra hours is always discouraged. Comparing this with India, Section 51 of the Factories Act 1948, states that an employee can’t work more than 9 hours a day, the work hour spread should not exceed 10-1/2 hours. And weekly work hours are 48 hours. And according to studies, a whopping 44% of Indians are found doing overtime at their workplaces.


Is it necessary to work to the full of the capacity?

There is always a capacity to which a person can work. And honestly, it is not always necessary for a person to work until that capacity every time, every day. Of course, for an employee, it is required to be present whenever needed, but not required for them to feel insecure on days when they are working less than regular. Working as per requirement is what should be the criteria, not working to the full capacity.


It can result in poor mental health

Overworking has a direct link to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Thinking about work all the time might be good for your organisation but is definitely not a thing that can help your mental health. And in fact, it is not even good for the organisation is seen in a wider perspective, as it can lead to loss of productivity and quality of work over the period of time.

Well, all that was just to say, that overworking is not a thing anyone should be celebrating. There is nothing good in working beyond your capacity. There is a limit to which you can work, you need rest, you need break, you need a holiday and there is nothing, especially not the work that should stop you from it.

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Ishika Aggarwal

Can write, shoot, listen, talk and procrastinate. A feminist at heart, Ishika is an avid writer and multimedia person who loves talking about women, realism, and society. When not working she is either seen watching films or making one.

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