India Cultural Differences: Stretched work day
A couple of months ago I briefly touched on the very stretched days I’ve experienced while working in India.
This is in contrast to what I’ve experienced in the UK and Australia where the day was much more time boxed and tended to go from 9am to 6pm.
At the moment we also have a call with colleagues in Chicago at 9pm for about 30-45 minutes so the day has now stretched out until nearly 10pm. We start with our standup at 10am.
We’re certainly not working all of that time but you’re never really done for the day until the call has finished.
With or without the call I’ve found it a much more difficult environment to work in than anything I’ve experienced before.
I frequently get to the end of the day and can’t really determine whether I’ve actually achieved anything because I’ve started and stopping working so many times.
I find I get distracted really easily working in our Pune office so I need my pair to be quite vocal about keeping focus!
One disadvantage of the stretched work day which I’ve only noticed recently is that you can become less reflective about the code because you don’t get as much time where you’re awake but not directly working with the code.
I frequently came up with possible ways to improve code bases on previous projects while playing around with something else or watching a presentation or similar.
I find that I play around with stuff outside the project less than I have previously partly because I’ve lost the 4 to 5 hour stretch that I used to have each evening.
On the positive side you get to know the people you’re working with pretty well because you’re with them for a lot more hours per day.
Not every project in the office has hours as stretched as mine but it certainly seems to be more common in India than elsewhere.