Month: July 2019

The Dreaded Weekend emails

There was an article in the WSJ recently about the impact of sending emails on weekends to employees health. Many of us in corporate jobs would know the experience – receiving emails from your bosses, senior executives outside of working hours – which compel us to stop doing whatever we were at that time (or planning to) to get to work and reply to the email.

The problem has now become even more severe because we are constantly connected. Our personal and professional communication device is now one and the same. Even if one tries to, it is very difficult to completely eliminate checking in (or being made aware of) a message or email that has arrived in your work channel. And it takes an extremely strong-willed employee to say that I am not going to pay any attention to it.

But most employees aren’t like that. And therefore, in my opinion, leaders should ensure that they are not sending any emails out outside of normal working hours. Such behaviour is observed and will soon become the norm. The article spoke about an email tool developed by an organisation that diverts messages sent after a certain time to a queue and only releases it to the recipient’s inboxes at a more suitable time. I believe this should be adopted by all organisations. This way, people who like to work outside of the usual working hours can still do so as usual, knowing that any emails sent to team members are not going to interfere with their personal lives.

I believe that this also raises questions that organisations would find themselves grappling with more and more. With the inexorable rise of ‘gig’ economy workers and remote working, organisations are going to necessarily have to work with people remotely and working different hours to the standard ‘9-to-5’. It’s going to be vitally important that organisations are prepared with processes and policies to ensure maximum productivity from their globally distributed workforce.

An Ode to Mangoes

There was a post recently on a Social Media group that I am part of which spoke of the Mango season coming to an end with the arrival of ‘Neelam’ mangoes in the market.

For most Indians, summer equates to mangoes. I was one of the fortunate ones growing up in that we used to travel to our ‘native place’ in the summer to spend time with grand parents, uncles and aunts and cousins. This, for us, was Kerala. And one of the fond memories of that time was spending time outdoors, playing under and on mango trees, and, goes without saying, plucking and eating fresh mangoes.

As I recollect, there were a couple of mangoes that we used to eat. One was juicy and fibrous that just had to be eaten by hand. And the other was green and tangy which was best cut open with a knife and eaten with salt and chilly powder. Yum!

As I grew older and trips to Kerala reduced, the raw earthy delights of childhood were replaced by city experiences. We used to wait for the price of ‘Hapus’ or Alphonso mangoes to come down to a more acceptable level before buying a box or two. And staying in Mumbai meant that ‘Aamras’ was never very far away!

This annual ritual came to an end when we moved abroad for a few years. While mangoes were regularly available and consumed, it was just not the same experience (and taste).

We moved back to India 3 years ago and it’s only now, in what is the third summer since we came back, that I feel that I am back into the annual rhythm of life here. This summer, I took a train journey to my ‘home town’, which is now Mumbai. Enjoyed delicious mangoes and mango foods (Aamras, mango ice cream, mango milk shake, mango pickle). Started to understand and appreciate the different varieties of this glorious fruit – Badami, Bainganapalli, Mallika, Sindoori being just a few of the ones consumed this season!

So as the season comes to a close, it’s time to say good-bye and thank you to this most delicious of fruits and wait patiently for the season to come around again in nine months’ time!