It is a matter of time

It is a matter of time

Flippant remarks have been made about the concept of ‘Indian Stretchable Time’ so many times that now the very term has come to represent a cliché of sorts. But while arriving fashionably late to a dinner party or missingthe opening scene of a movie may not constitute an epic disaster anymore, not being punctual becomes a lot more serious when carried over into the workplace or for that matter, in any formal environment.

In fast-paced industries, a few hours here or there could make or break budgets and there is no room for buffer-time of extended deadlines. Metrolife speaks to a few people from different walks of life to find out how important punctuality is to them.
Bindu Sastry, who works in the IT sector, believes that the issue of punctuality in her industry is double-edged.

“On one hand, we believe in keeping a little flexibility when it comes to time. For instance, we don’t require our employees to clock a specific numbers of hours per day or insist that they reach work at a particular time – we simply make sure the work is getting done and we trust that employees won’t misuse this freedom,” she says, adding, “I think the IST holds true for most industries but to a certain extent, our situation is a little better.

“One reason for this is beca­use we work with global teams and have to be sensitive to the time they operate on. The other is that being late often translates into losing revenue,” she says. While most top-brass managers underst­and this dynamic, she lam­e­nts the fact that many professionals at the lower levels of the corporate ladder don’t, saying, “When it comes to a delivery, if you slip by even a day you could lose a custo­m­er. People need to understand this – when they don’t work on time, it has a ripple-effect and can disrupt working of the company. Casual approach to deadlines shouldn’t be tolerated.”

The world of fashion retail also works on a similar man­t­ra. Suhasini, a professor at NIFT, explains that the industry ensures it keeps time because profit-motives compel it to do so. “In fashion, time is everything. We don’t have the luxury of being late, especially in the retail and export business. Whoever puts a product in the market first is the clear leader – so timing is everyth­i­ng and being late can cause losses. Besides, the market is very competitive – so if deliveries aren’t made on time, one can lose shelf-space,” she says.

Sharath Vishnu, a student, believes that punctuality has nothing to do with industry –it’s a function of individual belief. “In our school, teachers are very strict about turning up and submitting assignments on time. We also have to maintain a certain level of attendance, so we ensured we were punctual till we cleared that,” he explains. Personally, I am very strict about time. It’s all about a person’s mentality.”

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