Learning from Amit Agarwal of Amazon India

The headline in Financial Express of 18 Aug 2018 says, “The boss you always wanted! Amazon India chief asks the team to turn off work e-mail at night, get a life”. The lead-in goes on to explain, “In an email to his team earlier this month, Amit Agarwal counseled colleagues to stop responding to emails or work calls between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. in the interest of work-life harmony”. The press report then goes on to talk about sleep deprivation its negative consequences and so on.

To my mind, Amit Agarwal has very elegantly shared two profound thoughts, which are of immense value.

One – Harmony between Work and Life: From the time of hunter-gatherers there has been a symbiotic relationship between a person’s work and life. Across cultures, the profession was often used to describe the person. For E.g. Muller in Germany to represent the flour miller or Munshi in India to refer to the accountant and so on.

Work-Life Harmony or Work-Life Integration is a more apt lens to view life. The term Work-Life Balance, unfortunately, creates the image of work and life as counteracting forces!

Two – Importance of Discipline: All of us have experienced our productivity soar, while in disciplined environments such as Germany or Japan or Singapore. What Amit Agarwal seems to be implying is, by being disciplined and therefore fully productive from 8 AM to 6 PM, you will contribute a lot more to Amazon, than by merely logging long hours. How true! With discipline, mindfulness, and focus, we can accomplish, so much more, every day.

Do share your views!

– by Ravi Santhanam for Zeus

Next: Why Should Conflicts Have Only One Winner?

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