If your offshore IT support staff sound unusually festive this week, or uncharacteristically glum for being at work, that's because this week is, for all intents and purposes, Christmas in India.Actually, it's Diwali [note to Microsoft: What's with the spell check "error"? It's shameful that Word doesn't recognize the term, given the thousands of programmers you employ in India.] Diwali is in fact India's most important festival of the year. Homes are strung with faery lights, gifts are exchanged and families travel great distances to be together.
However, many young Indians will be spending this week in a call center or offshore IT shop. Most firms that service Western companies are operating on a business-as-usual schedule.
In many cases, workers that clock in during Diwali will receive extra days off later in the year, overtime pay, and other benefits. A number of offshore vendors, including Sierra Atlantic, are also holding small office parties--but don't worry about having to deal with a tipsy support tech, Diwali is a Hindu festival and, as a rule, Hindus don't drink.
It's not all bad for those working this week but still, as you interact with your offshore staff, a little more patience than usual might be necessary. Chances are there is a party going on somewhere nearby, though the Delhi bombings will doubtless result in somewhat subdued celebrations this year. Nonetheless, don't forget to wish everyone a Happy Diwali!