Work-life balance. That is the most discussed topic by women in and outside office circles, whatever the capacity and nature of work they are in. An average day for most working mothers in the city demands completing household chores, shuttling to the workplaces, attending meetings, looking into the children’s academics or even travelling on business trips.
While some would argue nothing much has changed for women, for many it is a way of life from which they derive satisfaction. Five years ago when Avtar Career Creators, a Chennai-based talent strategy consulting firm, launched its portal to help create interim-flexi hours for women, it conducted a survey where it showed that 18 per cent of women employees quit jobs never to return to work.
If flexible working hours is one way to help women strike a balance and see them taking up different careers, then organisations still have a long way to go. According to Saundarya Rajesh, founder-president, Avtar Career Creators, flexible working hours are prevailing mainly in the knowledge sector. “Let us increase gender diversity at the workplace in all sectors. Only when we have more women taking up careers that we will acknowledge problems faced by them and the need for work-life balance be legitimised,” she says. “For this companies need to create unique career paths to suit women,” she adds.
Creches, part-time jobs and other basic amenities such as transport assistance are still a far cry in many sectors. There are over 1,100 employees working round-the-clock with Emergency Response Service 108, of which 30 per are women employee between 22 and 28 years. “It is the satisfaction of being close to the medical field that I am here,” says Florence Abraham, working for the last one and a half years.
On the corporate side too, organisations are coming up with newer initiatives to see women take up niche roles they are more suited for and increase productivity. IT parks have taken the lead and become a one-stop-destination. From shopping for grocery to crèches at the work places, organisations are working to bring solutions to the work-life balance.
Helping them further are technology tools, where information is available at the click of a mouse. HCL Technologies, for instance, launched Women’s Council two years ago where the internal portal by women and for women addresses the needs, requirements, problems, issues and other concerns of women employees of all age groups.