Flexi HR policies make working attractive for women (March 8 is International Women’s Day)

March 7th, 2011 - 2:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) Flexi working hours, childcare facilities at the office, working from home and understanding husbands. Women professionals are moving up the corporate ranks and managing home as well with aplomb, thanks to changing human resource policies and supportive spouses.

“To a large extent HR policy in India has undergone a lot of change which now benefits a woman employee and which in turn helps a woman give her best,” said Sonam, HR head, Sawansukha Group.

Ameera Shah, executive director and CEO of Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, feels it’s a tough act for working women to balance home and work.

“Spouses should understand that it is a juggling act for women and that they have to be supportive. Working women face a lot of domestic hiccups and often have to make a tough decision where they have to work or stay at home. HR policies in their favour would help go a long way and they don’t have to quit their job especially post-delivery,” Shah told IANS.

According to a report of US NGO Department for Professional Employees (DPE), the number of working women has risen from 5.1 million in 1900 to 18.4 million in 1950 and to 66.2 million in 2009. The number of women in the labour force is projected to be more than 78 million by 2018.

Usually a working woman has to take maximum responsibility of her family and home and in such a scenario Pooja Kaura, GM-HR, Blue Lotus Communications, feels, “Flexible working hours, option to work from home, and a friendly leave policy” help them juggle roles.

She feels just like the West, Indian companies are also adopting work-from-home and flexible working hour policies to provide an ideal working atmosphere for women.

“HR fraternity at large has grown to be very sensitive to the fact that a majority of the work force consists of women. A woman has to balance multiple arenas like home, work and growing children’s needs. More and more companies are fast adapting their policies to suit the requirement of women and help provide options like ‘work from home’, ‘flexi hours’ ‘maternity break, etc.,” said Kaura.

Shah added: “I think as long as the deliverables are clear and the women are performing, flexibility should be allowed.”

Preeti Binoy, general manager corporate communications at the Yash Birla Group, feels women are cutting across all classes. “Women really are more than just homemakers. Today the working young women appear to be as ambitious as men when it comes to eagerness to climb the career ladder, and 26 percent women contribute even more to family income than their husbands.”

Nicky Sawansukha, head, Sawansukha Insititute of Gemology, lauds women’s multi-tasking ability, saying, “Since ages, women have been great multi-taskers and it is this in-built efficiency in them which helps them to manage work and home with such great perfection.”

Spouse support gives women psychological strength, Sawansukha said, adding that at her organisation they have “personal interaction with our employees”.

Murugavel Janakiraman, founder and CEO of Bharatmatrimony.com, says that the mindset is surely changing towards working women. “Most of the people (who post their resumes) want a working wife. At present about 80 percent people want to marry working women.”

At his 13-year-old organisation there are “several women at powerful positions. They balance both work and home very well,” Janakiraman told IANS, adding that his organisation provides benefits to pregnant women by allowing them to have a three-month flexi-hour working facility in addition to maternity leave.

Daniel Jebasingh, CHRO, Consim Info Ltd, agrees that HR policies are becoming more friendly in Indian companies and claims, “We are one of the very few companies in India with an in-house counsellor who helps women cope with stress and generally maintain a good work/life balance.”

To have a better equation between personal and professional life, Sanyogita Pendharka, PKM Practice Head, DesignTech Systems, suggests that women should avoid taking work back home. “Being a working professional for more than 13 years I have always managed to keep my personal and professional life separate. I never take my work home.”

(Arpana can be contacted at arpana.s@ians.in)

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