In our most recent webinar, we were joined by Aparna Shekar, Hema M Srinivas, and Sanjay Devudu, who discussed the new era of work as experienced by women. With work from home being the new norm, the demands of work and family have significantly risen, making work-life balance a more challenging aspect for women.
Aparna Shekar and Hema N Srinivas are the authors of the book “Unspoken Heroines” which compiled real-life stories of women who are extraordinary. Being leadership trainers themselves, they shared a mutual goal of authoring a book on women. The authors have personally interviewed each person to craft and present their inspiring stories to the broader section of people around the world.
The hour-long session was moderated by Sanjay Devudu, Co-Founder of Heritage People Practices. Below are the summary and essential takeaways from the webinar.
When discussing women’s second career, Hema said that there are two perspectives here, one being women themselves and the other is their environment. Due to external factors, women need to compromise on specific aspects such as work hours and job roles. She added that women should have a healthy mindset in whatever industry they are in and take up tasks to break from their comfort zone. From the organization’s environment perspective, she says that companies should come forward and set up daycare for employees’ children. Likewise, they can be free of their thoughts and can focus on their performance and productivity. Companies should invest in essential technological tools in specific departments rather than pinching the costs to facilitate work from home to women.
Organizations now accept the new normal wherein women join the virtual sessions with their kids, said Aparna. A large section of SMEs is looking to recruit and train more women as they are perceived to be more skillful and loyal. Women directors are encouraged to come on board in giving their directions when the organization is planning to expand. She suggests that rather than equating themselves with men, they should equate with their own self. She ends by saying that women are learning and evolving.
When addressing the question of an attendee on managing work and supporting family, Hema mentions that communication and consistency are the keys. Communicating clear expectations helps in being organized and deliver work according to demand. When you repeatedly convey the message to your peers, everyone would get used to planning their dependencies accordingly. She further elaborates that a structured routine should be followed consistently. The household work schedule was different before Covid-19. Replicating and implementing the same now could help in staying consistent.
Aparna added that there is a need to create an environment where everyone is sharing equal responsibilities at home. Kids should be taught this in their early stages to start being accountable for household activities. Sometimes women tend to take up too many tasks in a hustle to please everyone at home. She suggests that women need to step up and voice the turmoil and trauma they are going through to family members. So that others can actively take part in chores, leaving plenty of room to focus on career.
Commenting on work-life balance for women during COVID-19, Sanjay compared the current situation to a contract between family, the individual concerned, and the organization. To facilitate smooth workflow, all the parties should be compromised and be on the same page. Sanjay added that the current scenario is more likely to stay here for some more time, probably a year or so.
Watch the whole video below for better cognizance. Also, do follow us on social media for more updates on upcoming webinars in SME HR Series 2020.