A finalist at the Cartier Women’s Award Initiative for 2012 Sairee Chahal, co-founder of Fleximoms, is an ardent workflex advocate and industry influencer
What was the inspiration for Fleximoms? Going by the name, is it only for mothers or for any woman who needs work flexibility?
Inspiration for Fleximoms is really every home and every family of this country, where women limit their ambition, do two jobs or just do not get the professional attention they deserve. Fleximoms is symbolic of the care giving economy – millions of women who take care of their children, run homes, take care of the elderly, move houses, plan weddings and birthdays, be on spousal duties and much more. Many of them take breaks, re-tweak careers, take up less deserving jobs, run home-based businesses and what not! Fleximoms was set up keeping them in mind.
Till date, how many women has Fleximoms helped take a second shot?
Fleximoms is the largest community of women professionals in India. It is the place to go to for women who are returning professionals, making comebacks, transiting careers, re-tweaking careers, rethinking work-life choices and diverse options available to them. Over a 100 thousand women are in touch with Fleximoms directly while the community touches over 200 thousand. Over 5000 women have taken considered, conscious career steps.
Can you tell us about the thought behind the programmes and services offered? How did you visualise it?
The programs are built to help and guide an individual work on the personal-professional roadmap. Women have diverse and dissimilar lives and each has to take decisions that work best for them. Fleximoms facilitates this through various interventions, taking into account each one’s personal and professional needs, including duration of break, level of skill, personal interest and the intensity of approach.
What is the kind of response you generally get from employers and corporates?
Owing to the spread of awareness about the how-tos, which includes formats, policies, doing pilots, and sensitisation, corporates are realising that allowing flexibility to talented and skilled women makes business sense for them. However, given that we are a patriarchal society, gender awkwardness is part of our DNA. We have a long way to go before we find the ideal social solution but technology and a high number of qualified, bright women are a big plus.
Have you seen any change in mindset from the time you started?
Huge. From being considered scammy, cheap internet-based work to being part of business strategy at town halls, we have come a long way. Workflex no longer implies low end, low skill, low value but a strategic way to manage diverse talent. And I can easily say that companies who accept this willfind themselves at an enormous advantage.
What is the way ahead for Fleximoms?
The way ahead is to continue strengthening women in their professional-personal pursuits, adding efficiency, scaling, and experimenting ways and means to find more positive and effective solutions.
This was first published in TimesJobs