About two months ago, I chanced upon Women’s Web and quite liked the easy read its blog and articles offered for an Indian woman multitasking in her numerous incarnations. Then, at some point, I heard about its contest on Twitter that invited ideas on what organisations should do to make their workplaces more flexible. I’m so tuned to posting comments on blogs seeking feedback in areas of my interest that I typed up a couple of suggestions as a comment to the post making the contest announcement. Except that my comment was too large for the character limit for the area, so rather than condensing it, I found it simpler to copy and paste my view to the given email id. Two days ago I heard from Aparna V. Singh, Founder-Editor and the force behind Women’s Web, that my suggestions, along with another individual’s, had won their prize. Aparna’s article on womensweb.in summarises the inputs the initiative collected. I reproduce below my own submission from my email:
Make half-day onsite work models available
How to do it:
Evaluate all roles to see which ones
i. can be offered on a job sharing basis, i.e., the same desk manned by 2 individuals for different times of the day–0900-1300 and 1400-1800
Benefits: Many mature professionals, mothers and mid-career professionals pursuing higher studies would be available to work.
Offer some roles on a telecommute-only work model
How to do it:
i. specify hardware requirements that individuals should arrange themselves to work from home
ii. enable company computer network and software to accept and track work submitted by teleworkers
iii. give output targets and quality specifications to teleworkers on a daily or weekly or monthly basis to earn compensation
Benefits: A wide-ranging talent base would be available to work and companies will save on prime estate.
I come across so many erstwhile professionals among women who’d like to be engaged in an occupation but find 8 to12-hour kind of current work model too disconcerting. Won’t it be a win-win for companies to tap into this talent pool? But please, not just for phone-call based customer service roles. Companies need to break most of their people-based expectations into focused job descriptions that include clear KRAs and KPIs–and not just demand human bodies filling in seats for 8 hours–to make a success of half-day and telecommute as viable employment options.
If you have any more ideas to strengthen 4-hour work models to make them attractive to both senior women professionals and companies, I’d be interested to know them.