July 2008

Changing workspaces: India

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Certain major initiatives including telecommuting have been undertaken by several companies to attract more women to the workforce, and also ensure higher retention rates among working women

It's life as usual for Amanjot Romley, a Bangalore-based Management Consultant with IBM India. She wakes up, finishes her morning chores and gets to work. But there's a difference here. Amanjot works from home. When she was two months into her pregnancy, Amanjot opted for IBM's work-life flexibility option. But that doesn't mean that her responsibilities are any less compared to her other colleagues. “I still work under the same deadlines,” she says.

Amanjot works with a team spread across various cities in India and several of her team mates work from home too. Amanjot quite likes this option. “You can work when you feel like and relax in between. In fact, I'm planning to continue working this way for at least a year after I have my baby,” she says.

This is no ordinary maternity leave. This, in fact, is part of a series of programmes IBM has undertaken in India to help women in the workplace, as part of its larger initiative to encourage diversity. There are various kinds of flexible work schedules on offer. In specific functions, employees are allowed to work out of their homes, meeting their manager and teams once a week in order to chart progress and manage deadlines. Others are allowed to take a leave of absence to take up an education course, or to look after a sick parent. Then, there are some who opt to work half a day at half the remuneration so that they can devote more time at home. The idea is simple: lots of women employees tend to opt out of the workforce due to child bearing and family reasons. There is already a severe war for talent and we don't want to close our minds to any segment of the population.

Work is something you do, not something you travel to

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