Women In Tech Speak About Challenges and Opportunities At The Workplace

By Raksha Jalan, Research scientist and Urvashi Agarwal, Head Employer Branding, Talent and Diversity at Sony Research India

2nd March 2022

Raksha Jalan, Research scientist and Urvashi Agarwal, Head Employer Branding, Talent and Diversity at Sony Research India

Sony Research India prides itself on having a team of visionary women whose limitless contribution has played an important role in the growth of the organization. Here’s a blog sharing the experiences of our women members and their thoughts about the way forward of working in a flexible working environment.

A. In what ways has the flexible way of working become the way forward?

According to Raksha, due to the looming threats of the Covid-19 pandemic, following in the footsteps of offices worldwide, the IT industry in India has been given a chance to explore ‘Work From Home’ culture.
Before that, if anyone wanted to opt for WFH, they had to face multiple challenges like seeking permission from their work superiors, provide enough justification to the team that it would not affect their hours, and repeatedly reinforce their need to WFH from time to time. In extreme cases, several women were forced to leave their jobs to prioritize taking care of their family and children’s needs.
There have been cases in the industry, where recruiters refuse to hire women for certain senior positions because of the preconceived notion that they may not be able to manage both personal and professional responsibilities. With WFH becoming the new norm, it will remove the biggest hurdle in women’s career growth, CAREER BREAKS.
Working from home has many upsides. There being no time constraint, one can work whenever she is most productive, thereby increasing productivity by working on tasks in “burst-mode”. In addition to this, over the last 1.5 years, it has been observed that this practice has increased creativity, staff retention and attracted talent from all around the world because of the luxury of ‘working from anywhere’.

Urvashi says, “Encouraging women to pursue computer science careers is not easy, but research shows that combatting stereotypes is one approach to increasing women in STEM. So far, it’s been a very positive experience and is a great chance to meet women from various industries and understand challenges and opportunities regardless of where you work.

In a flexible work environment, people are valued more for their output. Besides helping companies reduce overheads of running a full-steam office premise, employees can use the time saved in travel to efficiently accomplish something worthwhile, making it a win-win situation for both parties. Furthermore, the era of gender-specific roles has transcended into one where men share household responsibilities, and women are an equally important part of the corporate workforce. A flexible work environment enables them to devote time to their jobs while maintaining a healthy work-life balance”

According to Urvashi,
The way forward for any flexible working culture should be to enable employees to do their best work regardless of where, when, and how they want to work, depending on their unique work style. The flexible working culture should be built on the principles of trust, communication, collaboration, and building connections, just as in a regular office set-up. This will help people to collaborate effectively and work more productively.

B. What steps is Sony Research India taking to create a more inclusive work environment for the modern Indian woman ?

Raksha pens down her thoughts about the Inclusive environment for women.
She says, “Sony Research India has been always supportive of taking steps towards creating a more inclusive environment for everyone. Modern Indian women face challenges in managing their personal and professional lives. The work culture here is a boon to modern Indian women who face this dilemma. They are very forthcoming towards individual problems, and have a dedicated HR team whom we can talk to about any challenge, and they are always open to resolving it.”

Urvashi believes that ‘Special you and Diverse Sony’ is the guiding philosophy of all the initiatives taken at Sony Research India that aim at facilitating a positive work environment for women. It is part of the DNA, and it trickles down to the leadership and business as a whole.

Flexibility Principles at Sony Research India are formed by making sure working policy is only guideline-based, rather than rule-based, to avoid rigidity from creeping in. ‘No Rule’ and ‘Flexibility Principles’ are core pillars by which managers and employees make decisions about the work culture.
  • Flexi-Hours: Employees are measured based on their productivity level and not the quantity of time taken in completing their tasks. Hence, they are given the freedom to determine, with the concurrence of their managers, the start and the end of their working day. This will also allow employees to juggle between their personal needs and commitment to their roles.
  • Flexible work options drive Sony Research India to meet the diverse needs and these can be initiated by the employee or management and are subject to management approval.
  • Focus on Results: Sony Research India looks at the output instead of when, where and how it is delivered. The company believes that work is something we do and not a place we go. They focus on results, setting goals and measuring performance
To conclude , here are a few words on the significance of a flexible work environment in the life of a woman:

“Flexibility allows women to not be disadvantaged by the motherhood penalty. Flexibility allows women to be viewed as a serious job candidate. Flexibility allows women to climb the corporate ladder. Flexibility allows women to have better work-life balance.”

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