Vandhana Of WSquare Shows Us How A Workspace For Women Should Look Like
- IWB Post
- March 21, 2017
According to a recent survey by Associated Chambers of Commerce, 25% of First-Time Mothers in India are quitting their Jobs to raise children.
If we look around, this is a very common scenario. Several women struggle to continue with their career after marriage and some eventually give up on their professional lives due to household pressure. Another challenge emerges when they become mothers. Even though crèches come to a mother’s rescue, taking care of the children is not all the aid a working woman needs.
In order to provide an amiable work environment for women, Vandhana Ramanathan and Jinal Patel opened WSquare, a co-working space exclusively for women in Chennai. In an interview with Indian Women Blog, Vandhana shared her entrepreneurial journey with us.
Indian Women Blog: How do you intend to empower a woman through WSquare?
Vandhana: WSquare provides women with an exclusive workspace to incubate, work without interruptions, network and establish their career back in the corporate sector. We offer facilities in order to remove the mundane chores that women have to complete every day.
Indian Women Blog: What results in the success of women working at WSquare?
Vandhana: Women have helped each other to network and grow their individual businesses or their productivity. There have been many instances where a new entrepreneur interacts with college students and the startup community and provides insights from their personal experience and examples.
Indian Women Blog: How have women friendships bloomed at your workspace?
Vandhana: We have seen women friendships blooming at a more professional level than a personal one through our workspace. Since the interactions are more about maintaining a work-life balance, analyzing hindrances today’s women face in coming back to work, and ways to being an entrepreneur, we have seen women supporting and guiding each other in a very healthy manner.
Indian Women Blog: I know that you are also planning to set up a day care center. How far has your planning reached?
Vandhana: We are in the process of finalizing tie-ups with day care centers that are situated a few blocks away and are in talks with National Day Care Centers for a partnership throughout India.
Indian Women Blog: List down reasons for us as to why new mothers leave their jobs.
Vandhana: Those few reasons on the top of my mind would be:
The guilt that stems from being away from children.
Family responsibility to manage the house and children.
Unable to maintain a work-home balance.
Societal and family pressures to quit job and take care of the children
Believing that productivity will be affected with a new responsibility.
Indian Women Blog: Tell us more about what professions of women come to WSquare?
Vandhana: We have working women from different corporate companies, independent consultants, entrepreneurs, startups in need of space for client meetings and freelancers.
Indian Women Blog: What’s the price for all the reservation categories at WSquare?
Vandhana: At WSquare, a day pass for everyday entry costs Rs.500 per seat. Then we have the facility of shared workspace and reserved workspaces from Rs.2800 for a weekly pass up to Rs.12000 per month for a monthly pass. We are currently running a Flat 50% OFF for the first 20 registrations for any number of months.
Indian Women Blog: Apart from providing a co-working space what other amenities do women get at WSquare?
Vandhana: We are connected with personal counselors, home cooks, fruits & vegetable stores, on-call beauty services and many more other amenities to make work easier for women.
Indian Women Blog: Is there a provision at the workspace for women to help them cope up with the menstrual pain?
Vandhana: We have a personal ME Time room for women that can be used as a Yoga/Fitness Room, beauty services, meditation and a place to de-stress for a while.
Indian Women Blog: Do you have lunch breaks? How do they look?
Vandhana: We have an open balcony for lunch breaks and a garden patio as well. We also have a pantry room inside the premises for gupshup over chai!
Indian Women Blog: Suggest few time management tips for women who want to start fresh.
Vandhana: Schedule time for work and plan your other chores accordingly. It’s important to plan a work for the day and stick to it so that the rest of the week’s activities continue smoothly. Procrastination is the main enemy for any women who is willing to come back to work.
Indian Women Blog: What advice would you give to a woman who decided to give up on her career due to household pressure and children?
Vandhana: We would salute women who have given up their dreams due to pressure and children and understand their situation. It takes a lot of courage and strength for women to handle a family single-handedly. But with the umpteen numbers of options available for women in the current stage such as jobs from home, digital marketing, etc., we feel women can still continue their dreams step by step and take care of their home as well.
Indian Women Blog: What entrepreneurial challenges are you facing at the moment?
Vandhana: Currently, the main challenge we are facing is making women understand the concept and the motive behind our initiative. We are also trying to collect a database of women who have quit their jobs for over 4 to 5 years, to help them get their career back on track after the sabbatical.
Indian Women Blog: One self-boosting conversation you had with your husband when you were starting WSquare?
Vandhana: My husband Ramanathan has been a pillar of support during all my decisions. The most self-boosting conversation we had was when he said, “Help women chase their dreams like you did, be a stepping stone to bring them back to work!”
Indian Women Blog: In what way has your mother-in-law become your team member?
Vandhana: My mother and mother-in-law are my most promising team members. Their day starts with calling all their contacts to spread the word about our initiative.
Indian Women Blog: One situation where you and Jinal had to really stand for each other.
Vandhana: Jinal and I run a digital marketing agency called ‘Lets SOS’ for the past two years and we conceived WSquare while we were on one of our business trips. The responsibility of owning two companies has its own price! But Jinal and I have been constantly supporting each other to ensure there is no compromise in the quality and deliverables of both the companies. With two children and an extended family, I have to often prioritize between work and family, and Jinal has been the pillar of support by coordinating meetings, attending workshops and handling the team efficiently.