SAKSHI AGGARWAL, Founder of GHAROBAAR discusses the key learnings from the pandemic, exclusively for BNC readers
What kind of challenges did women face during the COVID era – at home and outside?
During the lockdown, everyone faced a lot of difficulties and challenges. Working women had to take care of the household chores, along with managing their professional commitments. For housewives, the quantum of daily chores increased manifold since their spouse and kids would be at home the whole day. Moreover, a number of women didn’t have any house helps that time because of travel restrictions, and that only added to the work pressure. Women who lived in a joint family had to look after their in-laws as well. However, it feels so good to see that women have come out strong in these tough times and have handled all the responsibilities by making it all look so easy.
How tough was the multi-tasking – for housewives and career women?
It was tough for both housewives and career women during the lockdown. Housewives were used to staying at home and their husbands and children used to go out as well. But in the lockdown they had to look after their husband and children most of the time. It also became difficult to find house helps at that time and they had to do everything by themselves. Women who were working faced the same challenges. They had to do the household work, look after children and professional work at the same time. Multi-tasking was definitely challenging, but it helped when they had support from their spouses and other family members.
What are the key learnings of the COVID crisis?
COVID has definitely taught us a lot. First, we must always be prepared for the worst. Many people got stuck at places away from their home and family. Many lost their jobs, and many others didn’t have enough resources to survive. Thus, we need to ensure that we save well, and be mentally strong to face the worst situations.
Secondly, a big learning from COVID is that our health comes first. We should always follow a healthy lifestyle, with healthy food, workout and build a strong immune system.
Did you get cooperation and teamwork?
Yes, lockdown was not such a difficult time for me, because my husband and I shared responsibilities equally. When one of us was working, the other one would take care of the kids or handle the household chores. Even the kids would help sometimes, like cleaning their own room, doing their bed or helping in moving small things. This way things worked out at the time when we couldn’t get any help from outside.
Did you think of changing homes to larger places to manage work from home?
Fortunately, we didn’t have to think of moving to a larger place, and we adjusted to the available space itself. However, we did need some extra furniture in the house like study tables, chairs etc.
How did you manage your children and what were the challenges?
I have 2 beautiful girls, and it was definitely a task to keep them involved and busy at home all day. Screen time had to be reduced for the kids, since their classes were also online. However, my husband and I divided responsibilities, and even though it was tough at times, we enjoyed the extra time that we got with our kids. Moreover, we taught our kids to be more independent, so that they could learn to do their own little things like cleaning up, making their beds, folding their clothes etc.
Now that we are bouncing back, how do you visualize the new norm?
In the new norm, we can see two types of work lifestyles. One is the traditional in-office way and the other is the hybrid model with a mix of office and work from home. As far as I can see, work from home is now seen as a convenient way of working because it saves travel time for employees and saves admin cost for companies. However, in my opinion, work from home should be followed/allowed only if the situation demands, and not as a norm. When you work in the office, your productivity improves. Sitting with team members, conducting brainstorming sessions, and just bonding with each other can bring out a lot of new ideas which usually doesn’t happen when people work from home.
Has technology benefited – in staying connected?
Of course, without technology most of the people would have become jobless in the lockdown. Technology is the reason people could continue working, and stay connected with each other. Similarly, people staying away from their family could stay connected with each other, and could survive the distance for such a long time.
Did you encounter cyber security issues? Hacking? Data loss?
No. It has not been a long time since our company started. So, we didn’t face any cyber security issues.
Gharobaar is a Delhi-based e-commerce startup founded by banker-turned-entrepreneur Sakshi Aggarwal and co-founded by Aditya Gupta. During the pandemic, Sakshi and Aditya came across inspiring journeys of many homepreneurs who chose to follow their passion and demonstrate grit in times of adversity and be the proud breadwinners for their families. However, they also observed the absence of a single platform that lists such products for sale. Gharobaar, combining ‘ghar’ and ‘karobaar’, was thus born with a clear vision to provide an exclusive digital platform to such home-based businesses and help them reach out to a wider buyer community online.