Meet the Sheroes - Sonia Punhani

Published on 25 Feb 2015 . 5 min read

Not many women entrepreneurs have ventured into the space of Corporate Wellness. Corporate wellness is just as important a responsibility for employers as other HR committments. This importance often takes a back seat in today's work culture, 

Let's hear the story of Sonia Punhani and her venture today,

How did the idea of your business come about and what line of work are you in?

Five components of workplace culture that directly affect employees’ health and the health of the organization overall are credibility, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie. The underlying idea is that companies must genuinely care about the wellbeing of their employees.

This is what gave birth to Aspire Wellness. We acknowledged that there is a direct connection between employees wellness and their productivity. We tell the corporates that workplace wellness benefits both employers and its employees and therefore it should be a part of business strategy. We at Aspire Wellness mentor the companies to enhance job satisfaction and employee productivity by increasing their wellness quotient because When people are satisfied with their jobs, they are more productive and tend to be healthier. When employees feel that their workplace environment is negative, they feel stressed. Stress has large impact on employees’ mental and physical health, and in turn, on productivity.

Todays CEO’s have become the CTO’s and they have taken it on them not only to acquire the right but retain the best. Keeping the best not only entails a perspective of quality , capability and ability but the being oneself wrt body , mind and soul. Now to nurture the right body , right mind and right soul ; a company must define a culture where workplace wellness plays a critical role.

What are the greatest challenges you faced while starting up the company or the challenges you face in this field of work?

The biggest challenge in the field of Workplace Wellness is the inability to clearly demonstrate the return on investment in these programmes and that prevents many companies from taking that first step .

Another hurdle is not knowing where to begin from. Making health and wellness an ongoing priority requires taking a step back and understanding the current state. Companies seem to have no time for it and therefore it does not fit into their KRA's .

A challenge that persists in making Workplace Wellness programs is lack of sustained engagement. These programs are launched with a frenzy, but they fizzle out soon because of lack of participation.They become a one off often get shadowed under the aegis of a calendar of activities

What are the top 3 factors that affect the growth of career women in India today?

Here are some of the factors I have observed in my career that have affected women’s career growth:

Most importantly – Education. Only education leads to employability and then employment. There is nothing that can replace good education and a good start is half the job done. Education makes the plinth of success be it a man or a woman. Indian society need to educate their daughters. And women need to take charge of this.

Unlike a man’s career cycle which does not get affected by most developments in his personal life, a woman’s does. For instance marriage. It may mean more travel time, more home responsibilities, basically a new home and family which may sometimes affect her output at work if not her commitment. Similarly, going family way is a big decision a woman takes or is asked to take. Even in the best of household arrangements in India, where a man shares the homemaker’s role a woman’s role as a mother is irreplaceable. This again tends to skew her work-life balance.

Mid-career break – once a woman is ready to leave the child behind at home and join the work-force the organizations are not ready to take her. Most of the times because of the break or sometimes because of the age.

How do you balance your professional and personal commitments?

Life can be very hectic for a working women if you don't have time for your loved ones! Therefore balancing the personal and professional life is vital for success. There is no standard rule for this balancing act because it is very individualistic and different for each one considering the personal and work circumstances. We need to define what this balance means to us. Recognise that your need to work is also driven by a need for achievement apart from the monetary reward. The other driving factor is the need to enjoy what we do . Missing out on achieving the balance will lead to a stressful and depressed life .

Few tips I follow are :

Make best of your time


Make a list of TTD's every morning for both personal and professional commitment

Take an account of your schedule

Let home be just for the loved ones and no work 

Communicate with family

Holidaying with family is a must

What advice would you give aspiring Sheroes?

Network , network, network

Leave your ego at home or behind the door

Be passionate wherever you work

Be informed

Don't complain

Work outside your job description

Try to volunteer as much as you can

Be a team player

It's ok to disagree at times , learn to express it. 

Paroma Sen
Paroma Sen is a professional content and creative writer.

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