International Women’s Day is no longer a new topic today. It is celebrated across the World in order to recognize and appreciate the contributions and achievements of the women in various fields. Starting from being Home-maker to Management Committee members to Working Professionals, they truly define the spirit of today’s women. Today, we decided to talk to three such women about their journey in ApnaComplex and how they are leading their lives with multiple roles and responsibilities.
These women are super confident and self-motivated either at home or at the workplace. Mrs. Prema Robert, Head of Human Resource at ApnaComplex quoted that “Confidence comes from the kind of responsibilities that I get it, more the responsibility that is given to me, the more I feel confident and that makes me explore more, learn more and motivates me to give my best.” Mrs. Arundhati Sen Pradhan, Head of Strategic Partnerships at ApnaComplex states “Motivation comes from the team that I work with, the people that I work with, gives me the motivation to do best in what I do”.
They mentioned that it has been a great journey so far and it is fun working at ApnaComplex. It is quite an experience for anyone to manage multiple roles. Ms. Monika Mitruka, Software Developer at ApnaComplex finds the experience ‘’very challenging and satisfactory.” They also mentioned that the key to confidence is knowledge & learning. These women feel privileged being women as they feel that they have the ability to handle both work and family life.
At ApnaComplex, they all have built stronger social connections amongst themselves. They advised that everyone has her own way of doing things and everyone should have belief in themselves first. Mrs. Arundhati concluded as “It is a very fun life, live to the fullest.” At ApnaComplex, people are full of enthusiasm, confidence and most importantly motivated to face all the odds. Moreover, accomplishing these odds has always been a challenging situation for these women.
Raj Sekhar Kommu – Co-founder and CEO of ApnaComplex says “We are pleased to celebrate International Women’s Day with all the amazing superwomen at ApnaComplex. International Women’s Day is celebrated globally to highlight and honor the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and to call for gender equality. At ApnaComplex, we firmly believe in gender equality and are forever grateful to every female employee who is an integral part of ApnaComplex.”
Have you ever thought about how you should place different objects at home as per Vastu? Do you know the direction, colour, and material of the cash locker and almirah for wealth and prosperity? Yes, it is very important to know the placement, colour, and material before placing any object or item. Here are some Guidelines for placing an Almirah (wardrobe) or Cash Locker that you must apply now:
Do not use almirah made of stones or marbles. Always prefer wood or iron almirah in the bedroom.
Almirah should be placed in Southwest direction so that it opens in North or East.
Almirah should be in some subtle colours like cream or light colour shades.
Make sure not to have any mirror on the Southwest almirah.
Placement of Almirah has different impacts for different rooms and should be placed as per Vastu guidelines.
For Bedroom Almirah-
Place bedroom cabinet or almirah in Northeast or Southwest corner.
Mirrors on almirah must be avoided especially if this almirah is placed in your bedroom.
If there is a mirror on the bedroom almirah, make sure it is not facing the bed.
Avoid dark coloured wardrobe or almirah in the bedroom. Use light-coloured almirah.
For the bedroom, the almirah or wardrobe should open in east or south direction.
For Cash Almirah-
Make sure the cash almirah or locker is comprised of a single door.
The placement of the cash almirah or locker should be such that it is facing the North. Since North is the direction of Kuber, so it is believed that Lord Kuber refills the cash.
Do not place the cash almirah in Northeast, more expenses will be there and ultimately loss of cash.
Conclusion- There is no substitute for hard work, but if you follow these guidelines it helps to balance the energies in the surroundings and attract more positivity to your home.
Domestic help/maids have now become a necessity for almost all households in India. Presently, with the average citizen working in the 9-5 shift or more, basic household chores need to be taken care of. It becomes essential that you hire the right person for all these activities that affect your day-to-day lives.
Some of the cities such as Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad have several high-rise apartments with 700+ people residing in the same. The amount of domestic help available in such apartments should also be abundant? But this is not the case and the simple rule of economics that demand generates supply fails here. Finding domestic help is not easy irrespective of where you stay or how much you can pay. Sooner or later you do go through the pain of finding the right domestic help and retaining the same. Essentially, the story remains the same whether you reside in a big apartment or small: demands by the domestic staff for salary hikes are too frequent and largely unaffordable.
How can you tackle this problem?
Tips to standardise domestic help rates:
Prepare a rate card for all the household activities and ask residents to pay only that much.
Every maid needs to carry a No-objection-certificate from her previous employer so that the prospective employer ensures she/he is not switching jobs for money.
Residents are requested not to deviate from the rate card.
Any domestic help asking for more than the agreed rates are penalized.
Pitfalls of standardised rates:
The question that arises from the above pointers is that how easy is it to apply these rules to housing societies. A lot of residents were happy with the above-mentioned resolutions, however, some disagreed to the resolutions claiming that they were quite capitalist in nature and if doctors/engineers can demand their price, why can’t the domestic help do the same? The whole demand and supply economics lies in the scenario that if you can afford a maid for Rs. 8,000 and can very well afford it, it doesn’t matter to you if others in the apartment are paying Rs. 3,000. The others sooner or later will have to succumb to the so-called “market rate” pressure and increase the salary bars.
The resolutions mentioned above can only work if people living in an apartment work as a team with their associations and come to a common resolution wherein neither the domestic help is exploited nor are the employers blackmailed for sudden pay hikes.
Until then people with maids/drivers working with you for more than a year, good luck in maintaining them. For people searching for a good domestic help, best of luck for your quest to find the right domestic help!
Ask anyone in the managing committee of an apartment complex or a residential layout, and most of them will confess that it’s the most thankless job one can think of. What makes the job a challenge is the brickbats that follow even after having worked in the best interest of all. “You can never please everyone” is a truism that every apartment managing committee member learns early enough in their tenure!
But all’s not lost! If you’re a managing committee member, we are glad to reveal that there is a way you can actually reduce your work and even win some praise for the efforts you put in.
To begin, we’ll have to first understand where most managing committees stumble in getting along with the members/residents of the apartment complex or layout. Broadly, the issues that residents have with their managing committees can be classified under the following heads:
We are sure you’ll agree that almost 90% of the criticism that members of owners association have against their managing committees fall under these three heads. When it comes to communication, the most common grouse is that the managing committee didn’t communicate early enough or clearly enough. When it comes to the complaint resolution, there are always comments saying that no complaint gets attended in time. The same issues keep recurring. As for expenses, the lesser said the better. Members will always claim that they do not know where the money is being spent or that the expenses are too high.
Now, if an association can “manage” to get these three aspects of their functioning in control then you could have a satisfied society.
So how do we go about doing it?
The answer is simple: use tools that help your association become efficient and thus more effective! At ApnaComplex we offer online technology solutions that help Managing Committees streamline their workflow and create better synergies with residents of the apartment. The Single Directory View of Members allows managing committee to view details of each owner and tenant in the apartment complex or layout. The powerful Notification features that we have ensures that you can use the power of SMS and emails to communicate with every member of your society – or broadcast to only specific segments of your members – like residents and tenants.
The online Complaint Box feature of ApnaComplex registers, tracks, and closes complaints from all apartment members in a central place. Complaints shall be filed under various categories and tracked till closure. Residents can know the status of a complaint anytime and also how many complaints are attended to by the maintenance staff. Sure, that makes the residents happier.
Apart from these, ApnaComplex offers rich features to support your billing and expenses. The Maintenance Charge Tracking feature allows the Treasurer to raise invoices for various charges and tracks payments made against them. To make the life of a Treasurer even simpler, the Income Tracking feature captures the details of income from maintenance collection and other revenue heads. The Instant Receipts Issuance feature not only enables the speedy creation of receipts but also enables members to view/download the receipts at any time. In addition, the Expense Tracking feature tracks expenses incurred under various heads and the Publish Accounts Statement publishes statements at the push of a button to all members and on to the notice board. Now, that’s total transparency.
Finally, the Metered Billing feature ensures that invoices are generated for various metered utilities such as a piped gas or water meter against each house and their respective payments are tracked within ApnaComplex!
If that covers 90% of all issues, we are glad to inform you that we haven’t missed out on the remaining 10% either. ApnaComplex has an Online Notice Board that ensures everyone can post their needs to all members. Online Notice Board can be used by the Managing Committee to ensure meetings and other events are known to everyone. To ensure that only authorized personnel can access the Management Committee features, ApnaComplex has an effective Role-Based access control system. So while ApnaComplex can be used by all, the right to information and features is rigidly controlled.
With gated societies becoming the new norm for community living, security at the gates is of utmost importance. While security cameras and pen-and-paper visitor logs have always been a go-to solution, they often fall short in tracking the traffic in and out of the gate.
Why ApnaComplex Gatekeeper?
Gatekeeper by ApnaComplex is a proven technological solution to the security needs in your Apartment Complex. Not only is it convenient, but it also provides the best value-for-money. Gatekeeper is part of the integrated ApnaComplex mobile App that also provides other apartment management solutions. It is a complete package for all your apartment management needs.
Gatekeeper tackles several security concerns that may arise in a gated community. A simple mobile application will allow you to track visitors, delivery agents, domestic staff and even your vehicle. Gatekeeper provides not just app-based security but is also easy to integrate with hardware installations like RFID or Biometric devices. We also have a unique feature that provides real-time notification when your child’s school bus is at the gate!
What is more, at ApnaComplex, we take Data Privacy very seriously. Your information is saved on our database with several layers of security. Access to this data is unavailable to anybody without your express permission.
How to join ApnaComplex Gatekeeper?
You can join ApnaComplex in three easy steps:
1) Create an online portal. If you are a member of the management committee, all you have to do is fill out the form. We have a step-by-step guide to get you through the verification process.
2) Provide details Log in and enter the details about your complex like the number of blocks, apartments and residents. Gatekeeper is now at your service! We also provide a free demo on demand to familiarize you with the app.
3) Download the app Download the Gatekeeper app for your security staff and start using it. Gatekeeper is also available in regional languages like Marathi, Hindi and Tamil. Language is no longer a problem!
It is that simple! Security for you and your family made hassle-free. You can now manage your entire apartment complex with just a smartphone! ApnaComplex is available on both Android and IOS.
Apartment management is becoming one of the most challenging jobs, with growing sizes of apartment complexes in India. With most of the members offering a voluntary service to their apartment residents as a management committee member, the personal life of an individual gets quite affected in dealing with apartment maintenance issues.
At times it becomes difficult for new management committee members to understand which areas to concentrate on to offer their residents a superior experience of staying in the apartment. Five quick tips for management committee members for better apartment management are:
Automate Society Billing & Accounting – Financial matter often becomes a bone of contention between committee members. Accounting and book keeping, income and expense tracking, penalty calculation should be streamlined as soon as possible. Try to reduce your reconciliation efforts and try to 100% automate your billing and collection effort. The best option is to employ a software that incorporates tools such as Income Tracking, Penalty Calculation, Maintenance Charges Payment Reminders, Metered Utilities and Payment Gateway offering significant effort reduction without disturbing your current accounting practices and to help you in better apartment management.
Resolve Resident Complaints Efficiently – Resident complaint management is one of the toughest areas one has to deal with as a management committee member. Ensure you set up a system as soon as possible for central tracking of resident complaints, suggestions and requests. The whole process of residents filing a complaint and committee members resolving and closing the issue needs to be automated. Use a software that will help you track the complaints at various stages with an auto escalation mechanism to escalate unresolved complaints. This will increase the resident satisfaction and enhance their faith in the management committee.
Communicate effectively with your Community – Effective communication with your community is very important. Use community collaboration tools to post notices and reach out to everyone, securely share photos of community events within the society, have healthy discussion on any topic via discussion forums, send important messages/emails to other committee members or residents. Create and publish articles like Policy on Pets, Waste Management Guidelines, Diwali Celebration Tips, and Monthly Newsletter for residents – the list is just endless. For better apartment management, it will be an intelligent move to use a software that offers the facility to use all these communication tools at one go and create a strong communication link with your community.
Manage Apartment Facilities & Staff Smartly – Residents often complaint about how the apartment facilities are not maintained well by maintenance staff etc. Save yourself from the pain of manually overlooking asset tracking, inventory management, parking lot management, maintenance staff and service staff management. Offer superior experience to residents by empowering them to book an apartment facility online! Maintain a central record of visitors visiting your apartment for security purposes. Managing and keeping a check on all the above mentioned areas is a herculean task. What you need is an apartment management software that does it all for you and help you manage all apartment facilities smartly.
Proficiently manage society data – Maintain directory of owners, residents and flats in your apartment in a systematic manner for reaching out to them easily. Maintain list of office bearers and committee members for communicating with them in an effective manner. Centralize all your society data in one place for your own convenience. Create an online presence for your complex and provide details such as amenities available, directions, location of the complex to visitors or interested parties outside the complex.
It’s time for you to move away from countless number of confusing spreadsheets and remember to become a management committee member you don’t need to learn about accounting and facility management anymore. A good apartment management software can do all that for you. What you need to focus on is creating an inclusive culture so that residents collaborate with you to manage your apartment in a better manner.
Check cleanliness of the corridors daily, Verify diesel levels once in three days, Send RO Water for testing once every week, Take count of fire equipment assets every month – these are few of hunderds of standard procedures that every society has to keep doing for ever!
In ApnaComplex, you now have an mechanism to automate all these through the Enhanced Action Item Tracker – one of the tools offered under our Smart Facility Management Toolset. The committee members can setup all can such procedures in the system with required frequency and all the estate manager has to do is to keep updating and closing these tasks. Email Reminders will be sent on all action items that are due every day so that no task is left unattended.
Following are enhancements that are released as a part of the face lift to the Action Item Tracker:
Create Recurring Action Items
Admins can now create repeating action items for a given date range. Action Items can created with daily, weekly or monthly frequencies.
Attach Recurring Action Items to Assets
The new recurring action items can be attached to Assets so that the maintenance schedules can be recorded easily. This shall replace the already existing ability of attaching maintenance schedules.
Bulk Update Action Items
Now, users can selected multiple action items and re-assign them to another staff/member, update a new expected closure date or even close/cancel action items. Mighty useful when a new committee joins or when an estate manager changes – simply select all and reassign!
Quick View Links
You can now easily see Action Items that are due today, that are due this week with the new filters offered – makes it easy to focus on whats needed.
Want to manage your apartment easily and financials transparently in your Housing Society? – Get on to ApnaComplex – Today!
This is a guest post from Ms. Savita Hiremath, Green Committee Member of Sobha Azalea & Althea, an apartment complex in Yelahanka, Bangalore. Sobha Azalea & Althea owners association have been using ApnaComplex for last 1.5+ years to manage thier society’s operations and finances.
At Sobha Althea & Azalea, we are a motley group of women coming from various backgrounds. We were thinking of putting a waste management system in place even before the BBMP legislation came into force. But for some reasons, it didn’t take off.
The legislation was just the kind of nudge we needed to get going and start thinking about HOWs and WHYs.
A string of meetings helped us frame certain guidelines for our own residential community while keeping in mind the larger picture: A waste-free zone.
1. Get the Green Committee members together: This is the first step. If the GC members are not like-minded and united, then the community won’t give a hoot to your rules. In many cases, committees are either inactive or suffer from absenteeism. A couple of get-togethers can kick off unprecedented bonhomie and help focus on work. If each one gets complimented for the sincere work they do, team work becomes a pleasure and truly rewarding.
2. GC members must remain up-to-date with the developments. Be always a step ahead of others to reinforce your authority on the subject you are trying to handle. Power without authority on the subject cuts no ice.
3. Put necessary infrastructure in place. Labeled bins for storage and others for collection. Make sure housekeepers have safety equipment like gloves and masks. Tie up with agents for dry waste recycling. If you are going for community composting of wet waste, make sure the entire workforce is trained along with one or two GC members.
4. Prepare a Dos & Don’ts file on waste segregation before informing the community that the exercise will begin on a certain date. Let this be as comprehensive as it gets. Send the printed note to all the flats and secure their signatures to make sure that nobody feigns ignorance later. Put up notices on ApnaComplex, community’s Facebook page and spread the message through all other active email groups.
5. Train the Housekeepers first and keep the Facility Manager in the loop (training methodology given below).
Sobha Althea and Azalea Residents working towards the goal of being a Waste Free Zone
6. Notices & reminders: Put up notices wherever possible. Create an atmosphere in community areas with colourful posters. Use ApnaComplex, Facebook, personal ids for spreading info on upcoming training sessions/meeting and also Dos & Don’ts. Create a sense of urgency so that people are pressured to attend the meetings. Do not reveal when the next session will be held. Warn of serious action if people fail to comply.
7. Invite residents to take part in the cause. Call these meetings “interactive sessions”, not “trainings”, as some residents may already know a lot about segregation and their knowledge/intelligence should not be underestimated. If the turnout isn’t good, persist and call for another session.
8. Build a relationship with every one Given the demographic makeup of Bangalore’s population, it’s a given that people come here from various places/speak various languages. In our complex, a good chunk of people flit in and out of India often and there’s a chance that they may miss out on the local socio-political developments. There are certain subtle contextual nuances that non-Kannadigas may not get. We all know how the mainstream English newspapers and TV channels focus more on news that caters to English-speaking people, quotes are gathered from those who can speak English. However, when it comes to dealing with issues like waste segregation which needs co-ordination with your maids and cooks (most of them speak local languages) day in and day out, developing a CONNECTION with them is a step taken in the right direction.
9. But first, build a backgrounder. In the meetings, brief the people on how it all began and where we are headed. Tell them about how hellish life got for people in Mylappanahalli, Mavallipura and Mandur landfills. Most people may not know how BBMP dealt with tonnes of garbage all this while. Be prepared for such ‘revelations’. Once the backgrounder is laid bare, get down to specifics.
10. Be firm, yet flexible. To make anything work, there WILL BE and HAVE TO BE certain negotiables and non-negotiables.
In our case, NON-NEGOTIABLES included the following:
a. Everyone has to follow the BBMP law. No exceptions. No giving room to cynicism that no such law has ever worked and is bound to fail this time, too. Just say that we will go ahead even if the entire Bangalore fails to execute. Certain decisions (that affect the entire community) cannot be left to individual choices.
b. No using plastic bags for lining the kitchen and dry waste bins. No question of giving leeway to anyone just because they are working men/women. Tell the residents not to tie the bags but empty their bins directly into the large mobile bins pushed by the housekeepers. This way, it’s easy to figure out if there’s any mixed waste and pinpoint the errors right on the spot. Many of our residents initially found this practice pretty cumbersome and “stinky”. We stuck to our guns and said that newspaper sheets lining will not leave solid leftovers/residue sticking to the bin and will be easy to wash. So far, so good!
c. No saying ‘no’ to rinsing milk packets/food containers. Tell them that the dry waste agent comes only once in a fortnight and storing badly segregated waste in the basement means stench and of course, inviting rodents, houseflies, mosquitoes, etc.
d. They must send ALL their maids/cooks/drivers for training. This became the highlight of our discussions because we had to explain how language barriers between the owners and maids/cooks can be exploited by either of them to commit errors. At the same time, tell the residents that it makes their job easier because the housemaids/cooks will sense how serious everyone is.
NEGOTIABLES: a. It’s left to the residents if they want to line the kitchen bin with newspapers sheets or not. You can recommend a certain type of bin, but if they already have inbuilt modular bins, let them decide how they want to store and dispose of wet waste.
b. Place bins near the lift entrance so that working men/women can dump the wet waste while they leave for work early in the morning. But do make sure that they don’t use plastic bags for this purpose. Luckily, our residents have found newspaper sheet lining pretty effective!
c. If some residents want to train their own in-house maids/cooks, leave it to their discretion. But, if they make mistakes, make sure that you emphasize the need for training session and tell them that they must attend the next session.
11. Launch door-to-door campaigns immediately. This will reinforce the seriousness of the GC’s commitment to going green. Secondly, it gives a chance to know your neighbours better. And most importantly, their reaction to the whole thing will, in most cases, lets you figure out who has taken it seriously and who is likely to fall out of line.
12. Involve Everyone Invite more volunteers and appoint block co-ordinators. If necessary, floor co-ordinators, too.
13. Incentivising Housekeeping Staff
We have realized that selling dry waste fetches a decent amount of money. A part of it can be used to incentivise the housekeepers who deal with stink and dirt every day. Tell them it will all get mutually beneficial if the collective aim is achieved.
14. Punitive Measures
Enforce punitive measures, if necessary. However, remember that the ultimate aim is NOT to punish people, but to achieve 100% compliance. For that, be ready for any number of trainings/monthly sessions as you move on.
Attendance is mandatory. Those who attend get their identity cards signed by GC members on the spot. If residents remain cold to this rule, tell them this will help them in more than one way:
a. Once they attend the training, domestic helps cannot say they can’t do segregation.
b. They cannot exploit the language barrier (if any) to go lax.
c. If there is no language barrier, the seriousness with which the GC members proceed, fellow workers’ enthusiasm, or at least, willingness to participate in the cause, will put pressure on the rest.
Explain the background. If you just say “put wet waste here and dry waste there”, they don’t see the value behind the exercise. You have to explain WHY it has to be done and WHAT will happen if we don’t follow the rules.
It’s natural for domestic helps and cooks to think that we are stretching this segregation thing a bit too far and adding more burden to their already difficult lives. But if you tell them clearly that they are some other people—pourakarmikas—whose lives are even more difficult, they begin to CONNECT! This has been the case with our electricians, plumbers, security guards, drivers, gardeners, etc.
Explain how we think everything that rots is “stinky”. We have to lay bare our own stupidity in front them and laugh at it and invite them to learn from our mistakes. They will begin to think educated people also make mistakes and are also learning just as they are.
To think that they don’t get the larger picture of environmental health is a bit too condescending. If you get them to talk, you will know life has taught them a good deal. We have found that, if explained in simpler terms, they are able to get scientific details, too.
If they remain impassive/indifferent to rules on rinsing milk/food packets, collecting wet waste directly in a bin without lining, remind them that this is exactly what they are doing in their houses, too.
Make sure that the entire workforce employed by an individual household attends the training. Otherwise, blame game starts in no time. We have experienced this.
In a few cases, we saw some thinking residents sitting along with their maids in the training sessions. This in itself made the workforce realize how serious we all were and how we wanted the rest to be involved to make it a success. Nothing can work better than this! If we are serious, we don’t see why our maids can’t get serious.
Ultimately, nothing much can be achieved if the helps/cooks do not co-operate. Let the residents decide how they want to reward them when they do a good job. Sometimes, just a compliment will go long way in achieving compliance.
Training for the rest of the Workforce
You may wonder why train electricians, plumbers, security guards, drivers, gardeners, etc. But we can’t do without their co-operation. They often dispose of waste after cleaning cars into wrong bins. Electricians dump e-waste just anywhere and so do plumbers. It’s essential that they know the basics of segregation as some of them eat lunch in the parking lots, smoke and drink tea, and throw the leftovers, beedis/cigarette butts and plastic tea cups just anywhere in the car parking areas. Paan/gutka stains and spitting into sand buckets are also issues that need immediate action. In short, anybody who enters the complex should know the rules in place.
Follow the same method of explaining the backgrounder before talking about types of waste. Help them connect with your message. Be warm and receptive. Be ready to entertain their views and complaints. Talk beyond segregation and show them that you care for their welfare in general. Try to SINCERELY look into complaints if they have any. Once trust is established, it’s becomes relatively easier to enforce rules.
As a closing remark – Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You’d rather lose some battles on the way when you know you are out to win the war. Patience is of paramount importance!
About the Author
Savita is a Bangalore-based a journalist since 1995 and consults several NGOs and a human rights group to research and document socio-political issues. She has earlier worked with Deccan Herald, The Times of India, and The New Indian Express, and headed a journalism institute for an year. She loves to write on women’s issues, HIV/AIDS, caste and religion, rural poverty, environmental issues, and tennis. You can read more about her on her blog at www.savitahiremath.com. Please leave a comment below if you want to get in touch with her.
Want to manage your apartment easily and financials transparently in your Housing Society? – Get on to ApnaComplex – Today!
In ApnaComplex, you are aware that every society can have unlimited number of mailing lists or sub-groups as a part of the Community Collaboration Tools. All along you were able to add owners or residents of the society to these sub-groups. We now have enhanced this feature so that you can add Staff to any of the groups!
This key enhancement opens up lots of new possibilities – such as ability to create a staff only mailing list, ability to include your estate manager on a cultural event discussions, or the accountant on NEFT notifications!
The staff can initiate or respond to the discussions over email and the same gets recorded in the portal similar to what happens when a owner/resident posts.
Bring your residents and staff together, with ApnaComplex!
Want to improve community life in your Society? – Get on to ApnaComplex – Today!