Riding high

Amrita Prasad
Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Shruti Sahastrabuddhe, one of the first female delivery executives of Swiggy in Pune, talks about taking up the job and the challenges she faces, among other things.

There are a few professions that have been typically associated with men. But today, women have been successfully breaking barriers in almost every field with their determination and hard work. 

Of late, an increasing number of women have been entering the food delivery business. So don’t be surprised if one of these days the pop-up on your screen for your next Swiggy order says, ‘Shruti is on her way to pick up your tasty food’. Shruti Sahastrabuddhe, who operates in the Sinhagad Road area, Pune, as a Swiggy delivery executive, is a familiar face and is very efficient at her work. During her training at Swiggy, she was the only woman delivery executive amongst 50 other male executives. Here’s chatting her up: 

When and how did you decide to join Swiggy?
Joining Swiggy meant learning something new and challenging, that was the biggest drive. I have always been passionate about riding and being a Swiggy delivery executive gave me an opportunity to do that, while delivering food to people and making them happy! 
Tell us about your training programme.
The training programme was focussed on developing personality, behaviour and communication skills. It helped me understand the best ways to interact with restaurants and consumers. There is also an onboarding process, in which Swiggy shared the nature of the job, the benefits they offer, trained us on how to use the delivery partner app and gave us various scenario-based cases. This was followed by an on-ground training via mock orders. 
What are some of the challenges that you face as a woman delivery executive and how do you overcome them?
My experience over the last four months has been very positive. Most often, customers are surprised to see a woman delivery executive, but they also congratulate me when they see me on the job. Recently, an elderly lady offered to share with me her Idli and Vada breakfast, as I had to deliver her a parcel early in the morning. I had also been invited by a customer to join birthday celebrations when I delivered a cake for the party. The restaurant fraternity, customers and fellow delivery executives are extremely helpful and provide enough support. Most people are happy to see me at their doorstep — it’s the highlight of my job. 

Did you already know how to ride a bike, one of the basic requirements of this job?
Yes, I have always been passionate about riding, even in my previous job of providing tiffin boxes to office goers during lunch time, I would rely hugely on my bike to take me to my destinations quickly. 

How does Swiggy ensure that women have a friendly and safe working environment?
I can login any time according to my convenience. My typical working hours start from 8 or 9 am and go on till 6 pm. Swiggy encourages women executives to log off by 6 pm. It also provides infrastructure such as separate toilet facilities for women. We also have ‘safe zones’ for us to operate in, which makes the work environment more women friendly. Swiggy has a dedicated helpline and women in managerial roles for any concerns I might have.

How is your experience of working with other female delivery executives?
Swiggy has 10 women delivery executives in Pune. We also have women managers whom we can approach for any help or guidance. The other female delivery executives are also encouraging, helpful and we are constantly exploring new by-lanes of the city and new restaurants while delivering food. 
How has life changed after taking up this profession — economically and socially? Has this made you more confident?
Since the time I have joined Swiggy, I’m assured of receiving my salary consistently along with other benefits and incentives that I did not get in my previous job. This is very useful as I am the sole earning member in my family. I have a 75-year-old mother and a 15-year-old daughter who is currently appearing for her 10th Boards. I also have the freedom to log in anytime — the flexibility helps when my family needs my support. I tend to finish my work before 6 pm, so it allows me to spend time with my mother and daughter. Overall, I no longer have to worry about unexpected costs like medical bills, tuition/ school fees. I now have enough confidence to run my home and make some savings too. 
During festivals like Diwali, Christmas and New Year’s, there will be a phenomenal rise in food orders. Are you ready to take up this challenge?
Yes, festivals and weekends see a lot of orders on Swiggy. Thankfully, the work is shared equally by our executives, so we don’t feel the pressure. I am proud to be a part of one of the largest delivery fleet in the country. 

What is your advice to other women who are reluctant to take up this profession?  
It has been four months at Swiggy and I am enjoying my work here. I have spoken to a few friends and have been encouraging them to take up this job. I am slowly seeing more and more women joining Swiggy’s delivery fleet. The working hours are good, and paycheque is also good. The love and reception we receive from consumers sometimes is priceless. Gone are the days when people would shift to bigger cities to look for job opportunities. Players like Swiggy which are going to big and small cities are creating opportunities for all.  

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