Monica Lindstedt, founder of Hemfrid
Four children at home and an ongoing career was an impossible equation for Monica Lindstedt who decided to do something about it.
How did you come up with the idea to start Hemfrid?
-I simply had to solve my own problem. Both my husband and I had careers and at home we had four children. My memory of that time is that I always did at least two things at the same time: cooked and helped children with homework, ironed and watched TV. My employer offered me everything from a company car to subsidized lunch, but what I needed most - help at home - could not be obtained. At the same time, I discovered that I was far from alone, there are many who almost tie themselves in a knot to make life work for them. I decided to tackle the problem and started Hemfrid, which is a simple idea of how more people should be able to do more.
What was the biggest challenge?
-To build a functioning organization and at the same time create a market in a political arena. I stood on the barricades and defended domestic services when the so-called maid debate was at its hottest. Although the need for this type of service was enormous, it took six years before we made a profit.
Why are professional household services important from a societal perspective?
-Because they promote gender equality, public health and integration. The gender equality aspect is about creating opportunities for women to pursue careers on the same terms as men. The home is still the responsibility of women to a greater degree than that of men, and no one can bear to carry double loads for a long time. The public health aspect is about companies reducing the number of people on long-term sick leave when they provide household services as a salary benefit. The integration aspect is about giving foreign-born a ticket to Swedish society. We have many employees who had never worked legally before they started at Hemfrid and many actually make an career within our company.
What are you most proud of about Hemfrid?
-That we have come this far, that we have become a concept and an industry. And of course I'm proud of all the great staff!
Name: Monica Lindstedt
Role at Hemfrid: Founded Hemfrid in 1996, is currently chairman of the board.
Background: Master of Business Administration, has worked as a consultant and been CEO of several companies, mainly in media. Participated in starting the newspaper Metro.
Family: Husband Lennart, four departed children, 6 grandchildren, three dogs, two cats and about 20 horses
Other: Monica has several board assignments alongside Hemfrid. She's Chairman of the Board of Företagarna and a member of SVT, Swedish Unicef and the staffing company Uniflex.