Q&A: Working from home with carolyn chin-parry

Carolyn Chin-Parry, Managing Director and Digital Accelerator Leader 
PwC Singapore

1. How has the coronavirus affected your day-to-day work?

I used to spend most of my workdays at our PwC office, visiting clients and on stage at conferences. In light of Covid-19, I have been working from home with plenty of virtual meetings and also speaking at online events. In more recent times, this has also involved supporting two young children during the school and kindergarten shut down period in Singapore. I am indeed very grateful to work for PwC where employees are equipped with the right tools which allow us to work effectively from home. For us, flexi-work has always been available for employees even before Covid-19, which makes the transition from office to working from home a lot easier.

2. What do you do for fun when you take a break from working at home? 

This may involve going for an outdoor walk, indoor exercise or playing board games with the kids. Recently, my husband and I deliberately bought our kids some bicycles to build confidence in their new cycling skills and to ensure as a family we get some outdoor exercise, whilst practicing social distancing. 

3. Do you have a top tip to share on working remotely?

Plan your day ahead and include something that you enjoy. Managing work and kids is not easy, especially when all are under one roof 24/7, so don’t stress out by aiming for perfection in all fronts at once. It is important to be kind to everyone including yourself during this period.  

4. What is your favourite snack when working from home? 

Fruits and occasionally I may treat myself to ice cream, nougat or chocolates! 

5. What advice would you give those starting in a new company during Covid-19 – in terms of interaction, building relationships and just plugging in? 

 I believe that every challenge brings about new opportunities, so if you’re crafting a new business, it’ll be worthwhile to explore what new opportunities Covid-19 presents that traditional players may not have explored before. Relationships are highly important in Asia Pacific and I have always believed in investing in genuine long-term relationships. While it is not possible to meet face-to-face for the moment, I think one can connect through virtual meetings, attending webinars, online events and simply picking up the phone for a chat. For clients and business partners who normally have unforgiving travel schedules, this is the best time to catch them!

6. What advice would you give job seekers in light of Covid-19?   

I really feel for those seeking jobs at the moment. My humble suggestion to them is to virtually connect with as many headhunters, recruitment firms and companies. The key is to keep in touch regardless of job status. It is an exceptionally challenging market right now, so do not be afraid or feel shy to reach out to your networks to help you. While we are experiencing unprecedented times, there has never been a recession that has lasted forever. I really understand how job seekers are feeling, having experienced the Asian Financial Crisis and the Dot.Com crash. Please do not give up, persist with making as many connections as possible and also do not discount exploring other options such as the non-profit sector and volunteering. If you are based in Singapore, it’s an excellent time to use your SkillsFuture credits to upskill yourself, review how the Government’s Resilience Budget may help you and look into great initiatives such as Tech Skill Accelerator. (https://www.imda.gov.sg/imtalent/programmes/TeSA-Mid-Career). For those of us who are lucky enough to hold a job, please cherish your job by adding as much value to your organisation as possible and go out of your way to help job seekers connect with the right people.