Nurturing an open and inclusive work environment, encouraging employees to use their parental leave, and respecting everyone's hours. In this special collaboration with Workato, I talk to Choon Yen about how she is able to balance her time with work and family through the policies and initiatives that Workato has for working parents like herself.
Choon Yen is the Head of People Operations and Systems in the Asia Pacific and Japan at Workato. She is a mother to a two-year-old and her husband works as a mindfulness coach and a data manager at a non-profit.
In this episode, she talks about her role in Workato, and how they have cultivated an environment with empathy and understanding. She also mentioned Workato’s generous maternity and paternity leave; how higher-ups encourage their employees to take a break and prioritize spending time with their families; and how through openly communicating, they are able to respect each other’s time and boundaries.
To get in touch with Choon Yen, find her on LinkedIn: https://sg.linkedin.com/in/choonyen
Don’t forget to head over to www.parents.fm to stay up to date with new and previous episodes, join our community of parents in tech or drop me a line.
Thanks for listening to the Parents in Tech podcast with me, your host, Qin En. We hope you were inspired on how to raise kids and build companies. To catch up on earlier episodes or stay updated with upcoming ones, head over to www. to join our community of parents in tech. There, you can also drop me a question, idea, feedback or suggestion. See you next time!
- [00:24] Introducing today’s guest, Choon Yen
- [00:39] Choon Yen’s family
- [02:41] What is Workato?
- [04:52] Choon Yen’s role
- [05:23] The difference between HR and People Operations
- [07:12] Workato’s initiative for Parents
- [14:37] On taking her maternity leave and coming back to work
- [21:53] Challenges that arose due to the initiatives
- [23:55] Workato’s geography coverage
- [27:08] How being a parent helped shape Choon Yen’s career
- [29:38] A lesson Choon Yen learned as a Parent in Tech
Qin En [00:00]
This is a special collaboration series with Workato, the leading enterprise automation platform. I speak to parents at Workato to find out how they create work, life integration and balance their career ambitions with family aspirations. In this episode, I speak with Choon Yen, head of people, operations and people systems Asia Pacific and Japan at Workato. Choon Yen is a mother to a child, age two.
Hey, Choon Yen! Welcome to the Parents in Tech podcast. So excited to have you on today for this special collaboration we have with Workato. To begin with, can you tell us a bit more about your family?
Choon Yen [00:50]
Sure. Hi Qin En, good to be here. So I've got, we are a small family of three. My husband is a mindfulness coach and also a data manager at his charity organization.
The interesting thing is his charity also uses Workato to help them with various things, um, including client and volunteer management, event registration, case management, and so on. But today's not about my husband , uh, but about my kid. So my kid is two years old, just past two years, like two years, four months, we exact. He's in full day childcare right now.
Um, and he goes for full day childcare five days a week. Before he was two years old, I used to send him to childcare on Saturday mornings as well. Part of how I coped with just being a parent, a full-time working mother and, uh, trying to be a, yeah. Just part, part of that. I guess I can talk more about that if anyone wants to hear about it, but yeah. So he's, he's a very lively kid just over this weekend, he woke up and then it was raining and he went to the living room and then he was admiring the rain from the sofa and he started singing really lovely, uh, "Rain, Rain Go Away".
And then I was just like, "What's the, what's this commotion outside?" And I went to take a look and I was like, he was just singing to himself. Like he was really, really happy doing that. Yep, so. Spend a lot of time in the evening, looking for snails in the garden with him. I think some Peppa Pig, his favorite cartoon now. Playing with trains, but he's very selective about who gives him piggyback rides. So I can give him any piggyback rides. Only my sister can, there you go. Yep.
Qin En [02:18]
Qin En [02:18]
Yep. So that's my son.
Qin En [2:20]
That sounds like a, that sounds like a beautiful family. Thanks a lot Choon Yen. okay. So that's on your personal front. There's a lot to unpack over there, but, and we will come back to that, but I want to go to the work front. First and foremost, let's do this little fun exercise.
Let's say five years from now when your son is seven and, uh, has developed his language abilities, how would you explain Workato?
Choon Yen [02:41]
Interesting. So, I, I don't know, at seven years old, if you understand what companies are. I guess if I have to say [it] in two sentences, because probably— that's all that attention span he will have— is that Workato helps people. Daddy and mommy do work easier and faster and make, make sure that they're home in time with you. Right. That's probably how I say it to a seven year old.
I actually do have a 16-year-old sister. Yes, very huge age gap. And I brought her together with my family to visit the office once. And she was like, "So what is it that your company [does]?" Right. Like, um, you know, you've been here almost five years.
"What is it that you all do?" And I think for her, it's easier to explain. So if you have 15 years down the road, if my, if my son asked me like, Hey, you know, "what was it that you did or that you're still doing at Workato?" The way I talked about it is that companies use thousands of apps for very different functions. Right?
So in, in HR, right, which is the department I'm in, we have, uh, a database app that we will typically call HRIS, HR information system, but we also have payroll app, right? Just a process, payroll, performance management app, house away app and so on. And these are what we call best of breed, uh, because they do one function really well, which is also why we buy them.
But the challenge of using all these is we don't talk to one another, right? So some of them do like how we sync our Facebook and Instagram profile, but many of them don't, right? And you end up with different databases, then you wonder, which is the most up to date. Uh, you end up doing a lot of copy and pasting information and then leaving a lot of room for error. Right?
So Workato serves as the middleware platform where you companies can use us. To connect all the apps, talk to one another, transfer data, and then make it easier to get work done. Right. True automation, right. Workflow automation. And so in jargon, right? It's probably why we call work an integration automation platform because we integrate the apps and then we automate the work.
So that's, that's how I actually explained to my 16 year old sister one month back. Yeah.
Qin En [04:42]
That's pretty clear. Uh, integration automation platform is probably the most concise and the most complex way of saying it. But I think when you explain it like that, it makes a lot of sense. So Choon Yen, what is your role currently in Workato?
Choon Yen [04:55]
Oh, I didn't talk about it. Um, I'm Head of People Operations and Systems for the Asia Pacific and Japan region. So think of being, doing everything related to people and the systems that we use to enable people here at, uh, Workato itself.
Qin En [05:11]
Got it, people, operations and systems. So that's very interesting, and I would dare say a little less common, right? You have heard of Head of Human Resources, Head of People, but People System Operations elaborate a bit on that.
Choon Yen [05:23]
Yeah. So I think, um, it's very common to hear, oh, you're head of HR. But in tech companies, you generally hear [about] People Operations. Uh, and then the people system type is a, is a whole separate portfolio. Right? So I'm, I, I hold [a] world portfolio.
I, the way I differentiate HR and people [operations] is that people [operations]. Is I, I think of, okay. Maybe we start with HR first. HR, typically people think of HR people as like these people sitting behind a desk, and making sure we do all the compliance work, chasing you to complete all the compliance work. Which is very important. But then usually lacking that human element, right.
That they're not here to serve employees. They're not here to make sure the employees are enabled and empowered or are engaged. Uh, and that is what the people [operations] team think of right. When, you know, people [operations] you can think of it as a fancier term, yes. We still do all the compliance stuff. We still make sure we know our local regulations and all of that, but more importantly, we need to make sure that we are here to enable our employees.
Right. And you know how we do that through, uh, across the employee life cycle. Right. So, and making sure that their needs are taken care of, you know, we hear their feedback and we bring people together to make sure that, hey, they feel like they enjoy working here, um, at Workato, right. So in a nutshell, that's how [to] differentiate between HR and People Operations.
The people systems part is a slightly different portfolio. I look at the different systems that we use in HR and figure out, you know, how we can use Workato as a product for Workato as a company. Right. And so like, how do you make the different HR systems? Talk to one another and make it easier for two, two groups of people, right?
One is the HR folks within Workato to get our work done more easily. The other group is our employees, right? How they can perhaps do more self-service work, how they can find information more easily and so on. So that's the second part of my portfolio.
Qin En [07:12]
That's beautiful. And it's so colorful and varied, right?
I like the part where you put the emphasis on the people, because everything that you do, the systems, the operations, it really drives back to serve the organization, the people that you work with. And it's so critical to kind of remember that. And so zooming in on, I guess, this very select group. Parents, I would love to hear about what kind of initiatives Workato has to support parents?
Choon Yen [07:37]
I think the very first one is not parent-specific, but I think it definitely helps parents. Um, is the, the idea of flexible time, right? That we have always been a company with global operations since the beginning. While we had people in the US, we had people in Singapore, we had some people in, in Europe, uh, and so on.
It means that there must be some early morning or late evening calls for some group of people at some point in time. And so basically the idea is, you know, let's just make sure that it works for you and your family. Right? We want people to have the best of both worlds. Um, we want them to have an exciting career, right.
Being able to do what they enjoy doing at work and so on, but also being able to spend some quality time with their family. Right. And for some people it means. "Okay. You can't touch my 7:00 AM to 8:30 AM because that's when I pick up my, I, I drop off my kids. I, I spend time with them." And then so on, before I start work, well, some people like me it's, you can't touch my 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM because that's when I pick up my kid and, and spend time with them over dinner and, you know, showering and, and reading and so on.
So we make sure that that, that works for people. Right. Uh, I, I think it helps that from very early on. Oh, I mean, all senior execs have children, so they understand the challenges. But they also do a lot of signaling, right. Conscientiously or not on their calendar, when you're trying to find time with them, you notice that they also say "pick up children from" "pick up, you know, child from school of kid", "go to parent teacher meeting" or something like that.
And then you're like, oh, you know, like they are also parents and, and they also have to do all of these things. And then, so you feel more, I feel more comfortable, you know, in this last two years, sharing those things in my own calendar as well.
Qin En [07:17]
Mm it's really the culture. Culture is defined by what people do and don't do. Right. And for, for you guys, it's really starting with the leaders and helping them to block those, those personal times.
Choon Yen [09:28]
Yeah. So that's, that's the first one, not exactly designed for parents initially, but, uh, I think definitely something that helped. There are two other initiatives. One is the Parental Care Leave Policy, the other one is the Global Day Off Program. So the parental care leave policy is a more recent addition. All over the world you have seditary entitlements for maternity leave, paternity leave and so on. But, uh, let's use Singapore as an example, right? Even in Singapore, seditary entitlements differ based on whether your child is Singapore citizen.
Right, because part of the parental care leave subsidy or sponsorship is, is by the government, right? So they want Singapore children. And therefore that, that's the criteria, right? It's it's not good enough that the mother or the father is a Singapore kid. Right, they don't really look at that. They look at whether your kid is Singaporean. But when it comes to childcare and we just think about it, you know, two people having a, a kid in Singapore, I mean, the challenges that come with parenting does not differ based on citizenship.
Right. So that's just one thing. And then in Singapore versus say in Philippines or versus in Europe or in the US that we also started seeing varying levels of seditary entitlements. And so, uh, we got feedback that, Hey, you know, "can we look at giving some kind of like standard parental care leave?" Uh, and we said, okay, you know, it sounds like a good idea, but how do we do that?
Because there, there are such varying levels, right? And in Europe they are a lot more generous. And so what we decided in the end was to give a Workato standard, right. All over the world. This is the Workato standard: 20 weeks maternity, 10 weeks paternity leave. Right? Uh, second, second carrier leave. Right? And then if your local policy, seditary entitlement is more than that, good for you. Right. But if not, then at least, you know, what is the, the, the basic that you get to enjoy as part of a Workato employee?
So we, we did that and, you know, I think the parents really appreciate it, especially the fathers who most of the time in most of the countries have very few days or weeks of paternity leave.
Qin En [11:28]
I was just gonna ask that because I think 20 weeks is definitely generous for, um, the moms, but 10 weeks is wow. It's top of class, right. I know in Singapore itself, dads only get two weeks. I only got two weeks when I had my first daughter. So talk to me a bit more about the thinking behind the 10 weeks, uh, and also whether that leave gets used. Right?
Cause I think there was a survey on, uh, MOM done sometime last year on how, that was shocking to me, on how more than half of dads apparently don't use the full amount of the paternity leave and that's only two weeks. So, what is it like for the gentleman, uh, at Workato, the situation?
Choon Yen [12:03]
Well, Singapore has a relatively younger workforce, so it's hard to just look at the data here or globally. I think the fathers really appreciate it because they are encouraged to take the leave. Right. So I, I read this, I guess, similar articles as you have on about, you know, the state of paternity leave here. Right. And, and the usage, right? The thing is a lot of times, fathers especially don't feel empowered.
They don't feel encouraged. In fact, that [is] discouraged, right. Or they feel like, you know, what, "what would it say about me if I go take that leave?" Right. But just HR checking in managers, checking in to say, Hey, you still have two more weeks of leave. How, how you thinking of using it, you know, like please use it and encouraging them to do so tell them that it's okay.
Right. And you should go and use, uh, and take the leave. And of course, you know, the, the, the more senior you are, the more you should be signaling that you are also taking the leave. Right. And, and, and fully utilizing it. I think that's very important. I did hear from one of my US colleagues, a Singaporean who's based in the US right now, I said, "Hey, you know, your kid is, I think, six months old now."
I said, "how much of the paternity leave have you used?" He said, "none of it actually." And I was just like, oh, how could it be like, I got a shot. I was like, you must use your leave, right. Uh, but he explained it to me this way. He said, I'm gonna use it uh, not in the first six months because we, we, we allow them to use it for the first 12 months because in the first six months my wife had maternity leave.
My parents-in-law and, and their family came over to the US and helped with childcare as well. Right. With infant care, right. Home, home based infant care. Um, after they leave. That's when I'm gonna take my time with the kid, right? Because then you spread it out across, across a year to make sure that there's sufficient time attention given to the kid.
And I thought, what, what a brilliant way of planning, planning it out. Uh, that's one way of doing it. I mean, the other way, and the way that worked for me when, uh, two years ago, I donated some of my leave to my, to my husband who only had two weeks. Like you Qin En. And I appreciated all the time that he was spending at home because it was my first kid and I, I have no idea what to do.
Right. And it was also the height of the pandemic. Uh, and like things were just, that was just a lot of unknown and, and, and all of that, just having him next to me, uh, during that, you know, six week period. Whenever he was around was, was a huge booster to, to me just being able to cope with dealing with a newborn. Right. So I think people do it differently and we just need to make sure that we, we try and facilitate that as much as possible.
Qin En [14:25]
Yeah, makes sense and I wanna talk a bit also about your personal journey, especially on the transition parts, cuz I think that's where it tends to be a bit more uncomfortable; challenges tend to come up.
So talk to me a bit more about you entering your maternity leave and also you returning back to work. Were there any particular challenges or even memorial experiences that you faced.
Choon Yen [14:47]
I definitely was working through my maternity leave. Part of it was, there was nothing to do. Maternity leave. Uh, it was the height of the pandemic. I couldn't go out. That was, I gave birth to my kid in February and then, you know, March, April, May. Those were just like everyone was locked down and I could either watch TV or just nothing else to do, right. I didn't even dare to take walks around the, you know, like go to the park. So I just check my emails.
I just checked my Slack because like, I needed that human connection and I got it through work actually and just feeling like, you know, I'm still in the loop. I still know what is happening because there was just so much unknown in the wall and I actually thought that really helped that they didn't take away my access so that I didn't know what was happening cause there just so much was happening at the same time as just not enough was happening in my own little bubble at home.
Qin En [15:39]
Right. Okay but did you ever face the potential issue of, you know, plugging out and drawing boundaries, whether then, or even now, right? Well, I guess now we're starting to return back to the office, but throughout the past two years, was that a challenge with the whole hybrid or work-from-home setup?
Choon Yen [15:54]
I think because we have been a global company right from the start, it's been slightly easier for us. But what, as we added more and more people and across different time zones, it became clearer that we all needed to put in our calendar when exactly, what we call blackout zones.
So on my calendar, you see that, okay from 7:00 PM onwards, all the way to 10:00 PM, you absolutely cannot touch me. Unless something is burning down. Right. Or, you know, if not, don't don't message me, right because if something's burning down, what's at me. Right I'm looking at my phone but I'm not looking at my slack. I stitch off my Slack notification. That's my way of drawing boundaries. Right? Like. Don't get ping, proactively right. Then I have the regular book hours, on my calendar and then I have the, like, if you need to, you can have a call with me at this time.
Right? So the 10 to 10:00 PM to 12 midnight is a potential time to reach me because my kid [is] already asleep, but I'm not asleep yet later. I cannot stay so early too, you can get me that's the best time to have a caller because of time zone differences. So those are more like my Amber zones. Right and then so that's possible, but don't touch my blackout zones. I like what some of my colleagues say, right? Like, and these are people who are a lot more senior. Who've been in the workforce for longer. It's like you're in tech, in the tech industry you're not doing brain surgery and then initially I was just like, huh, the brain surgery.
It's like, nothing is too important to take you away from your family. Right or from just taking a break. Right. Like it is okay to take a break and spend time with your family because like, unless really something is burning, right and, or, you know, is the security breach or something, right. Otherwise like really there's truly nothing that is gonna be that important. You have to like, not take care of a kid and then 10 to, to something in the business. So I thought that was just a whole different way of thinking about it, right. It's just like, yes, like you don't have to plug yourself into work, like 24, 24 by seven.
Qin En [17:45]
Mm, I like that. Right. There are many times that we probably place too much importance or the work that we have thinking that things will collapse. If we are not there, but actually more often than not, it's really that discipline that we need to instill in ourselves.
Choon Yen [18:00]
Yeah and I, I think the complimentary part of this is that whatever you do, try and make it so that, you know, the process or the project can survive without you. So make yourself like dispensable, right? So that someone can come in and take over if they need to. That's how I prepared myself going to maternity leave; document as much as I can. So that hopefully you read my documentation and don't have to kind of bother me doing maternity leave but of course, if you really don't know [for] sure. You can reach out to me. That's fine. Right but like [to] read the document first. So I thought like, Hey, you know, yeah. That's, that's, that's a good way of thinking about it.
Qin En [18:34]
Wonderful. Okay. Choon Yen you mentioned one of the two policies. One of them being Parental Care Leave. What's the—
Choon Yen [18:40]
Yeah, the other ones. What we currently call global day off is a program that actually started in response to the pandemic. When parents were really struggling with childcare closure, I think less so in Singapore are more so in places like the US, the Philippines, where it was just impossible.
Right. You just put your kid anywhere else, because things were just outta control. But, but also, you know, to some extent in Singapore, because people were also afraid about, like, do I really wanna send my kid to childcare, even if it's safe and then, you know, kids then get placed on like five days MC all the time and all of that, right?
When they had just displayed the slightness of flu symptoms. So we started giving a response to that. We said, you know, parents are really struggling and it was mother's day. They said, Hey, you know why don't just leave a global deal for everyone for the Monday for doing mother's. The thing is that [there] was good feedback all around, even from the non-parents right.
The parents really appreciated it cause they were like, oh, I can finally breathe. Right. I actually like just not having everyone pinging me at the same, like pinging me while I'm trying to take care of my kids; take care, my kids and so on. But even the non-parents were saying something similar. They were like, oh, I didn't think I needed the day off but when I finally did and no one was, you know, no one pinged me because [I was] off at the same time, they just like [to] rest and relax and read the book. listen to some music back in those days where you can't really go out and do anything. Right. So, but they were still doing something at home and just like switching off just for that day.
So we tried that again with Father's day, and then we just thought, okay, you know, every, every month we just thought, Hey, we really not such a bad idea. So we try, with one day a month, but very on a very hot basis until start of this year. So this was in 2020, May 2020 we started. But it was really only at the end of last year, start of this year, we were like, Hey, maybe we should really think about seeing planning, you know, very carefully when this day off should be, in conjunction with some local holidays or some, you know, some important days and so on. So that people can have longer weekends and announce them way in advance so that people can start plotting their vacation for the entire year.
Right and so we took a while in January, we're not ready to announce. So for, we said, wait for a while, we're still trying to plot the date because we are [a] global company. We're trying to figure out all the, to try and deconflict all the dates but in February we announce, okay, this is, these are all the global they for the entire year hit. Right? So parents or non-parents like, everyone can just go and plan their time and I see quite a few of my colleagues. Taking time off, you know, in conjunction with global deals and so on, for their family vacation.
Qin En [21:06]
So, how about for you? What have you been up to on these global days off?
Choon Yen [21:10]
So my husband is a mindfulness coach. He works on Saturdays, so I don't get Saturday off at home. For myself or global day off. I spend a lot of time just doing me time and go for [an] official pedicure walking around the mall for myself.
Right because I'm like, oh, finally I get time to myself. Yeah. So I do, I have a lot of me time. I have Netflix who go and play badminton together but I'm like, I don't wanna talk to any of you. I just want to do my own thing. But also because they can go to the, go into the night, right. For the rest of the like evening and so I go for dinner. I can't do it right cuz I still have to pick up my child after school but you know, I have all the way till like five o'clock before I, I have to make my way home. Yeah.
Qin En [21:53]
Before mom duties calls again. That's beautiful. I'm curious Choon Yen, as you, as you and the team launched these two initiatives, were there any challenges that you faced, whether it be from the, let's say the managers, some potentially the workload or even it does adoption, right?
For folks who would like this, but perhaps because they feel like they have to be on the ball. They have to there's still a lot of things to be done, the adoption was a challenge. I'm curious whether there are any of these road bumps along.
Chopin Yen [22:22]
Definitely, I think the initial idea of that global deal was people could also use their time to just do their own thing in their own time without having to attend a meeting in the next hour or so.
Right. So some people use it like that, but some people also then continue scheduling meetings. I think that was harder to just say like, Hey, you know, it's actually their day off, but I think it was [a] clearance. Hey, let's have last week of December off, right? The past. It was always just one, you know, in 2020, it was just one day off a month, but 2021 December, we said.
Okay. The last week of December is also a week off and then people were still shadowing stuff. A lot of things. Right? Of course, if the customer meetings, it is really shadowy, then it's harder to push away but there were still a lot of internal meetings and then someone dropped anonymous feedback. Right and [the] CEO saw and then he was like, oh, you know, like he was still shadow meetings, internal meetings. So he went to our slack general channel and said, Hey, you know, like this week is a week off like, if you have customer meetings, of course go hit like customers come first. Right but otherwise, like, please take time to, to just rest and relax.
Right and then you started seeing your Cal go. Like, if you wanna delete all the meetings because I think the initial communication wasn't clear that it was really time off but once we had executive sponsorship, right. Once [the] CEO comes to and says, Hey, it's they champion a message. They say, please really take time off.
Then people were like, okay, you know, they feel like, oh, they can really take time off. So I think that, that has been the biggest challenge that we have faced to date. Right and, and having the executive sponsorship is very important.
Qin En [23:55]
Yeah. Got it. Got it. I think that's so valuable, right? That the message is to come right from the top and once the top, you know, sets the example sets the bar. It's very easy for the rest to follow. Actually one of those things that interests me is how you have quite a big geography coverage, right? Asia, Pacific and Japan. You cover so many diverse cultures and I'm sure the teams at Ricardo from these locations also come from very diverse backgrounds.
Tell me a bit more about managing that and even using that to your advantage, right. Are there any differences in terms of, I guess for parents, let's just focus on that, right? In terms of differences, what parents want across these different cultures?
Choon Yen [24:37]
What parents want across these different cultures? I think they're all the same that they do wanna spend. They do want, they do wanna have more family time and in fact, it was only recently that I realized that in Japan, one, one year of childcare leave from both for both parents, right?
Whether you're the father or the mother, and I'm like, they can't be right because I look at a utilization rate and I think when Japan. Counterpart was telling me that about 80% of men take less than one month and like one month versus one year, like that's this a far cry. Right and, and so I, I think it goes back to the earlier point that I made about, you know, like fathers, especially having to be empowered and encouraged to take time off but also that one other thing that I've realized is also there, the Japan entity is really new, right?
So that's this, these are all the recent realizations is that social insurance covers for some part of the paternity leave, right. It doesn't cover the full salary and so the expectation across Asia generally is that fathers are still meant to be the breadwinners and oftentimes mothers don't have authentic childcare available. I think in Singapore, we're very blessed to have like, you know, childcare, playgroup, infant care, even. Right. But like in [the] Philippines, I'm not sure socially about Japan. Right but in the Philippines there's no such facilities infrastructure available.
Right and so the general mindset is, mothers are supposed to do childcare and fathers, are they supposed to bring the bacon home, so to speak? But if you don't give them that full salary, then you know, if having to choose between bringing in more money home and spending time, then that can be a very tough call.
Right? And, and that's also like for us, why with the, per the parental care policy, it is 20 weeks for moms, 10 weeks for debts at full pay, at a full, basic pay, right. To make sure that people don't feel like I have to choose money or spending time with my family. So I would say, generally across the board.
Yes. There are different culture, cultural expectations and so on, but the, there is a universal desire to wanna spend more time with family. Right. So how can we make sure we do that is really understanding the local nuances when it comes to salary support, you know, like in Singapore, whether your kid is a Singaporean kid and then making sure that our Bocato company policy actually takes that into account.
Qin En [26:50]
Yeah. Yeah but understanding that basically, like you said, and being able to adapt it right to the different conditions, to make sure that no matter where you're from across this region or even beyond, there's still a very strong level of support. I think 20 weeks for months, 10 weeks of death, that's just quite, quite the goal standard and I guess for you, Choon Yen, how did being a mom shape the way you lead at Workato?
Choon Yen [27:13]
I think I'm now more mindful about doing check-ins at the start of calls. So this is my own experience. So if you had a terrible night or had a terrible weekend because the child was sick, then it's important to let the other body know because you can be very distracted, especially if your kid is sick and at home, right.
It reflects an emotional state of mind. If I know that sometimes I was suggesting, Hey, why don't we just reschedule and sometimes I think the initiative to just say, Hey, you know, my kid is sick. I need to reschedule this right? To also tell them that if that happens to you, I expect you to do the same or, you know, like we can also have a short meeting focus on the most important stuff and then just say, okay, you know, like, let's talk about the rest later on or over slack or something. Right. It doesn't not, everything has to be talked about in the call, but I think it's important to also realize that every parent's schedule is different. Also every family is different and every parent's relationship with the kid is different.
It's all I think my kid is used to me starting my day, really early in the other, in the study room and then he hears me talking away. Right and he's very interested when I say, you know, when he hear people talking in the other room, but he would absolutely scream if he wakes up and he cannot find his dad.
Qin En [28:20]
Choon Yen [28:20]
And for my Philippine default team member, it's the opposite. Right? If she wakes up early, Her kid wouldn't sleep for much longer. So if I can, I would actively avoid her doing an early morning call because it's actually at the detriment of her kids' sleep. Right because she wakes up early, her kid wakes up early and for her kid stays at home for the whole day as well.
So it's double whammy and or even understanding things like, Hey, you know, who's doing the school drop off or pickups, making sure that you avoid those timings and telling them to block up those timings on their calendar and reminding them to do that right. So that you empower them to do so and not feel like, oh, no, maybe today I have to take the call while trying to drop off my kid at that school.
Yeah. So [these are] just some of the things that I think about that I think I shaped how I lead the team or how I interact with people here at work.
Qin En [29:06]
Yeah. I sense that this increased level of empathy, that also awareness, right. That [is] because you understand, understand the challenges of being a parent.
I think naturally you do look up more for your team members on that and that's wonderful.
Qin En [29:18]
Yeah. I mean, it's not just parents, it's not just parents through children it's also being children through your parents, right? So some people may have agent parents and then with the waves of COVID, that's just relentless.
Right? So also having to care of family members who are then sick, so on, like, those are things that I think we, because [of] the pandemic, we started to become a lot more aware of as well.
Qin En [29:38]
Got it. This has been a really insightful conversation Choon Yen to some of our conversations today. If there's one lesson you've learned, there's a Parent In Tech. What would that be?
Choon Yun [29:47]
I think I'm fortunate to be in a company that's been fast growing. So I've learned a lot in this last four and a half years, you know, throughout this conversation. I think you, you must have gotten a sense that the company has been super supportive of us having life balance, recognizing that I think we are as much employees as we are parents.
So my takeaway is that companies can make it work for parents. Right and so when I'm looking for my next adventure or for anyone who's listening to this podcast now, and. Trying to look for the next adventure. I would say, find something that allows you to strike that balance. I don't think it's ever worth it to me being there for your kid.
Right. So companies can make it work. It's a matter of figuring out how to do it. Speaking more from an HR perspective and from an employee perspective. Right. I think that's my biggest takeaway.
Qin En [30:30]
Got it, that's wonderful. Well Choon Yen, thank you so much for joining us.
Choon Yen [30:35]
Thank you Qin En for having me. Have a good day.
Qin En [30:40]
Thanks for listening to the Parents In Tech podcast. With me, your host, Qin En.
We hope you were inspired how to raise kids and build companies. To catch up on earlier episodes or stay updated with upcoming ones, head over to www.parents.fm to join our community of Parents In Tech. There, you can also drop me a question, idea, feedback or suggestion. Once again, the website it's www.parents.fm.
That's all for this episode, folks. See you next time.