Making It Work: Working from Home in a Pandemic – Polka Yu | APAC MD | BCW

Posted by Prospect‘s Asia Pacific Team

Polka Yu, APAC Managing Director, Integrated Communications, BCW

Polka Yu manages more than 15 team members across Hong Kong, Singapore and London, three global clients, and some of the firm’s largest accounts. Ordinarily based in Hong Kong, Polka found herself in Melbourne, Australia when countries started closing their borders to protect against the spread of COVID-19. While the global nature of Polka’s role has meant she has always straddled international time zones, since January this has been further compounded by the time difference in Australia and her shifting locations from hotel rooms, service apartments and AirBnB rentals. We asked what her day now looks like and how she is managing her workload and her sanity!

  • 10:30 am – get up and send the first round of emails over breakfast
  • 12:30pm – an hour run around the local lake listening to hip-hop and electronic dance music
  • 1:30pm – personal errands like shopping and laundry, and lunch
  • 2:00pm – client work with teams in Hong Kong, China and Singapore. On average, she has around five client meetings each day on WhatsApp, WeChat, Ding Talk, in addition to around four one-on-one calls with team members.
  • 7:00pm – all team catch-up on Microsoft Teams
  • 9:00pm – prepare, cook and eat dinner
  • 10:00pm – client work with teams in London and Europe
  • 12:30am – relax and wind-down
  • 1:00am – bedtime

Thank goodness Polka is a night owl and is effective in the afternoons and evenings!

Polka has the following tips for creating an effective workspace anywhere:

  • Make use of instant messaging technologies to have shorter and more frequent interactions with your team members and clients.
  • Create group chats to streamline communications – but don’t send the wrong messages to the wrong groups!
  • Adapt your working hours to the time-zones of your clients. Polka was able to provide her clients with real-time support for two weeks during their major event in Barcelona by working from midnight to 4:00am in Australia.
  • Try to be part of the client’s brainstorming process. This is a new environment for everyone, you don’t need to have all the answers for your clients, but you do have the opportunity to be part of the discussion by proactively monitoring the situation.
  • Make the space your own. Polka loves stationery and by brightening up her desk with beautiful notebooks and pens she is happier and more productive.
  • Embrace your hobbies. Polka has been expanding her cooking repertoire by experimenting with spices to make green curry, red curry and chili sauces.