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A day in the life of a Singapore-based managing director at ServiceNow, who squeezes in 2-minute workouts between meetings and says 2020 was the best year of his working life

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Wee Luen Chia (right) says 2020 has been the best year of his working life because it allowed him to spend more time with his family.

Wee Luen Chia is a Singapore-based executive at ServiceNow, an American software company.
He wakes up early to get his four-year-old daughter ready for school, works from his home in the morning, and spends part of his day at the office.
He says 2020 was the best year of his working life because he got to spend more time with his daughter.
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Wee Luen Chia, 43, is a Singapore-based executive at ServiceNow, an American software company with a global team of 14,000 people.

As Managing Director and Area Vice President in Asia, Chia oversees a team of more than 100 people in his home country of Singapore. He joined ServiceNow, which makes software that automates business processes to help its customers work more efficiently, in 2019.

He previously worked at Oracle, Red Hat, Qlik, and the Singapore government’s Infocomm Media Development Authority.

He told Insider that despite the pandemic, “2020 has been the best year of my working life.”

While he used to fly around Asia for work on a weekly basis, he said he now has more time to spend with his four-year-old daughter, Chloe. Here’s a peek into his daily routine in 2021. 

Editor’s note: This is a look at a typical day in Chia’s life before May 16, when Singapore reimposed COVID-19 restrictions like closing public schools and instructing most office workers to work from home.

6:45 a.m: Chia wakes up, showers, and drinks his coffee. Then he has breakfast with his wife, Susan Tan, and their four-year-old daughter Chloe.

“I try to get up at least 15 minutes earlier than my four-year-old daughter so I can prepare for the day before I wake her up,” Chia told Insider.

On weekends, the three of them often go out to breakfast for more family time.

In the pre-pandemic days, Chia woke up at 4 a.m. about once a week to catch a flight to meet with customers and other ServiceNow teams across Asia.

8 a.m: It’s time for Chloe to head to preschool. Chia sees his daughter off and his wife takes her to school.

“She is currently attending full-day pre-school, so we’re very fortunate to be able to have the time to concentrate on work,” Chia said.

Tan, Chia’s wife, also works in the IT industry for National Computer Systems.

Chia said he and his wife have tested out different ways to balance their work and family lives.

“What has worked best for us — I get up early to prep our daughter for school while Susan prepares for her work day,” he said. “We have breakfast together as a family. Susan takes on sending Chloe to school so that I can get an early start on planning for the day ahead.” 

Chia’s meetings typically start between 8 and 9 a.m.

He uses any free time to go over emails that have come in overnight, which are usually from colleagues in different time zones.

Before he started working from home last year, Chia didn’t have a proper work-from-home setup, but he slowly built one up. Both he and his wife have dedicated home office setups and work in different areas of the home.

8:30 a.m: His first meeting of the day is a one-on-one with Albert Li, ServiceNow’s Managing Director for North Asia, who joined the team in March.

Albert Li, left, and Chia have a one-on-one virtual meeting.

They brainstorm ideas and check in about onboarding progress.

“These one-on-one catchups really help when the agenda is not too structured – there’s an opportunity to build rapport, share challenges and experiences, and work together to learn from one another,” Chia said.

Throughout the pandemic, Chia said he’s continued to hire and onboard team members virtually across Asia. 

9:30 a.m: Chia has a meeting with a customer in Malaysia, market expansion services company DKSH, for a “go live” event.

“The ‘go-live’ event is the moment in time all of the hard work is realized and the product is ‘live’ in the hands of the consumer – either consumers, citizens, employees, or business partners,” Chia said.

11:30 a.m: If he’s home and not traveling between meetings, Chia tries to fit in some exercise.

He keeps weights and other exercise gear in his home office to work out between meetings in short, two-to-three-minute intervals.

“It’s not a lot, but a little goes a long way over time,” he said.

12:30 p.m: Chia has lunch with his team at a sushi restaurant in Singapore’s Bugis neighborhood.

“I make it a point to bring my team out to lunch once a week, when it’s possible,” he said. “I like the opportunity to meet in small groups, connecting employees from different functional areas.”

They talk about how they’re adapting to the changes in where and how they work, how they’re dealing with the pandemic, and how their customers are adjusting.

Chia said he values face-to-face interactions more than ever. “Each moment I spend with someone is focused on building our relationship,” he said.

1:30 p.m: After lunch, he heads into ServiceNow’s office in downtown Singapore, which is the company headquarters for the Asia-Pacific and Japan region.

ServiceNow transitioned to remote work in March 2020, a company representative told Insider.

“The Singapore team, much like the other teams globally, will continue to be allowed the flexibility to work in a way that is most productive to them – and this will look different for different people,” the spokesperson said. “The hybrid workforce is definitely here to stay for the foreseeable future.”

Last year, the company hired 3,000 people in 25 countries, growing its global workforce by 25%.

4 p.m: Chia leaves the office to head to off-site meetings.

Chia’s meeting with SGTech.

One of those meetings is with SGTech, a trade association for the tech industry in Singapore.

“I joined the committee as a means to use my years of experience to give back to society by helping Singapore-based companies accelerate their digital transformation journeys,” he said.

6:30 or 7 p.m: Chia is home for dinner with his family.

Tonight, the group includes his 69-year-old father, his 32-year-old brother, and his 43-year-old brother-in-law.

7:30 p.m: After dinner, the family plays Monopoly and Chia has to console his daughter after she loses.

“Sometimes there’s a teaching moment – it’s OK not to win every time,” Chia said, adding that he teaches her to be humble when she wins and gracious when she loses.

“This is currently one of my key focus areas in her development so she grows up to be able to take failure in her stride and be a good sport about things,” he said.

8 p.m: He reads his daughter a bedtime story, which he says is one of his “favorite moments” to spend with her.

“Her favorite book is ‘Rapunzel’ but I try to change stories when it’s possible to introduce new ideas,” Chia said. “She loves the classics including ‘Snow White’ and ‘Hansel and Gretel.'”

8:30 p.m: In the evenings, Chia goes on a run around his neighborhood.

He lives in Serangoon, a residential area in northeast Singapore.

“Each time, I change something in my routine,” he said. “Sometimes I listen to recorded Zoom calls during the run or listen to lectures on Udemy on different topics like AI and design thinking. I like to fuel my body and my mind.”

9:30 p.m.: Back at home, Chia showers and catches up on the news on TV and prepares for the next day’s meetings.

Around 11 p.m., he usually spends an hour reading a book or watching a Netflix show with his wife. Recently, they’ve been watching “The Last Dance” on Netflix and Chia has been reading Simon Sinek’s “Infinite Game.”

Around midnight, it’s bedtime. 

Read the original article on Business Insider
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