What is your work from home routine like?
“I was working from home for the first two weeks of the movement control order (MCO). However, when I picked up the project of making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the frontliners, things changed.
“I leave the house in the morning to collect PPE materials from a few designers who are cutting them in bulk at their workshops, including my own workshop to be sent to seamstresses who work from home.
“I also tend to a lot of phone calls and text messages in between.”
How does it differ from working in the office?
“It’s more stressful to work from home if you have younger kids, and we have four really energetic and playful kids. I can’t really focus, as at any given time, they’ll always come and bug me for something or distract me especially when they see me being too busy.”
Do you have a designated area in your home that functions as a home office?
“My husband Dirk has taken the wardrobe room’s study table as his office. I like the kitchen centre island as my home office, as it has plenty of space. When I work, I like to lay down everything on the table so that I can visualise.”
Does it give you a better work-life balance?
“Not really. It’s stressful not being able to run our businesses properly and we’re not the kind of business which can easily be done online, so you can imagine how tough it has been. I need to see, touch and feel my work; that can’t be done over the computer and mobile phone.”
Has spending time at home given you the opportunity to pick up a new interest?
“I’ve always loved cooking. I was cooking quite a bit in the first two weeks, until I got too busy with the PPE project. Though now I must say, I know about PPE a lot better, I learnt new things outside of the realm of fashion.”
Once the MCO period is over, is there a possibility of continuing to work from home for you and your team?
“It will not be possible for our kind of work.”
Melinda Looi, fashion designer and Malaysian Official Designers Association president