HR & Culture / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Daryl Tan, People & Culture Specialist at Toku

Daryl Tan is the People & Culture Specialist at Toku, a leading cloud communications provider in APAC, headquartered in Singapore.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

Upon completing my studies in Human Resources Management with Psychology, I worked with a few companies in different industries ranging from F&B and AI, to Media Investment as a Human Resource Intern. This was a period of learning and exposure where I understood how Human Resources functions in various companies.

I then had to serve my mandatory military service for two years, where I had the opportunity to act in a leadership capacity. I spent 11 months training, learning how the armed forces function operationally. It gave me so much perspective on what an extremely structured organisation would look like and the hurdles it had to overcome.

After finishing my service in the army, I embarked on my journey with Toku, a leading cloud communications provider in APAC. I was the first employee in the People & Culture function, where I handled the day-to-day tasks of recruitment, onboarding, and engagement. Recently, the team has expanded, and I have begun to specialise in talent acquisition.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

My day would typically consist of back-to-back calls with candidates and hiring managers, and some intensive hours hunting for potential candidates online. Depending on our internal projects, I also help to improve our work processes and organise some events.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

My current role allows me to be more flexible with my working arrangements. We currently operate on a hybrid model where we would come back to the office some days. Sometimes, I discuss with my manager about swapping some days to accommodate any personal admin I need to attend to.

I enjoy being in the office more as I can interact with the employees more. However, given my role demands that I need to be taking calls most of the time, I try to schedule them on the days when I am primarily working from home.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you, and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work-life balance in my perspective, is knowing when to work hard, when to play hard, and working closely with your organisation and manager to meet expectations depending on the season. A simple start is to communicate with your direct manager of the expectation and work towards a mutual understanding.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I got into the habit of reading on the go. I wanted to maximise my commuting time as it can go up to 3 hours daily. Sometimes I find it hard to discipline myself to pick up a book or open my reading app; however, when I am stuck on the bus / MRT, I realise there’s no better time than then to catch up on my reading. 

I have also started picking up new hobbies like playing chess to stimulate my mind in a fun way. I find myself feeling less guilty doing this, compared to doom-scrolling through social media mindlessly for hours. 

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I love reading articles from Harvard Business Review as they provide a lot of case studies and thought leadership which expands my knowledge base beyond what I am currently doing.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

My phone, I access everything here. 

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?   

Dan Price. 

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I believe you should be bold enough to push boundaries and to venture into new territories. If you are genuinely curious about your work or something peripheral to your work, like you always find yourself thinking about it in your free time – that is a signal you shouldn’t ignore.

You should lean in and boldly explore where that signal leads you. Read books on the industry. Surround yourself with people who are in the trenches in that field. That’s how you can boldly explore your passions and make a real impact.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.