Ohmyhome, which Rhonda Wong started with her sister Race in 2016 as Singapore’s first DIY property platform, set up its third outpost in the Philippines last year amid the Covid-19 outbreak. From her home study in Singapore, Wong steered her team in Manila — amid strict local regulations for supply runs that affected office hours — to the company’s “most successful launch”, with over 11 real estate developers and 117,000 unique listings. This go-getting mother-of-one isn’t about to let up, however; Ohmyhome is pushing towards its goal as a one-stop solution with a new home renovation service.
Before Covid-19 hit, virtual home viewings were already available at Ohmyhome. How else have you tried to pivot the business?
To enhance the experience of virtual home viewings, we introduced a video tour feature on our platforms. Homeowners could upload videos of their property to give potential buyers clearer views. With property transactions plunging to historic lows, we thought it was the best time for people to research and decide on their next property purchase. So we organised property literacy programmes on our digital platforms. Our webinars, known as ohtalks!, allow the public to seek free advice from our team of real estate professionals, marketing experts, mortgage advisors and interior designers. Many of these sessions were conducted in Mandarin (uncommon in the industry) as we observed Mandarin speakers were underserved during Covid-19.
What leadership lessons have you picked up in the past year?
It further cemented my view that a leader must also be a mentor in life and a friend in need. My teams went through tough times last year, especially in the Philippines, which was also hit by natural disasters such as typhoons, floods and volcanic eruptions. Some of our staff there have had loved ones who contracted the coronavirus. These weren’t times to discuss productivity; these were times when a leader had to demonstrate empathy and compassion. Now it was my turn to be there for them.
Leaders and changemakers now need to be stronger than ever. What’s your definition of strength?
Remaining kind when times are tough requires strength. It broke my heart when some of our staff left to seek other employment, but I realised the kindest thing we could do for them was to be proud of their career achievements and wish them well. I draw strength from my sister Race — her resilience and perseverance inspire me to keep going and growing Ohmyhome.