If you ask anyone what makes the culture at Progress unique, you’d get a one-word answer: people.
Here is one of the many people at Progress who make us all #ProgressProud: Akash Anand, facilities operations manager APJ region. Akash is based in our Hyderabad, India, office. Let’s get to know him.
Actually, I wanted to be a cricketer when I was growing up, that didn’t work out. So after completing my graduation, I immediately moved to Hyderabad with intention of completing my master’s degree. I found part-time work at Oracle India in facilities operations. Eventually, I was converted to full-time, and have been in facilities operations ever since.
Yes, I went back and earned a master’s of business administration in human resources management/personnel administration back in 2012.
I was contacted by a recruiter about the opportunity, but I must admit, I didn’t know much about Progress at the time. I had a few rounds of discussions with the Progress team and hiring manager about the role. They were really clear about the role, the responsibilities and how important it was to the organization. It sounded promising, so I decided to join Progress.
My role requires a unique set of duties that are unmatched in many ways. They require communication with virtually all corporate levels—from CEO to temporary contractors. It comes with an immense amount of responsibility. I need to quickly handle new or urgent situations that come my way, but I also have to do it in a very calm, cool and collected manner.
Overall, I like the autonomy and love having a voice. My manager listens to my ideas and we work together to make ideas a reality.
I play a vital role as the project manager here. I have to coordinate the efforts of all parties involved. That starts internally with the local leadership team and employees, and extends to facilities leadership, IT, human capital and marketing. Externally, we work with our landlord and general contractor. So, I ensure that we all collaborate together towards successfully completing the project. Such a project is very challenging under normal circumstances, but more so today.
It’s been very busy. Our facilities support team has played a critical role in facilitating the COVID-19 response and all its requirements. Those fall into two primary areas: work-from-home employee enablement and office maintenance and security.
Facilities, IT and our regional leadership have implemented a plan to provide the needed equipment to employees at their residences during and after the lockdown. This helped improve employee efficiency and productivity while working from home.
Meanwhile, we have undertaken deep cleaning of our offices every two to three days, in addition to using appropriate hygiene measures for staffers who are stationed at worksites. We’ve made arrangements for their food, beverages and have recognized them with awards for their extended support. The team’s dedication has been truly outstanding.
Every day is different, and it is a constant adventure. It will vary from one day to the next. If an issue arises during the day, you can be assured that someone will suggest asking the facilities manager. The number and type of problems can be quite surprising, such as equipment failures, unusual and complex repairs, shortages of supplies and other issues as well.
Most days will include planning and problem-solving, as well as meeting with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders and partners.
We have monthly meetings in addition to an offsite meeting once a year where we share regional updates. However, during the outbreak, we increased the cadence and are meeting and discussing our measures on weekly basis.
We also have a new work-exchange program where facilities managers visit another country and support our teammates on their projects. This gives us a chance to see a different work environment as well, but the program’s start has been understandably paused because of COVID-19.
The global work experience has broadened my horizons and given me the opportunity to explore new countries, cultures and understand how things work overseas. Progress also has an education support program, and I intend to pursue a few function-specific courses this year to improve my expertise in facilities management.
I come from a joint family background with four generations living in one house. This helped me to understand that teamwork, adaptability and collaboration are the biggest skill sets in today world. Family as a whole owns the entire means of production and consumption, so the concept of sharing—whether it is sharing a room, clothes, shoes, books or any other item of utility—makes collaboration a value we learn from a very young age. It makes collaborating in my current role feel completely natural.
I have created a good balance between my work and personal life. I have a wife and two lovely daughters, age 7 and 2, so pretty much all my time is dedicated to them. Schedules are busy, but we have made it a point to have at least one meal together as a family each day.
Facilities managers are often the unheralded jack-of-all-trades of an organization. They’re involved in everything from curating and maintaining an optimal working environment to maximizing value and optimizing costs that directly affect the bottom line. Many organizations consider facilities to be a cost- center. But it is rightly evolving from cost-center to value-center.
Adaptable, social and fun 😊!
To get to know other Progressers like Akash, read more of our Progress employee interviews here.
An all-around fabulous marketing veteran of both corporate and nonprofit sectors, and principal at Media Goddess Inc., Paulette is an enthusiastic champion of the written word. She has a strong background in content marketing, writing and strategy, and was also an award-winning media buyer-planner for top brands.
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