BLOG – Christine combines Asian and Western business practices

Quest is an international transfer program which connects Arcadians from all over the world. Quest is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation. Every week we are highlighting one of the stories our employees who went on an exchange. In this blogpost we cover the Quest story of Christine Wong who traveled from Kowloon, Hong Kong to London, UK.

Why did I apply for a Quest

Through previous collaborations with the London team – for our West Kowloon Cultural District FM consultancy project in Hong Kong (HK) – it became very clear to me that there are emerging synergies between the Facilities Management teams in HK and London. Participating in the Quest program provided me with the opportunity to exchange knowledge for the benefit of both regions. Each country has its own rules and its own ways of working, which became very clear to me as I learned to see things from a different perspective. My goal was to bring back knowledge and tools to enable our team in HK to be more efficient. Meanwhile I became interested in learning more about local regulations, policy, processes and procedures. By widening my perspective, I hope to have more creative ideas and initiatives. The Quest also gave me an opportunity to share my skills/knowledge and HK best practice with the UK colleagues as well as expand my network.

“My time in London provided me with the opportunity to exchange knowledge for the benefit of both regions!”

First impressions of London

I have been to London around 8 years ago but I have never worked in London before. London is a mix of the old and new; Asian and Western. The pace of working is different compared to the HK. You can always find something to do, 24-hours a day in HK, but in London shops close in the evening. I was surprised by the price of public transport, but got to understand the cost of living in London is relatively lower compared to HK. I found it interesting to see people choose to live in sub-urban areas outside London while working in the City in order to get more space. Funfact: I also observed that many of our colleagues bring their own lunch boxes because it is quite expensive to eat out.

Snapshot of my week

Day 1 – Meet the Government Municipals team and  understand their FM projects
Day 2 – Site Visit to our managed site – Westminister Conference Centre, Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Digital technology project (the only FM services delivery client)
Day 3 – Study the project findings for one of our FM consultancy projects “FM Strategies for BNPP Bank” and share the recommendations referencing the best practice from HK
Day 4 – Site visit to one of our FM consultancy projects “FM Strategies for North West Cambridge Development”
Day 5 – How do we do business in the UK and share-session about lessons learned

Key takeways

  1. Demand of FM Consultancy Projects in Europe: The FM market in the UK is more mature and there is a higher demand for consultancy services than that in HK, it was already established in 1986. In our London office quite a few FM consultancy businesses are referred by our existing project management team to their existing clients. Whereas in HK only a few FM consultancy services projects are referred by our PM team therefore it would be interesting to intensify collaboration with our PM team to leverage our efforts.
  2. Learn about business with Asian investors in London: With the increasing Asian Pacific investors investing in London, our Arcadis has relocated some colleagues from Asia to London to deal with clients/potential clients from Asia a few years ago. I look forward to the evaluation of this smart business decision.
  3. Effective use of the Global Excellence Centre (GEC): Analysis of the Clients’ existing properties are often part of FM consultancy service. It was interesting to see how London makes effectively use of GEC resources to generate analytical dashboards to summarize the properties data for the client.
  4. Standard Maintenance Specification:  In HK we can learn from the detailed maintenance specification used in the UK, it might be useful for us to reference SFG20 – a dynamic web-based service which is updated in real-time – when developing our technical service specifications for our clients.
  5. Configuration of  24/7 FM Helpdesk: the FM Helpdesk (or Hotline) is established in most of the big organizations for work order reporting, tracking and controlling and is used differently HK and London. In HK, most of the Clients prefer to report FM related issues (e.g. building defects) through a hotline, but clients in the UK prefer to report FM related issues online through FM an tool instead of calling a hotline.

Learnings and experiences

The Quest Program not only gave me an opportunity to exchange knowledge/skills, but it also expanded my network with Arcadians from London. All in all, I would like to thank my line manager – Stephen Wright for putting me forward for the Quest, the Lovinklaan Foundation for sponsoring me for the Quest and our London colleagues for sharing the best FM practice with me. I enjoyed the journey and hope you have a chance to experience a Quest in return Everyone is eligible for a Quest providing you have worked for Arcadis for 6 months. So why don’t you take part? Create you Quest account profile today to apply for a Quest!

The international transfer program Quest, which connects Arcadians from all over the world, is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation.

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