Dassault Systèmes’ Asia Pacific South Champions Awards 2020/2021 recognizes outstanding teams and individuals who had gone that extra mile to give their colleagues and customers the best services and support needed to achieve their business goals.
Meet our Team Champion Winner, the Dassault Systèmes Facilities Team, who had worked quietly in background to facilitate the shift to remote work for over 800 employees across AP South, and brought them back to office safely when lockdowns lifted. Indeed, the efforts of our Facilities Team were the “engines” that kept our offices running smoothly during a time of unprecedented changes.
We caught up with our Dassault Systèmes Facilities Team for an overview of their unique experiences in managing office facilities during a tough year.
Preparing the office for a lockdown
Who can forget the feverish pace of preparing the office for a lockdown? From clearing pantries of all perishables, making sure all staff had the necessary IT equipment for remote work, to ensuring server room operations continue to run uninterrupted – our Facilities Team worked round the clock to keep our offices running.
Daniel Walton, Dassault Systèmes AP SOUTH Real Estate Senior Manager, sheds light on the additional responsibilities that the Facilities Associates took on.
“During the lockdown, the Facilities team worked closely with HR, IT and Site Leaders to make the offices safe and coordinate assistance for the swift transition to remote work. During the reopening process, we coordinated employee access schedules, surveys and safety processes across the offices. When the office reopened, our Facilities Associates were there on-site to ensure everything ran smoothly, overseeing safety protocols and proper check-ins for contact tracing and safe distancing guidelines in office spaces. Our teams worked tirelessly to keep everyone connected, informed and engaged virtually.”
Tanchanok Deamsantia, Dassault Systèmes’ Thailand Operations Excellence Senior Manager, made sure that all staff were thoroughly trained in using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform for remote work.
“We did a regular checklist to ensure every staff had access to IT equipment that will enable them to work remotely. We also encouraged our staff not only to attend ‘live’ training sessions on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform-based digital technologies that we are using for remote work, but also play through the video recordings and read the documents provided to make sure they are skilled in all the applications. What’s important is to establish solid communication channels to keep up constant connections amongst employees.”
Padman Maniam, our Facilities Manager in Malaysia, cites the importance of being as transparent as possible to staff when preparing the office for lockdown.
“Preparing for a lockdown was a stressful time for everyone. Staff naturally felt anxious and worried about their health and safety, their work arrangements, the sudden changes to the business. I worked closely with HR and the management to keep all staff informed regularly of the latest office management policies and decisions during Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO). Being as transparent as possible is the best way to help reduce anxiety. Together with the team, we learned new norms of working remotely to stay connected and ensure facilities in the office are ready for business resumption.”
Managing the remote work environment
Probably one of the most significant challenges for the Facilities team is managing a fully remote work environment. Sumathi Rahmond, Facilities Associate from our Malaysia office, shares how she coped with the transition.
“When we moved to operating a totally remote office, we did our best to provide as much support as we can to help staff shift to the remote work mindset. Virtual communication, be it through email and video conferencing, played a vital role in keeping the 3DS Malaysia spirit alive and strong. I made myself available for staff to talk to, whenever they encountered challenges, as there’s nothing like the human touch to help alleviate their concerns.”
Managing the office remotely was a steep learning curve for Sumathi’s colleague, Bagialetchumi Karnnamuthik, but she embraced the opportunity to improve her digital skills.
“Managing the office remotely was a huge learning experience. This is the first time in my career that I had to deal with people completely virtually. I learned how to use the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and various IT tools more regularly to communicate with staff, provide updates and instructions on office administration matters, such as what they need to do if they had to come to the office for an emergency.”
Pujiati Pujiati, Facilities Associate from our Indonesia office, made sure all office activities ran as normal and followed safety protocols when handling client requests.
“The most important thing was to make sure all office activities run normally, even if people are working remotely, and to always inform staff of any new developments in office matters. When handling client requests, while we did our best to do all our correspondence and invoicing digitally, some of our clients still requested for original documents. I made sure that such requests were met to the best of our ability and followed all the required safe distancing protocols.”
Creative initiatives to boost staff well-being
Boosting staff well-being is essential to help them work productively amid the challenges of limited physical contact. We speak to Selin Kurcan from Melbourne on what she did to engage staff.
“Melbourne implemented one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world. It naturally took a toll on many of our staff. I learned to be a better listener and set up weekly video calls amongst staff, which was particularly uplifting for everyone as it gave us a chance to connect. I also worked alongside the GPTW team to organize virtual staff bonding events, such as Virtual Escape Room, the STEPtember Challenge and a ‘Melbourne Spring’ photo competition to keep staff morale high.”
Reopening offices safely
Reopening our offices safely once restrictions were lifted required preparation of office facilities and clear communication to staff. Norain Mohammed Talib from our Singapore office shares what she does to ensure staff’s safety on-premise.
“Since the Singapore office opened, I have been keeping a lookout to ensure that government guidelines are in place. These include making sure staff wear masks at all times and do their check-ins for contact tracing, installing hand sanitizers around the office and ensuring that the number of people at meeting rooms, the pantry and the reception area, is within safe distancing limits. I also make sure staff are kept informed of the health and safety measures through email and posters around the office.”
Importance of staying connected during uncertain times
Although lockdown restrictions have been eased, Dassault Systèmes Facilities Team continues to enforce key in-office safety measures, such as getting staff to check-in with a QR code when coming to the office for contact tracing and monitoring meeting room capacities to observe social distancing best practices.
Above all, the Team recognizes the importance of helping employees stay connected during uncertain times. “We’ve learned how paramount it is for everyone to stay connected by checking in with each other regularly,” said Daniel Walton. “Whether you work remotely or in-office, don’t forget to check in with your team members. Keep in touch with one another consistently, even for a casual chat.”