Christina Ng, Head of Facilities Management, believes that she and her team members need to always give of their best, and to deliver the services that clients have been promised in contracts or agreements. In addition, they are usually able to add value to our promised service to ensure clients get the best service possible.
How long have you been in the real estate industry? How did you get involved in the real estate industry?
I started working at Colliers when I graduated from university in 1998. I did not have a career plan at first, so I started my education without being sure what I wanted to do in the future. I like to draw, so I got into architecture at university, but I didn't really want to be an architect after I graduated. Eventually, Colliers accepted me at Facilities Management team (FM), and I really liked what I did and enjoyed the concept of managing and facilitating.
You have been working in the industry for more than 20 years. What do you like the most about your job?
I have been doing facilities management for around 22 years now. I think what I like best is literally to manage and facilitate, not only to facilitate clients’ lives, but also to facilitate anyone involved in the process, namely teams, vendors, etc. I feel like what I am doing right now is making other people’s lives easier.
What do you think is the most effective way to build your client's trust in you, your team and in Colliers?
In order to build clients’ trust, we need to always give of our best, and deliver the services that we have promised them in the contract or agreement. In addition, in the long run, we can usually add value to our promised service to ensure clients get the best service possible from our team.
What challenges did Facilities Management team’s face during the pandemic?
For my team and me, the most challenging thing has been that we haven’t always been able to be physically present at projects, or mobile, even though our scope of work is mostly directly related to the site project. Before the pandemic, we did everything on-site, from the briefing and meeting with clients, to checking the facilities. Since the pandemic hit, at all of the projects that we are handling, the number of people who can enter an office or site has been limited, so we’ve have no choice but to conduct communication online. It has been quite a challenge for the FM team to communicate or coordinate virtually instead of face-to-face.
Other than that, we have also faced some client requests for greater efficiency. For example, we assigned team members to one project, but in the interests of efficiency the client requested that the size of the team be halved. So far, we have managed to find the best solutions for all parties.
Do you have any professional advice for anyone who has just started their career, especially in facilities management?
Based on IFMA, there are 11 competencies that are important for those who want to be involved in this sector, including leadership, communication, financials, etc. In terms of communication, for example, we are not only required to be able to talk on the CEO, CFO level, but also on the front line level.
For me, working in FM is like having a mini company where you need to be able to understand a lot of things. Once you get on to the team, you can seriously learn a lot working in the sector, and gain a lot of skills that will be useful in your future career, even if you eventually decide to choose another sector, instead of FM.
If you were not working in a real estate industry, what do you think you would be?
I am honestly not sure. I thought it was a journey. But now time goes by, and if you ask me what I think I will be in the future, if not related to the real estate industry, it might be something related to nature. I think if there were any opportunity, I would love to learn more about being a herbalist, because it’s amazing to know about plants and their benefits for humans.
But now, in FM, I also learn about green building, and I think there is a relation to nature there. The point is how to keep taking care of your environment, and take advantage of what the environment provides. Because, if you talk about back to nature, it's quite comprehensive; it's not only about plants but also the lifestyle, so that there's less waste, and the environment won't be damaged.
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