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FM: Working abroad - Richard Bradley

Richard Bradley, facility operations manager – Germany & Czech Republic, Ebay

My role includes the day-to-day responsibilities of all the FM operations at our HQ campus near Berlin, and various other office buildings in which many of eBay’s other businesses operate. I joined the company in the summer of 2013 after moving my family to Berlin in January of that year. 

Any obstacles?

One obstacle to quickly tackle when considering working abroad within the FM industry is the local language. My personal level of German was not strong at the start, but the company supported my learning and using the language every day, along with supportive colleagues (and an very international work environment) has meant that my German has improved greatly over the years. Having a good team around you to support with language and also offering support back in English has been invaluable. 

Differences in the way FM works?

I haven’t found a huge difference in the way FM operates within the U.K. and Germany - we have similar successes and similar challenges in the day-to-day. As in the UK, Germany also has a strong support network of institutions and associations within FM and getting involved is definitely recommended. I stood in for my manager at a seminar two years ago discussing how we work with our service partners and had to give a presentation to around 250 FM colleagues! This was my first public talk in German and I was nervous, but I got through it and made a wealth of connections as a result. 

What did you get out of the experience?

This move to Germany has in many ways been the best decision of my life and career. I have made a new home here and taken on a new challenge within my career that is proving enriching every step of the way. Being forced into broadening my understanding of how business works - and e-commerce in particular is fascinating in itself - and being able to mix that with day-to-day FM operations is giving me an incredible wealth of experience within our ever-changing industry. Who knows, I might even be able to say I’m half German soon!

Emma Potter