Now available in Hot-Pink by Sharon Lowe , 5th January 2023
So, here’s a question for you. What does a data centre in Farnborough, and over a hundred people from three organisations have in common? – Hot pink.
Hold that thought, I’ll come back to that.
The thing about working in a data centre, is that you seldom hear about the people behind the magic that makes it all work. We speak openly about the value we bring to our clients (and rightly so) and for all the right reasons, we’re vocal about importance of social responsibility – but what of the people that make it all happen?
Well, I can tell you how to spot many of them, that’s for sure. Walk into Ark’s Cody Park campus on any given Friday and you’ll greeted by (what I’m sure looks like) a sea of hot-pink. You could be forgiven for thinking that it was a standard issue uniform – we like to call it Pink Fridays.
Now in earnest, I can’t take credit for the idea, (although it’s fair to say that I’m become a bit of an enforcement officer since I joined) but if you work here, let’s just say it’s a thing. What started off as a bit of a stand-in joke between the team at Ark (led by Tim Bate, our Technical Facilities Manager) slowly began to extend itself to our network of Alliances who work on site with us each day…and even visitors.
It may sound strange but here’s why we love it – Every Pink Friday brings us all together as one-team but most importantly makes everyone visible.
Much like when you board a plane, you’re greeted by the cabin crew (you may even get a glimpse of the pilot) but you may not get to see the dozens of skilled individuals who carry out the safety checks or ensure that your seat is clean and ready for your onward journey. Yet the whole crew is aligned and dependent on each other. The need for trust, teamwork and focus is unrelenting, even if it’s not visible.
Equally (as anyone in our industry will tell you), there are lots of moving parts that make a data centre tick and everyone without exception, has an integral part to play. In Cody Park alone, we have seventy data rooms that look after business-critical technology for our customers which needs to be maintained, cooled, cleaned and protected, every second of every day, with no room for respite or error.
That team of people need more than just pink shirts to be perfectly synchronised which is why at every campus meeting, whether it’s an Ark employee, or any one of our partners, everyone has a seat at the table, every voice and opinion is considered – There is no hierarchy, simply One-Team.
The Pink Friday mandate may be our not-so-private joke, but it also serves as a sobering reminder that the success of what we do, relies entirely on the ongoing unity of this unique group of individuals.
I also like to think that this togetherness accomplishes more than just creating exceptional outcomes for the customers we serve, it’s also about levelling us out as a team. Not much is written about the people behind the doors of a data centre but in my experience, you’d be hard pressed to find a more diverse group of people in the corporate world, with remarkably different backgrounds and brilliant characters; some of which trust me, you couldn’t make up.
In Toby Thornley’s recent blog about our late, great friend Phil Begley, she talked about all the daft things that happen when we go out together as a team and how Phil in particular, seemed committed to breaking at least one bone, every time we went out. The type of beautiful and funny camaraderie that you only get from a group of people who care deeply about what they do but when off the clock, care just as much about the well-being of each other.
Since I joined Ark, I see that togetherness play out every day, even if it is at the expense of our fashion sense – perhaps that’s the reason we’re behind closed doors 🙂
This much is certain though, our One Team philosophy means that everyone can leave their job title at the door of every meeting. It means not one person goes unrecognised or unheard.
And come Pink Friday at Cody Park, I would challenge you to spot the difference between us – aside from who rocked it best, clearly.