Paul Shannon, ANS Group

Paul Shannon, ANS Group

How does the CEO of this Manchester-based cloud services provider spend his day?

How do you typically start a working day?

I usually wake up at 6:30am and start my working day at home by checking my emails. Then I make my way into the office and for the first two hours or so, I usually try to catch up with people and see what's going on around the office. It's good to make the effort to talk with everyone and hear about any successes or problems.

How long is your commute and what do you do during it?

I have to endure the dreaded commute along the M62 into Manchester. It's only 22 miles, but it can take between one and two hours depending on the traffic. I usually listen to music to keep me going.

What is your attitude to flexible working in your company?

We have a strong flexible working culture as we have a lot of remote workers and people who work from home. We are very much a company focused on the output of the team rather than number of hours spent at a desk. We try to encourage people to get the work/life balance right and that's something that our employees appreciate. In fact, we were recently ranked 7th in the Sunday Times ‘100 Best Companies to Work For' list.

If there was one thing you could change about your business, what would it be?

I do wish that we had a bigger car park. I'm immensely proud of our growth recently, but the increase in bodies also means that there can be a battle for a space in the morning. I'd also like to make the office bigger.

What do you do for the bulk of a typical day?

My day is usually spent building and retaining customer relationships. We pride ourselves on our commitment to knowing our customers inside and out.

How do you unwind at the end of the day?

I listen to music on my way home - it's a great way to unwind.

Do you ever really have a proper day or week off with no contact with the office?

A couple of years ago I would have said a definite no. Now I can go one or two days on holiday without having to speak to anyone back at the office. I think that's down to having a really strong management team who have the autonomy to make decisions.

What would your colleagues say is your worst habit?

It has been rumoured that I'm not the best driver…

What's the quotation that best sums up your approach to business?

"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value." - Albert Einstein.

Which business leader do you most admire, and why?

Warren Buffett. He's a very shrewd businessman who never strayed far from his roots. He also realised that you can actually have too much money, and as a result has given a lot of his fortune to charity. 

Phone call, email, or face-to-face meeting?

It's very important to me that we make time for face-to-face meetings. It's a crucial part of building and sustaining relationships with our customers and getting to know their every need.

What do you enjoy most and least about your job?

I honestly don't think there's anything that I don't enjoy about my job. I've worked at ANS for over seven years and I'm surrounded by inspiring people every day. I enjoy working closely with our talented team. Helping to grow the company makes me incredibly proud, and I believe that we still have so much potential to go even further.

How good are you at replying to emails?

I try to clear my inbox every day. It's so easy to keep on top of things nowadays with smartphones.

How many hours do you typically work in a day or week?

Having emails on my phone means I'm always available to answer work emails. I do try to switch off when I am on holiday with the family.

Where do you sit in the office?

I don't have my own office as I like to sit among the team. I don't even have a designated desk, I move around daily.


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