Ashik Ahmed is the CEO and co-founder of Deputy, a homegrown workforce management solution pegged to be Australia’s next tech unicorn.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
In 1997 my whole family migrated to Melbourne in Australia from Bangladesh. I completed my high school education, as well as my university degree, in Melbourne. I started working for Hungry Jacks and was the first person in my family to gain employment after moving to Australia.
In 2003, I built a platform for Steve Shelley that automated the process of employee scheduling and assisted in tracking and managing attendance at the workplace. The product changed the way he ran his business and was referred to as Steve’s “deputy”.
In 2008, together, we founded Deputy with a single mission; to improve the lives of business owners and their employees.
Deputy is changing the way people plan and manage their work life. Deputy automates time consuming tasks, lowers the costs associated with people management and keeps businesses compliant with workplace laws.
2) What does a typical day in life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Our north star is to give people their time back, whether that’s a manager who’s been making 20 phone calls to cover a shift every time someone calls in sick, or a worker who gets their shift cancelled when they’re on their way to it.
Most of my time is spent understanding the needs of our customers, building our brand across the markets we are focused on winning and making sure we attract great people to come and join us on our mission.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
The way we all work has transformed dramatically. Previously, employees would clock in at 9 am then head home at 5 pm on the dot and this was a standard day for them. Now, though, businesses and workers around the world are moving towards flexible, hourly-based work.
At Deputy, we believe every worker should be given the opportunity to choose how they want to work and the evolution of the workforce has helped to support this.
4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?
Not quite a tip or trick but I can’t live without Gmail. All it takes is a simple email to start a conversation and you never know what big ideas you’ll stumble upon.
5) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I always set time aside to spend with my family and make sure we can travel on proper holidays together. That quality time is invaluable.
6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?
One of the best habits I’ve developed is that I’m an early riser so will always be up before sunrise no matter the time of the year.
I am a big believer that the early bird catches the worm and that you need to take advantage of the entire day to achieve your goals.
7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
I read a lot of books but the one that sticks the most is The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.
8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Definitely uniting my team towards a common goal. I envisage a day where every single shift is on Deputy. It may not be in my lifetime but, every day I work to inspire the team to help us get there.
I place a lot of importance in explaining Deputy’s mission, whether that’s new team members, potential customers or even people not in our industry.
The shift workforce is constantly growing globally and it’s redefining what the word ‘work’ means in modern vernacular. I’m just passionate about sharing that with Australia and uniting my team is a huge part of this.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
It’s so important to see the company you’re building as a community working together to achieve a clear common purpose and this keeps me motivated and focused. In my eyes this is what success comes down to and how a business is maintained through the years.
If you’d like to have a conversation with us about how you balance the grind, get in touch with us!