Today (10 May) marks World FM Day 2023, a day of celebration and recognition for facility managers and the entire FM profession.
Below, a number of FM professionals share their comments on this vital profession:
This year’s theme ‘Making a real difference’ celebrates the behind-the-scenes heroes of the built environment and shares well-deserved thanks for keeping facilities across the globe healthy, safe and productive.
Bianca Angelico, Director and chief DayMaker at On Verve
A core remit of front-of-house teams is to make a difference. That’s why we created DayMakers at On Verve – we exist to make someone’s day, whether they are an employee or a visitor. Personally, I’m delighted that as an industry we are talking more about creating inclusive environments, especially for neurodiverse individuals. If you have a sensitivity to sound, colour, light or any other number of factors, having someone in the workplace that recognises this and provides support is truly invaluable and makes a huge difference. I hope to see this trend continue in FM so that we can create workplaces where everyone can feel comfortable and happy.
Kieran Mackie, Managing Director at Amulet
I like to think that security officers are getting more recognition for the scope of work they undertake – a lot of which is above and beyond their core role, and carried out solely to make a positive difference in the communities they operate in. For example, our Travel Safety Officers on one of our rail clients have spearheaded partnerships with numerous charities such as Shelter, and are safeguarding accredited to provide support to vulnerable people. Security is about safety, but it’s also about trust. One of the biggest ways in which our sector can make a difference is providing a presence that people can trust and rely on.
Joe Saisi, Managing Director – London at Portfolio
FM is arguably at its most effective and impactful when we develop strong relationships with our clients. For example, we see much better results when our cleaning teams operate as strategic partners, as opposed to simply a service provider. This includes flexibility in how we work. Of course we have contracts, but when we can offer more of a concierge service and fully align with our clients’ goals, that’s where we can truly make a difference. And we see that in the feedback we get from senior leadership and employees that interact with our cleaning operatives. Creating a safe, hygienic and welcoming space is about a big a difference as you can make.
James Bradley, CEO at Churchill
FM is well placed to support vital social causes in local communities. For example, our grounds maintenance service, Chequers, is working with One Housing and Crisis to support homeless people by giving them new skills. Ivan Lucci attended a one-day training course, made a great impression and is now working as a cleaning operative at the Stratford Centre in London. Ivan said: “I was desperate to find a job, not only for the money but for my sense of self-worth. When you have experienced having no fixed abode and no job, the world feels so bleak. The teams at Crisis, Chequers and Churchill all pulled together to help me, and it has made a very big difference to my life.’”Ivan is just one person who has experienced the difference that our sector can make through this partnership, and we look forward to supporting many more people through providing skills development and employment.
Diane Jones, Services Manager at Sodexo’s head office in London and Jane Farrell Head of Security
When people feel safe, supported and able to relax, they’re happier at work. That’s Sodexo’s ambition for everything it does, and it knows it adds value. In every industry, all around the world, Sodexo’s colleagues are creating secure, healthy and friendly workplaces that drive business performance by improving wellbeing.
One particular colleague sees her own impact close up, and that’s Diane Jones, the Services Manager at Sodexo’s HQ at One Southampton Row in London. Jones has spent more than 30 years perfecting her craft. Having previously been part of our team based at News International and then Transport for London, her experience spans everything from catering to safety-critical infrastructure.
Today, Jone’s eight-strong team works tirelessly to keep their colleagues happy, focused and ready to work. There might be 20 on site or 120, but they’ll all have a warm welcome, the right tech, a comfy spot and of course, delicious food. Here’s Jones on what she loves about her role:
“I get real enjoyment from seeing people working better together. Whether that was setting up home laptops during Covid or transforming the office into an open, collaborative space for when people returned. Even small changes – simpler desk bookings, different seating – help people build connections, work freely and just get more of a buzz. Who wouldn’t want to work in a place like this?”
Jones is a big advocate of facilities management as a career too, as it’s a great opportunity to stretch yourself. “No two days are the same,” she says, “and my ambition is to just keep learning. FM professionals like me are great to have around in a crisis – we’ve always got a Plan B!”
Plan Bs are particularly important for Jane Farrell’s team. Farrell is Head of Security for Sodexo UK & Ireland, which means her team delivers protection and guarding services to all kinds of organisations, from big corporate offices to hospital emergency departments.
Keeping people safe takes many forms, and in security it starts with understanding needs and wants. Empathy, not physical strength, is the most valuable trait, which is why Farrell works tirelessly to improve the industry’s gender balance and showcase the value of women in security:
“Our team includes people like Lucy Eaton, who stopped a patient taking their own life at Queen’s Hospital in Romford by holding on to them until help arrived. And Sasha Myrtle, who started her career as a receptionist and now runs our control room – she arranged the security for the pandemic quarantine facility that UK citizens came home to from Wuhan.”