myfm-purpose-values-and-promise

Create a safety net now to manage unexpected resourcing challenges

Whether you are embarking on home improvements or managing complicated resourcing plans for an FM team, unexpected problems come up, even with the best planning in place. When I was up a ladder the other day deciding that roofs weren’t actually my thing after all, I started to think about the process we follow when we need competency and capacity quickly. Generally, we work through the following steps, in this order, until we hit upon the right solution:

1. Can I fix this myself (the in-house option)?
2. Who do I know who can save the day (friends/associates/ex-colleagues)?
3. Who do I trust who can recommend someone else (the wider network)?
4. And, if all else fails… Google!

I know from the many conversations I am having with leaders and managers in FM that the landscape is changing rapidly right now. Some teams are reducing in size, others taking on new commitments and all are having to adapt the way they work. At the moment the main focus is on cost management strategies, including identifying risks and planning mitigation. But when the unexpected strikes in a few weeks, months or even years and specialist competency or capacity simply isn’t available in-house, leaders and managers will need to make a choices between failing to deliver and accessing the skills they need from elsewhere. The astute leaders and managers know that non-delivery isn’t a realistic option for their organisation or for their careers. How many operational tasks can be switched off or delayed indefinitely without having a sizeable impact on staff morale, health and safety, client satisfaction? What do you do when the three strategic contract bids all land in the same month and you don’t have the in-house resources to support them all?

At myfm we like to talk and we are keen to get the know you better – now while you are planning; at the point you are wondering if you will need additional resources but are still not quite sure and also when you have a pressing need to plug an urgent gap in your team, yesterday. We have over 200 associates on our books, people we know, many we have had a relationship with for many years and successfully placed on an interim and consultative basis with numerous clients. If the role is so specialist that we don’t have a ready-made solution, we have experience of leveraging our extended networks to find just the right resource to meet your needs. Whether you are reading about our organisation for the first time, or you are already actively engaged with us, let’s make time to catch up and get to know each other a bit better. Because when the time comes, and it will, we would like to help you at 2 or at a push 3, rather than leaving you at the mercy of 4.

Book an informal conversation with Ulf Muller to learn more out myfm by emailing ulf.muller@myfm.co.uk.

Don’t lose the opportunity of new talent because of a freeze on recruitment

That several large and medium sized firms have already put a permanent recruitment freeze in place comes as no great surprise given the growing economic uncertainty and fears of a second wave of Covid-19.

This of course is a well-trodden path for many firms and a technique widely deployed to reduce spend on payroll in the short term, while an assessment of financial stability takes place.

But surely when times get tough that is exactly when you need to be recruiting the right talent to help your business thrive.

We all get the intent with a recruitment freeze – minimise spend and do it fast. But the problem is that this places additional burdens on the remaining workforce and that can take its toll.

If the amount of work individuals take on becomes unreasonable, it will of course have a knock-on effect on productivity and could even lead to corners being cut. Morale can be adversely affected and that is when the best talent may well decide to walk, often straight into the arms of the competition.

So, what if we tell you it is possible to avoid this?

What myfm can do is engage the recruit you’ve found on your behalf, enabling them to start work as planned with your business, on either on a fixed-term contract or by agreeing a daily rate with them, without having to put them on payroll.

As the facilitator, we will take care of formalities such as IR35 assessment and ensure the correct tax and national insurance contribution is made.

If your business recognises the need to access talent now but an employment freeze is stopping you, contact ulf.muller@myfm.co.uk or telephone, 07906 266499 for a confidential chat, or email resourcing@myfm.co.uk.

Return to work – myfm resources available online

Did you miss the two RICS online seminars featuring myfm on preparing workplaces for a safe return to work post Covid-19 ?

If so, take a look at our presentation materials. In Part 1 Julian Harrison and Marcus Newton of myfm tackled management, risk, accountability and social distancing.  Part 2 focused on hygiene, cleaning, hard FM and ventilation with Graeme Fox of BESA and Peter Smith of Principle Cleaning Services.

Both seminars helped signpost the most up-to-date information, guidance and legislation, as well as providing a practical framework for those responsible for the development of safe and effective plans for a return to the workplace. This included looking in some detail at how technology is contributing to return to work plans.

Underpinning all this is myfm’s own Return to Work Guide.  Produced for our clients and associates, we are happy to share this comprehensive document with others. For more information on how to access our guide, or if you have a question for one of our speakers,  contact julian.harrison@myfm.co.uk or mane.lucas@myfm.co.uk.

Please find the downloadable documents here: https://cloud.myfm.co.uk/index.php/s/mZYoiF5mxz8faSa

Join myfm & RICS for two online seminars on planning for a safe return to work

Join myfm speakers Julian Harrison and Marcus Newton for the first of two online seminars, hosted by RICS, on planning for a safe return to work post Covid-19.

In the first session on June 8, Return to Work – Management, Risk, Accountability & Social Distancing – they will help those responsible for managing the workplace (employers, building managers, FMs and service providers) to develop safe and effective return to work planning and management plans.

This initial seminar provides a management approach and practical framework for those responsible for the workplace. It also takes a more in-depth look at building access, occupancy and the movement of people, while managing and monitoring social distancing and reducing the risk of infection through close contact.

To book Part 1 on Monday June 8 from 1pm to 2pm – https://www.rics.org/uk/events/conferences-seminars/cpd-foundation-seminars/return-to-work/online/20200608/

Also watch out for Part 2Return to Work – Hygiene, Cleaning, Hard FM & Ventilation, which takes place on 15th June 2020, from 5.15pm to 6.15pm – https://www.rics.org/uk/events/conferences-seminars/cpd-foundation-seminars/return-to-work-hygiene-cleaning-hard-fm-ventilation/

Free for RICS professionals and a discount of 20% available for myfm associates and clients. To access the discount code contact resourcing@myfm.co.uk.

Julian Harrison is a Business Unit Director at myfm and a senior FM professional with strategic and organisational expertise supported by extensive UK and international operational, technical and sales experience.

Marcus Newton is an electronic security specialist with a reputation for successful leadership and management in the electronic security sector. Marcus has over 25 years industry experience with the FM industry, European businesses, UK Government and blue light organisations.

Returning to work – 8 tips to guide property and facility managers

By myfm Business Unit Director, Julian Harrison

Facilities managers, building managers and occupiers are working night and day to prepare for the gradual lifting of lockdown measures and the reopening of many workplaces.

They know all too well that as plans are prepared to get people back to work, there are many issues to consider before buildings can be safely occupied again.

Some of the obvious topics include how and when social distancing measures should be put in place and how this affects occupancy; the best approach to open up buildings which were mothballed in a hurry and what new regimes will need to be put in place to meet new guidance on cleaning or adaptation of HVAC equipment, or some of the other changes.

Turn on any news programme right now and people will probably be talking about how the world has changed beyond belief. But few will actually have to assimilate and deal with the sheer quantity of new guidance which applies to the preparation required to enable building users to return to their workplace.

This is why as the largest specialist FM consultancy and interim management organisation in the UK, myfm decided to pool our collective expertise on building remobilisation and combine this with that of industry associations, government and subject-matter experts. The result is a comprehensive guide which is designed to help our clients prepare their workplaces. We know that myfm does not have all the answers and even if we did, guidance is changing fast. So, the approach we have taken is to signpost to the latest resources available, help with interpretation of these and provide practical advice on the main topics we think most businesses will need to consider, to prepare their buildings as part of a return to work plan.

The Government has placed emphasis on employers and building managers only opening their workplaces when they believe it is safe to do so, based on a thorough Covid-19 risk assessment. Our 8 top tips shared below are to help you get thinking on this:

  1. Appoint a Covid leader, someone who will be responsible for the coordination of all Covid-related activity, as part of the return to work planning process.
  2. Develop site-specific return to work plans which clearly differentiate between the site rules and the guidance available, so this can be easily updated as it changes.
  3. Your return to work plans should have sections on social distancing, hygiene, PPE and communications, also make sure you refer to government guidance where this exists.
  4. Put in place measures to regularly review government guidelines so you can see and apply changes to policies – careful version control is key.
  5. Be systematic in your identification of stakeholder representatives and accountabilities so there is a consistent and compliant approach applied across all building users.
  6. Also be highly systematic in your approach to communication, especially as key people may be working remotely for some time.
  7. Document your decisions so there is a clear audit trail in place which can be reviewed and scrutinised in future.
  8. Plan to include ongoing monitoring and management steps, including the resolution of issues and non-compliance.

The pandemic has forced businesses in all sectors to adapt at an unprecedented rate. As they have responded to the unfolding situation, the strongest are closely examining long-standing business practices and their use of technology, as they consider how they should adapt to meet the challenges faced. Our full guide also has 10 detailed sections which discuss the innovation and many of the common considerations around both soft and hard services, as well as safety management, people and policies, supply chain and contract and commercial considerations.

Through the myfm team and with over 200 professional associates, many actively involved in industry bodies as well as having direct FM experience, we here to help you plan and deliver your return to work strategy. If you would like us to talk you through our Return to Work Guide in full please speak to your existing myfm contact or Mané Lucas – mane.lucas@myfm.co.uk / +44 (0)7956 119054.

Covid-19: Will it change the skills required in FM?

By Shane Arnold, Business Unit Director, myfm

During a pandemic, it is all too easy to catastrophise and overplay the likely long-term changes once the world establishes a new “normal”. This is simply human nature.

When we are forced to change the way we operate at the speed we have experienced over the past few weeks, we naturally question the way we have done things before and the way we might do things in the future.

Nothing is more important right now than following government advice, staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives. But we also need to be considering what the future will look like and the part Facilities Management (FM) will play in helping businesses thrive again.

Within the FM sector, I see it as inevitable that flexibility will be required. New challenges have been presented to businesses operating in both physical and virtual workspaces, ranging from mothballing of sites to a demand to rapidly expand capacity.

The impending partial easing of lockdown measures and the re-opening of certain businesses will necessitate further change and the businesses and sectors which best embrace that change will be the ones which thrive in a post-Coronavirus economy.

The FM sector will be a crucial player in helping businesses succeed so we need to think clearly what change might look like in FM terms and importantly, given we are a people-focused sector, what skills we will need to develop as individuals to emerge even stronger.

Short-term

Clearly, our immediate focus should be on the safe re-opening of workplaces. The following are likely to be essential for this to be successful:

  • Ensuring ownership and co-ordination through the appointment of a Covid-19 leader
  • Reviewing and renewing risk assessments/method statements
  • Regular, effective communication
  • Recording and documenting actions.

During this time, it is likely many businesses will operate with people working from home. That has H&S implications and, even though times are unprecedented, it is important to remember our underpinning statutes, laws and regulations still apply.

For much of this activity, we will rely largely on the existing skillset of good FM providers but we might find capacity is in short supply in a period of transition when demand is high for certain expertise. FM service providers will draw on trusted supply-chain partners and flexible external expertise to ensure changes are planned, delivered and maintained as swiftly and effectively as feasible to avoid further unnecessary disruption.

Longer-term

None of us know what things will look like post-Coronavirus but it seems sensible to assume pressures will continue to keep the built environment to a minimum, while maximising the use of technology to enable effective remote working. Indeed, Jes Staley, Barclays CEO has highlighted a rethink in the bank’s long-term “location strategy” as he can no longer see the need for office blocks full of workers.

We will need to look to technology to a greater extent, for example to help with the remote monitoring and maintenance of workplaces. We should be looking to harness and further develop/accelerate the power of the Internet of Things and the implementation of SMART building solutions, while ensuring any changes to the size, nature and location of the built environment are delivered as seamlessly as possible.

FM professionals are ideally placed to work more closely with managing agents, property managers, external specialist contractors and internal delivery teams to bring together the requirements of these stakeholders and determine agreed outcomes.

Remote working may also bring increased demand in relation to sourcing FM expertise particularly through the interim market. If geography is not a limiting factor given the acceptance that remote working is both possible and preferable, then organisations will be able to access a much wider pool of skilled people to fill roles. The potential impact on cost, productivity, environmental factors and wellbeing such a model could deliver is huge.

Our clients will have a wide spectrum of ideas of what the workplace of tomorrow will look like and the needs of each must be accommodated in our thinking. We will need our solutions to be flexible enough to meet their objectives while maintaining our traditional values of service, professionalism, honesty and collaboration: these will be more important than ever as we deliver changes required as a result of this terrible pandemic.

So, whether you are delivering hard or soft services, part of a delivery team or in the back-office, I would suggest changes are inevitable. Some will be subtle, some significant, but the demand for trusted, reliable service from people who are experts in their field will remain.

As ever within FM, our people are our single greatest asset. This fundamental understanding never changes – the expertise to deliver, the strength to perform in adversity, the character to embrace change and the empathy to understand the challenges of others have never been more crucial.

Covid-19

At myfm, we are supporting our clients in these challenging times by sharing our knowledge and experience, and through the placement of specialist FM contractors.

Our commitment to you remains steadfast. We will help to keep your business operating as effectively as possible, so you can minimise the risks for you and your clients.

For example, we will help you:

  • Plan for when buildings start to reopen.
  • Plan and implement services, such as thermal imaging, fogging and sanitisation, hygiene monitoring and modifications to cleaning specifications.
  • Implement power efficiency measures.
  • By providing additional skilled capacity.
  • To assess volunteers, returners, and temporary staff.
  • With compliance management and knowledge sharing on new regulations and guidance post Covid-19, once this is available.

As we continue to manage the challenges of Covid-19 and transition into what might become a new normal in the coming weeks, the myfm team are here to assist you with proactive scenario planning. We will do our utmost to react flexibly to your dynamic needs while maintaining the effectiveness and professionalism that you expect from us.

You are welcome to contact us directly, either to talk through your requirements or simply have a chat. We hope you stay safe and healthy.

The myfm team

IR35 – is this really as complicated as it sounds?

At MyFM we seem to have inboxes full of messages offering help and advice and telling us how complicated the latest changes to IR35 will be – but they really aren’t.

Naturally, we’ve been carefully studying the potential impact the IR35 changes will have on our own business and I’m sure many of you are taking steps to get your house in order ahead of the April 6 deadline.

Some people are surprised when we say that the measures that we are planning at MyFM, which at any given time has between 50 to 100 associate contractors working with FM clients, are largely based on the free advice and assessment tool from HMRC:

For our purposes and for our clients who have asked for our help, we haven’t yet found anything so complicated that we couldn’t resolve it using the HMRC resources. Yes, you need to be methodical and systematic in your approach, and if you are dealing with a large number of contractors this is potentially time consuming, but it really isn’t that complicated.

There is plenty of specialist advice available from accountancy firms, lawyers and consultants, all with varying price tags attached, if you want it. But from what we can see, if an individual is a true contractor, that will remain the case. But if a hirer or individual have been using the contractor model when someone should have been classed as an employee, then things are about to change.

The way we have got our heads around this at MyFM is by considering what is staying the same and what is about to change. The rules around IR35 itself are not changing, not noticeably anyway. But what is changing is that private companies, along with the public sector, will now be responsible as hirers for making the assessment on whether an individual is inside or outside IR35, they will be accountable to HMRC on that decision and responsible for arranging for the tax and national insurance to be paid.

To start to get you thinking on this and to help bust a few of the myths, we have collated a quick guide to the high-level changes on this topic.

Who will these changes apply to?

For the first time, medium and large-sized hirers in the private sector (based on annual turnover of more than £10.2million/ balance sheet total of more than £5.1 million and/or more than 50 employees) will need to assess and communicate the employment status of individuals.

Public sector hirers already make these assessments and have been doing so for several years, this will continue – some extra responsibilities are listed in the HMRC guidance.

Small companies (those under the criteria above) are classed as exempt and when they hire, individual contractors will remain responsible for determining their own employment status.

If you are a contractor, or freelancer, providing a service to a large or medium-sized company, you should expect that company to assess whether you should be on or off payroll and notify you of the outcomes of this assessment and any implications.

What will medium and large companies be required to do from April?

For every contract agreed with an agency or worker, companies will need to decide the employment status of an individual, pass this decision to the worker and keep detailed records of reasons – the HMRC tool can help companies to do this.

They will need to have processes in place to deal with any disagreements – details of what is expected are listed in the HMRC guidance.

Individual contractors can also use the tool to make their own assessment.

Who is responsible for tax and national insurance payment?

Now this varies depending on the scenario affecting you or your organisation and is too detailed to include in a blog. So, the best thing to do is to look closely at the HMRC guidance on this, so you can understand how the rules should be applied – https://www.gov.uk/topic/business-tax/ir35

There are a few general principles to bear in mind:

  • If you are the organisation which makes the assessment on status and off-payroll working rules apply, then you will be responsible for deducting tax and national insurance from your workers’ fees and paying it to HMRC.
  • If you are an intermediary, such as an agency, you will be responsible for deducting employer National Insurance contributions from the fees for the services which your worker provides.
  • If you are a contractor and you are providing services to a small company which is exempt, then your situation will continue as is – you will continue to make the payments.

What criteria should be applied to determine status?

The HMRC assessment tool takes you through this in detail and looks at criteria such as the contract in place, substitution arrangement, the working pattern, equipment required, and the length of time services will be provided.

Next steps

If your business doesn’t work with contractors, or you are not a contractor yourself, then you don’t really need to worry about these changes. But if you are either of these things, you should be taking clear steps to prepare, so you are ready to meet your responsibilities under the new arrangements.

If you are a contractor working with private sector clients, then you should assess your own situation, using the tools provided by HMRC. If you provide services to just to small companies, you must make your own assessment. In any event, it is important that you keep lines of communication open between those commissioning work and those providing services, so that all parties fully understand who has responsibility for what.

Our advice is to start your preparation now, if you haven’t already, particularly if you are involved in hiring a large number of contractors. MyFM is able to help clients but we firmly stand by our earlier remarks. Time consuming? Possibly. But are these changes to IR35 complicated? No. In most situations, it shouldn’t be daunting for companies provided they follow the advice on offer.

Prepare for a return to the workplace with our readiness checklist

The UK is starting to open up again and so more people are returning to the workplace. Is it down to you to manage this process? If so, our workplace readiness checklist and Return to Work Guides can help.

Workplace Readiness Checklist

Planning, Policy & Comms:
1. Create a Covid Management & Leadership Team (including H&S/HR/FM/Management)
2. Create a site-specific return to work plan (covering all building users including visitors)
3. Agree and communicate home/office workplace policy and procedures.
4. Test & Trace – define and communicate testing policy including procedures for positive results
5. Complete Covid-19 risk assessments (updated in line with latest government guidance)
6. Initiate an ongoing multi-channel communication plan to include all building users

Building Access & Social Distancing:
7. Routes considered and one-way signage introduced where required e.g. stairwells (FM)
8. Workplace layout and seating plan modified to minimise close proximity risk (FM/HR)
9. High risk areas such as toilets/showers/meeting rooms/kitchens controlled (FM/H&S)
10. Maximum capacity for building and facilities therein defined and managed (H&S/FM)
11. Staggered working times considered (HR)
12. Screens/barriers introduced to mitigation airborne infection risk (FM)

Hygiene, ventilation & PPE
13. Face mask policy defined and communicated (FM/HR)
14. Air circulation/ventilation systems set to prevent recirculation of stale air (SFG001 Standard – BESA) (M&E)
15. Touch points throughout building minimised (FM)
16. Sanitisation regime to touch points and high-risk areas increased (Cleaning)

Monitoring & Management
17. Monitoring, management, consultation and communication – all stakeholders (FM/HR)
18. Regular review of government guidance and effectiveness of RTW plan (Leadership Team)
19. Monitor compliance and manage non-compliance consistently
20. Document decisions & communicate regularly.

How do you fair? Take our LinkedIn poll to share your results, or post in the comments box.

Message to our clients on IR35 – myfm makes engaging interim staff easy

This information is relevant if you currently engage interim contractors via myfm or have done so in the past. We want to reassure you about the steps we are taking to make it easy for you to continue to do this when rules change in April on the assessment of IR35 status.

Also, feel free to share this information with others, particularly if you recommend myfm to colleagues and other organisations.

How will the IR35 rule changes affect you?

For every assignment, large and medium sized businesses will soon be responsible for making the  assessment on whether a contractor is categorised as inside IR35 or outside IR35. In other words, the government requires businesses like yours which commission work to assess whether the employment status of each individual should be employed or self-employed. The rules determining status are not changing just who is responsible for making that assessment.

myfm is proposing to carry out the IR35 assessment on your behalf

In response to this, we will make this process easier for you, our clients, by completing the IR35 assessments for our associates on your behalf.

We are planning to do this using the online government assessment tools. The reports generated will form part of the Terms of Reference for the engagement. This will help you by reducing the admin you will need to complete before engaging interim contractors.

We are confident that the majority of interim placements, by their nature, will continue to remain outside IR35 – self-employed. We have already run through this process for several of our clients and associates to ensure compliance.

If during the course of the assessment process, we find an individual assignment is assessed as inside IR35, we will liaise with you on payroll arrangements.

Your flexibility will help

We have discovered that the assessment results are based on a culmination of different factors, rather than individual question responses. Before any interim appointment, we encourage you to think about:

  • Being flexible on where and how the contractor works.
  • Measuring success through outcomes, rather than a ‘role-based’ appointment.
  • Allowing the contractor to provide their own laptop and equipment.
  • Entering into a separate agreement for each new project.
  • Requiring the contractor to put right any sub-standard work at their own cost.
  • Allowing us to send an appropriately qualified substitute, when required.

To summarise, we will:

  • Streamline the engagement process for you by carrying out the IR35 assessment on your behalf, using the information you provide.
  • Reassess an assignment on a regular basis.
  • Use the assessment report generated by the government tools as the Terms of Reference for the engagement.
  • Always seek up-to-date information from you to complete IR35 assessments.
  • In the event of a result which indicates an appointment should be inside IR35, we will liaise with you to find a solution on payroll.

 

myfm provides highly qualified and experienced interim managers and consultants to the FM industry, often at short notice. We are confident that the steps we are putting in place will enable you to continue to access this service with minimum changes, despite these new requirements on businesses.

While we are not experts in employment law or tax, from our research we believe the majority of assessments for the type of interim appointments which we make should be straightforward to assess using the government tools provided.

To talk to us about this, contact Mané Lucas, Head of Resourcing or Ashley Firmin, Head of Finance and Commercial for more information – mane.lucas@myfm.co.uk or Ashley.firmin@myfm.co.uk.

The more things change…… stay true to your values

By Shane Arnold, Business Unit Director, myfm –   

 

Furlough, R-number, mRNA, anti-vaxxers, Zoom – few of us were aware of these terms a year or so ago, but now they are in our everyday conversations. So much has changed in so little time.

I wrote early last year about how I saw potential changes in the FM and the wider built-environment sectors accelerating as a result of the pandemic.

I knew then, as I still do, of the need to be flexible and at the same time not to lose focus of our industry core values, including that our people are our single greatest asset.

So, what has changed over the past 12 months? Well, my belief in putting people at the heart of all we do still stands as firm as ever. As we move from survival mode to what we sincerely hope this time will be revival, this fundamental understanding is as relevant as ever today. The expertise to deliver, the strength to perform in adversity, the character to embrace change and the empathy to understand the challenges of others have never been more crucial.

As I pen these thoughts, listening to the Prime Minister deliver his latest update, including a broad roadmap out of lockdown 3.0, I also believe it is important to emphasise one or two important additions.

Communication, trust and honesty

Being in a position of leadership at any time and in any institution is a difficult task. I am in awe of the ability those who are delivering in adversity. This has been exemplified by so many in the last 12 months – I can think of no better or more recent example than the ongoing vaccination effort.

Notwithstanding this, there have been times over the last year when I have questioned why government messaging hasn’t been clearer, why it hasn’t been more honest and why it has frequently felt incomplete.  Please be assured that I wish to make no political points here, I am merely making behavioural observations. Also, I know from conversations with friends, family, colleagues and contacts that I am not alone in thinking this.

I understand that on a geo-political level, things are rarely as straightforward as they may seem to a casual observer. However, the fundamental truths and benefits of fostering trusting relationships, based on regular communication, honesty and the ability to address the inconvenient truths are as relevant to national and local businesses as they are to central government. And this is especially true when things are not progressing as desired, or previously envisaged.

I was taught in my formative years in Chartered Accountancy to always tell the truth and set yourself up for success – under-promise and over-deliver, never the opposite.  I believe this is as true today as it ever was and these are wise words to take on board as we move from survival to revival.

In a world where so much has changed, I would urge you to rely on your values of integrity and the key relationships you have built. Through honesty, including when things haven’t gone to plan, we can together agree the steps which should be taken to resolve outstanding issues. Alongside honesty, we should all be doing our utmost to deliver and keep people informed of progress.

It is highly likely that in your network you will have many contacts that you have either worked with, bumped into at an event (remember those) or been referred to by a trusted contact.  The value of the last of these, the referrals, is regularly underplayed in my view. But at this crucial time, it is especially important to align with those who have the same values of integrity, honesty and trustworthiness.

Is there a better way to do this than by working with someone referred by a trusted contact, as they are the most likely to display the values you are seeking? Also, those same contacts who are happy to recommend someone to you are also putting their trust in you as someone who is like-minded when it comes to these important values.

We are facing uncertain times and we are facing upheaval but by remaining true to what matters most – our core values – we will find a way through this. The more things change, the more they stay the same, especially if you are true to yourself when it comes to integrity, honesty and trustworthiness.

 

myfm is leading provider of specialist interim capacity in the FM sector. Alongside this, we provide a rapid response on projects. Even if you don’t have an immediate need for our services, we are always happy to have a discussion, contact Shane Arnold email: shane.arnold@myfm.co.uk to find out more.

IR35 – is it the final push this time?

By Ulf Muller and the team at myfm

Remember all the fuss about getting ready for the changes in IR35 this time last year? And then, like so many other things, implementation was paused because of Covid-19. Back in April when the news was released that the new rules wouldn’t kick in for another 12 months, we seemed to have so much more to worry about and the new deadline was an age away. But as we start 2021, suddenly that new 6 April 2021 deadline is looming, so are you prepared?

If the answer is no or perhaps maybe, now is the time to get your house in order. If last year was anything to go by, your inbox will start to fill up with offers of help from accountancy firms, lawyers and consultants offering to help you unpick the complexities of IR35.

People are generally surprised when we say that the measures that we are planning at myfm, which has 200 associate contractors on the books, are largely based on the free advice and assessment tool from HMRC.

For our purposes and for our clients who have asked for our help, we haven’t yet found anything so complicated that we couldn’t resolve it using the HMRC resources. Yes, you need to be methodical and systematic in your approach, and if you are dealing with a large number of contractors this is potentially time consuming, but it really isn’t that complicated.

There is plenty of specialist advice available if you want it. But from what we can see, if an individual is a true contractor, that will remain the case. But if a hirer or individual has been using the contractor model when someone should have been classed as an employee, then things are about to change.

The way we have got our heads around this at myfm is by considering what is staying the same and what is about to change. The rules around IR35 itself are not changing, not noticeably anyway. But what is changing is that private companies, along with the public sector, will now be responsible as hirers for making the assessment on whether an individual is inside or outside IR35. They will be accountable to HMRC on that decision, and responsible for arranging for the tax and national insurance to be paid if the determination falls inside of IR35.

To start to get you thinking on this and to help bust a few of the myths, we have collated a quick guide to the high-level changes on this topic.

Who will these changes apply to?

For the first time, medium and large-sized hirers in the private sector (based on annual turnover of more than £10.2million/ balance sheet total of more than £5.1 million and/or more than 50 employees) will need to assess and communicate the employment status of individuals.

Public sector hirers already make these assessments and have been doing so for several years, this will continue – some extra responsibilities are listed in the HMRC guidance.

Small companies (those under the criteria above) are classed as exempt and when they hire, individual contractors will remain responsible for determining their own employment status.

If you are a contractor, or freelancer, providing a service to a large or medium-sized company, you should expect that company to assess whether you should be on or off payroll and notify you of the outcomes of this assessment and any implications.

What will medium and large companies be required to do from April?

For every contract agreed with an agency or worker, companies will need to decide the employment status of an individual, pass this decision to the worker and keep detailed records of reasons – the HMRC tool can help companies to do this.

They will need to have processes in place to deal with any disagreements – details of what is expected are listed in the HMRC guidance.

Individual contractors can also use the tool to make their own assessment.

Who is responsible for tax and national insurance payment?

Now this varies depending on the scenario affecting you or your organisation and is too detailed to include here. So, the best thing to do is to look closely at the HMRC guidance on this, so you can understand how the rules should be applied.

There are a few general principles to bear in mind:

  • If you are the organisation which makes the assessment on status and off-payroll working rules apply, then you will be responsible for deducting tax and national insurance from your workers’ fees and paying it to HMRC.
  • If you are an intermediary, such as an agency, you will be responsible for deducting employer National Insurance contributions from the fees for the services which your worker provides.
  • If you are a contractor and you are providing services to a small company which is exempt, then your situation will continue as is – you will continue to make the payments.

What criteria should be applied to determine status?

The HMRC assessment tool takes you through this in detail and looks at criteria such as the contract in place, substitution arrangement, the working pattern, equipment required, and the length of time services will be provided.

Next steps

If your business doesn’t work with contractors, or you are not a contractor yourself, then you don’t really need to worry about these changes. But if you are either of these things, you should be taking clear steps to prepare, so you are ready to meet your responsibilities under the new arrangements.

If you are a contractor working with private sector clients, then you should assess your own situation, using the tools provided by HMRC. If you provide services to just to small companies, you must make your own assessment. In any event, it is important that you keep lines of communication open between those commissioning work and those providing services, so that all parties fully understand who has responsibility for what.

Our advice is to start your preparation now, if you haven’t already, particularly if you are involved in hiring a large number of contractors. myfm is able to help clients but we firmly stand by our earlier remarks. Time consuming? Possibly. But are these changes to IR35 complicated? No. In most situations, it shouldn’t be daunting for companies provided they follow the advice on offer.

To find out more contact ulf.muller@myfm.co.uk.

mobilisation-inhouse-or-outsourced

Time to take stock of your assets?

As a large proportion of office workers continue to work from home, the pictures of deserted city centres are becoming all too familiar. What we rarely get to see on our screens is the near empty workspaces which sit behind those city centre facades.

Put simply, fewer people are leaving home for work and they are spending less time there, if they do. On top of this, all the predictions suggest that businesses are unlikely to turn the clock back and return to the working patterns of the past. Several high-profile organisations are saying they will willingly allow people to continue to work from home indefinitely, so what does all this mean if you are a MD or an FD desperately trying to reduce spending on property to give your business the best chance of survival?

Many estates in all sectors are not operating to capacity and investment decisions are at best, on hold, so this is an ideal time to take stock of the current health and condition of your asset base and plan for the future.

Asset Management is described in the Institute of Asset Management (IAM) anatomy as “the coordinated activity of an organisation to realise value from its Assets” where assets are considered to be an “item, thing or entity that has potential or actual value to an organisation”.

Effective asset management increases efficiency, extends component life, improves reliability and allows owners to focus resources on the assets that are critical to their core purpose, so reducing risk to operational output and reducing operating costs.

To cut down costs as well as save the environment, organisations will have to adhere to a strict protocol. This will include the basic functionalities of building asset management. They are:

  • construction
  • operation
  • maintenance
  • refurbishment of assets and buildings.

But with most organisations at present keen on saving the day, planning for the future has become limited. Most organisations will not be able to extract maximum value from the prevalent building assets. Going forward, organisations must plan. They must have a plan that has policies and strategies that drive the achievement of asset standards and reducing life cycle costs.

In planning for the future, the following become essential.

  • Maintaining a systematic record of individual assets (an inventory)—e.g. acquisition cost, original service life, remaining useful life, physical condition, repair and maintenance consistency.
  • Developing a defined programme for sustaining the aggregate body of assets through planned maintenance, repair, and replacement.
  • Implementing and managing information systems in support of these systems.

We can help you make better use of scarce resources, balance cost, risk, opportunity and performance when delivering user’s needs, and be confident that assets, asset systems and processes are operating as intended throughout their lifecycle.

myfm has the capability and resources available to assist FM delivery teams and estate owners to make fact-based decisions which drive efficiencies in maintenance and put risk mitigation strategies in place whilst maintaining compliance across their estate.

We are typically asked to support our clients in the following areas:

  • Asset condition surveys (on site and remote).
  • Advise on strategic management plans (SAMPs) and policies.
  • Preparation of asset management plans.
  • Advise on Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) tools (selection and configuration).
  • Asset data configuration
  • Identification of assets critical to the organisation’s core function and tailoring maintenance regimes to ensure critical asset availability.
  • Implementation of SFG20 maintenance regimes.

myfm carried out an asset survey for a global consultancy and construction company with a major retail brand across 195 stores in the UK and Europe this summer. We used 10 highly qualified surveyors who worked remotely, given the travel restrictions we were all facing. Retail managers helped facilitate technology so the team could gather information via virtual floor walking at each site. The approach was so successful that we are confident it can streamline the way similar project are completed in future, particularly by reducing travel costs and travel time.

To find out more about the myfm approach to asset management contact Chris Knights – chris.knights@myfm.co.uk or Mané Lucas – mane.lucas@myfm.co.uk.

 

Why muddle through when you can triumph?

We all know the theory about why managers should delegate, and it is so much more than just off loading the jobs you don’t fancy doing yourself!

Delegation helps you focus your energy on the most important jobs in hand. Often, it provides the opportunity to get tasks completed by someone who can do a better job than you. And when you are overworked, stressed or simply getting a bit behind, it releases the bottleneck around your own capacity, enabling everyone to pull together as a team and succeed.

Put simply, if you want to be seen as a high achiever in today’s workplace you need to demonstrate you have what it takes to enable your whole team to do well and that involves delegation.

What lots of us are finding though is that in the current climate, when everyone is taking on more work and teams are getting leaner by the day, getting the balance right between what we do ourselves and what we delegate to others is getting trickier.

Put it another way, you are managing a team which is shrinking, and you have lost some of the specialist talent which you have relied on in the past. Do you try to complete these tasks yourself or pass them to someone else who is probably already overloaded with work and may not have fully developed the skills required? If you take this on yourself it will divert you from other work or increase the pressure and stress levels which you already face. But the alternative is probably a dissatisfied client when expectations are not fully met because standards of delivery have slipped.

Whichever option you choose will inevitably have a knock-on effect on your perceived performance, as well as that of your team. Can you afford that to happen, especially when you are trying not to rock the boat because you are worried about your own future?

These are the sort of real dilemmas playing out in FM teams today. But the thing is it doesn’t have to be this way, disadvantaging you, your career and your team’s success. The key is to have access to the right skills and experience when you need it most. You can turn on and off the specialist talent you require, only paying for what you need, through the interim placement market.

At myfm we will step in at short notice to fill a skills gap for a few days, a few weeks or even longer, if you wish. This means you can access the best quality skills and experience our industry can offer, enabling you as a manager to focus solely on how to meet immediate needs rather than trying to anticipate complicated scenarios about what the future might hold.

We have a bank of over 200 associates, ready and willing to provide the extra capacity you need. We also have a large number of FM specialists available, who are especially useful if you have had to lose a niche role during downsizing.

Times are tough, we all know that. But as a manager why compromise when it comes to your own success? We can help you develop the right skills mix around you, so you can enable your team to triumph over adversity, rather than simply muddle through and get the job done.

To talk to myfm about interim placement contact Ulf Muller – ulf.muller@myfm.co.uk.