The dynamic workplace is already the “new normal” so what are the implications?

by Julian Harrison, Business Unit Director, myfm

Stay home – protect the NHS – save lives……Return to work if it is safe to do so…Work from home if you can….”

Despite the mixed messages the reality is stark and clear; most office buildings occupancy levels remain at 20% or less.

So where has everyone gone and what does this mean for business owners and property managers?

There have already been a number of redundancies and these will increase when the full furlough scheme ceases at the end of October. But this still leaves the majority of the office workforce now working remotely and for most people this means working from home. So, for business owners what does this mean and is it sustainable? If the office workplace is now at home, the employer still has a duty of care for the employee in the workplace…staff wellbeing and HR policy need to be reviewed and central to the strategy. Below are some key checkpoints to consider when considering a remote working strategy:

  1. Furniture & DSE assessment – A laptop stacked on 4 books on the kitchen table doesn’t really cut it and potential for employee absence due to back and neck issues followed by litigation claims is significant.
  2. Information & Communications Technology (ICT) – This area is in overdrive right now; the novelty of Zoom has long worn off – do your collaboration tools actually work and are your teams happy/prepared to use them? Have you even asked them?
  3. Travel – Dependant on office circumstances, this is potentially one of the highest risk environments – the government and many businesses are asking employees to avoid public transport. Are there alternatives? Is there a bike to work scheme and is this now inclusive of electric bikes? Car-sharing is probably not such a good idea!
  4. Alternative Remote Locations – Not everyone can work effectively from home; lack of space, young children and pets may make this difficult and frustrating. We are already seeing a swift rise in pop-up office spaces both in the high street and pubs, as people are seeking more than the ad hoc facilities available from the likes of Pret but don’t want to come into the office. Given the alternatives, could this approach be encouraged/supported if it provides a safe remote workplace?
  5. The Office – There are numerous guides and innovations available to create a safe working environment for those that need/want to come to the office. Based on Covid risk assessment there are some key FM changes underpinning this:
    1. Air conditioning moved from re-circulation to fresh air ventilation
    2. Cleaning changed from presentation to sanitisation
    3. Interaction changed from randomisation to one-way system
    4. Occupancy changed from maximisation to screened and socially distanced
  6. Property & Estates – This is no longer a short-term issue; most employees and most industry commentators agree that normal service will never be resumed! Now is the time to review leases and reconsider property & estates strategy in the mid and long term.

 

The workplace is evolving at a tremendous pace, which is why it is such an important time for business leaders to reassess property and FM solutions to make sure they continue to meet business ambitions.

Property and FM has a direct bearing on factors such as productivity, staff retention and client perception. Simple changes to configurations can often make all the difference when it comes to achieving cost savings, compliance and greater efficiency.

myfm practitioners, change managers and subject-matter experts can help you align your business vision with your property and FM solution. We will listen to you in order to understand your ambition, assess and analyse your current solution and design and implement a plan to ensure your business can survive and thrive.

For more information contact: julian.harrison@myfm.co.uk

Join myfm for an online seminar, hosted by RICS, on FM contracts in a changing workplace

Takes place Friday 23 October 2020, 1pm to 2pm.

Speaker is myfm Business Unit Director, Julian Harrison.

Facilities and workplace management has a significant impact on business success, impacting employee productivity, staff retention and client perception. The workplace is continuously evolving, with Covid-19 acting as a further accelerator of change. As business and industry seek to align FM contracts to the new normal this seminar will help property managers and clients navigate the challenges and opportunities faced in FM contracting.

Specific focus areas include:

  • The new normal – Post Covid trends in FM
  • The dynamic workplace – home v hub
  • FM Models – One size doesn’t fit all
  • Contracts – risk and opportunity.

Free for those with a RICS active CPD support package.

To book your place  – https://www.rics.org/uk/events/conferences-seminars/cpd-foundation-seminars/fm-contracts-changing-workplace/online/20201023/

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 – julian.harrison@myfm.co.uk

 

Be your own boss within our interim recruitment business

Few working in the recruitment industry doubt that we are in a period of major upheaval. So much has changed in 2020 – working practices, uncertainty about further lockdowns, the economy, greater reliance on online methods for selection and vetting – and all this is having an impact on the way firms are choosing to manage emerging skills gaps.

Despite all this uncertainty one thing looks pretty clear cut, there will continue to be a need for businesses to access top-class talent on an interim basis. The question is how they will choose to do so in future and how businesses like ours will adapt to meet their changing needs.

An exciting point in myfm’s journey

Following some changes in our team, we are looking for a new Business Unit Director to join myfm to help us navigate our way at this important time. Our new Business Unit Director will run their own business within our business and importantly, will help us shape the direction myfm will take.

We have already been operating for 16 years focusing on interim placement within the facilities management sector. During this time, we have developed a strong brand and reputation with many of the FM service providers and end-user clients in both the UK and Europe. But we do want our business to adapt and grow, and that is where you come in.

Welcome challenge?

We believe over the next few months we will probably see increasing demand for short-term and flexible appointments as the economy starts to stabilise again. We anticipate operating in an environment for some time yet, where people have less freedom to travel for work, especially from the areas hardest hit by Covid. Technology is already playing an important part in our day-to-day operations, but we are eager to learn more about how we can innovate further to maintain that competitive edge.

To succeed, you will also need more than five years’ senior interim management experience.

If these challenges excite you and encourage you to see opportunities where others see threats, and if you have the skills and experience then get in touch.

Be your own boss

Think of myfm as a buoyancy aid – you take the plunge using your skills, experience, contacts and a huge amount of commitment and hard work. We support you to succeed with the help of our established brand, exceptional reputation and central services such as resourcing, finance, marketing and administration, as well as access to over 200 associates to help deliver the contracts you will land.

Mike Bradley, Business Unit Director (BUD) for myfm says: “I would say being a successful BUD is all about work rate. The more effort you put in the more opportunities you get. This is an arrangement which really works for me because it provides me with an income and lifestyle which suits my needs.”

Ulf Muller, Managing Director and Business Unit Director for myfm says: “This is an exciting time for our business and a time when the right person, with the right entrepreneurial spirit can help us develop and grow.”

If becoming a new Business Unit Director sounds like you, contact Ulf Muller to have an informal chat ulf.muller@myfm.co.uk.

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