Being the Customer Relations Manager at The Xenon Group, and assisting customers in choosing/enrolling on their perfect BIFM Qualification, my employers believed it would be beneficial to have an understanding of an operational role within the FM Industry. Therefore, they kindly organised a few site visits for me and my colleuage, Megan Rawlins to attend. The idea was to shadow individuals in their FM role and compare these roles between the varying different sites. As part of this we were lucky enough to be linked up with Pareto FM and visit three of their operational sites in London.
We’d heard some great things about Pareto FM and their approach to Facilities Management so were excited to see it for ourselves. In summary, if there is one key theme that really resonated with me during my time with Pareto FM Staff, it’s that Facilities Management is not about organising space, office moves and toilet block leaks, it is actually all centred around People; making people happy and being totally customer focussed.
“I get the satisfaction of this job because you’re helping everyone, keeping everyone happy” Scott Bennett, Pareto FM. The quote above is from Scott who we met at our first venue. Scott began as an intern for 3 months, and is now discovering further opportunities within the FM Sector because of the skills and experiences he has learnt along the way – the beauty of FM (even if most people do simply ‘fall into’ the role). When we arrived at the first site which is a world famour serach engine. We were swiftly taken under the knowledgeable wings of Lee - an engineer by trade, who often falls into an FM Role on a daily basis. Lee took us on a walk around of the floors of the site. On our tour of the floors we were taken into the kitchen area, where we learnt all food and beverages were free … yes FREE! Free food for all staff – wow! We spoke to Andre, the Catering Manager, who explained it costs a few million pounds a year for this service, it may sound a lot of money, but the standard of food was incredible!
However, there is logic behind it… the staff don’t need to spend money or time bringing their food into work, they therefore don’t need to leave work to go outside the building to buy breakfast or lunch. Thus, more time spent inside the building, increasing productivity and work load.
After taking advantage of this fantastic service and grabbing some lunch, we were kindly escorted to the next site which is the home of one of the most successful mobile phone games in the world. We arrived at site and were met by the wonderful Wayne. Wayne took us on the grand tour of the site. I think it is fair to say, the first 15 minutes I was there, I didn’t really hear anything Wayne said – my brain couldn’t believe what I was seeing, in an OFFICE!? From a stair case intertwined with ivy and flowers, a gaming area, theatre and inspirational break out areas, to desks specifically made for the bespoke needs of the client staff, you could tell this wasn’t like any other standard office space. My particular favourite area was the sound proof music room, where staff members were encouraged to leave their desks and take advantage of… It didn’t take me long to jump on the drums and compare myself to Phil Collins.
When we arrived at Wayne’s desk and met a couple of the FM Team, we quickly had to head back out to collect some phones from I-Correct, which had gone in for repair. Of course, the client being an app creator, need plenty of phones to test the games and apps on. This client has 18 offices worldwide, and we met the Project Manager, who oversaw their creation. The PM said out of all of the offices across the world, her favourite one is situated in Singapore, as the majority of it was created using recycled wood – what an example of sustainability! The offices also offered staff of about 450, free food and beverages.
Having explored the offices and shadowed Wayne for a few hours, we were on our way, feeling full of information from offices which displayed pure juxtaposition, yet excited, ready for our final site visit the following day… the Zoo!
After experiencing the typical London rush hour traffic, in the typical British weather, we arrived at where we thought was near the Zoo. We paced up and down the main street numerous times, speaking to various people, before we saw the Giraffes peaking over the trees. We must be in the right place! We were met by Debbie at the West Entrance of the Zoo and taken up to the Offices which are shared by Pareto FM Staff and staff who work directly for the Zoo. After reading through the induction pack and signing a few important forms, we shadowed Debbie for a while on the Help Desk.
It was fascinating to hear that not only do the FM Staff have to look after the staff and workers at the Zoo, they also have to look after the home owners… all types of animals! Not to mention the public who pile in on a daily basis as well. It really resonated with myself how different the FM Roles here are in comparison to other sites, such as the ones we visited yesterday. I think people forget that all buildings require maintenance and managing, regardless of their purpose. My ears pricked up when we were informed about the two different sound alarms and what to do if they ring – one was a fire alarm which requires everyone to leave the building. The other alarm was one many other workplaces won’t have… an ‘animal on the loose’ alarm! When this alarm rings it suggests an animal has escaped and everyone has to get inside the building!
After a short while inside the offices, we got the opportunity to shadow some FMs. We quickly put on our steel toed boots (because high heels and flip flops were not appropriate footwear), and followed Jack and Terry out to the yard and ‘backstage’ of the Zoo. We saw the aquarium conservation area, where I fell in love with all the Sea Horses. After that, we explored the grounds of the Zoo, where I have to say, other than being in all the enclosures up close and personal with the animals, I was in my element!
After a long couple of days, our Pareto FM journey had come to an end! What a great couple of days it was. I would like to say a huge thank you to Andrew Hulbert for organising the site visits. It has been very beneficial, interesting and most of all, fun! Everyone we met at all three locations could not speak highly enough of Pareto FM and Andrew.We look forward to returning in the future!
Melissa Howland & Megan Rawlins
The Xenon Group