Open-access content Wednesday 4th September 2013
Victoria O'Farrell, deputy chair, Women in FM, shares her story of joining the institute and bedding in to the world of FM.
4 September 2013
In 2008, I joined the BIFM to better understand the role of facilities management and the end users of buildings in which we work.
Five years later, I am still learning the role of a facilities manager as each and every new person I meet gives me a different aspect to the role. So it's not just about understanding an FM's role, but also the DNA of the organisation they work for.
The best way to truly get to know the world of FM is to not just join BIFM and read the industry press, follow the tweets, LinkedIn groupsand so on, but to actually go to the events and network. I have found the world of BIFM to be one of the most open memberships I have.
FMs want to share with you what they know and how they do i, because they are also looking for partners to work with. The better you understand them, the better the partnership will be.
If you have never attended a BIFM event, it can be a daunting experience: a room of peers; "maybe no-one will talk to me"; "how do I know what other people do?" Don't think about it, just do it. Book an event - there are plenty to be found on the BIFM website. Each event will have a lead contact name, and if you don't want to be daunted, you can always break the ice by dropping them an email and explaining that this will be your first event, you don't know many other people in the industry and would like to network more. This way the committee can ensure they look out for you and introduce you to new people.
When you arrive, you will more than likely find other 'first-timers', but what you will definitely find are other like-minded individuals that are all there to learn and network, to learn what works well, what doesn't, understand issues and ways to solve them, find new ways of working. You may think you have nothing to contribute, but when you start talking to other people, you'll soon find you have loads to give, each day is a learning experience in FM and the more we share with our other FM colleagues the more we enjoy our daily roles.
Being a BIFM member is like having 13,500 other colleagues - except we all have a different email address. We truly are a friendly group of like-minded individuals who want to promote the FM profession as a career of choice, not just for school or college leavers, but for those who are thinking of making a career move.
Valued members of staff are key company assets and they need a workspace to do that in; without FM that workspace can't function.
FM is a pivotal role in any organisation. If you are in a small company and an FM team of one - you have 13,500 other team members in the BIFM.
Victoria O'Farrell is deputy chair, Women in FM
You can view all BIFM events at www.bifm.org.uk/events. If you are interested in volunteering for BIFM, or joining the Institute, contact the Membership Team on +44 (0)1279 712 650 / [email protected]