To mark World FM Day 2021 - Celebrating FM: Standing tall beyond the pandemic, Facilitate is featuring the stellar operational workplace and facilities managers who continue to support their colleagues, organisation and broader economy.
What do you do?
I look after our global office facilities and workplace experience.
What attracted you to FM, and how did you get into the industry?
I fell into office and facilities management by accident; I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and started out as an administrator 15 years ago in some small family-run firms. I learnt a lot about how small businesses were run but found my passion was in just making things work for people. Seven years ago I started at a software company where I learnt to appreciate how environment and experience make a difference to people's lives and productivity. After about six months I had handled my first build-out and move and I knew that workplace management was my career.
How long have you been in your current role?
Seven months! I recently changed companies.
Do you see yourself predominantly as a task or a people manager?
Both. For the workplace team to create an engaging and inclusive environment, they need to be supported and empowered to do so. We work together towards making our offices a great place to work.
Would you describe your role as predominantly operational or strategic?
As we’re such a small team supporting distributed offices my role is both operational and strategic, I partner with our leadership team to understand how our workplaces support the company’s strategic goals and create objectives for the team to work towards. I also ‘muck in’ on these objectives, we’re in it together.
How many people are there in your FM/Workplace team, and to whom does the FM team ultimately report?
I have a team of three, two based in London and one in New York. We are part of the wider business operations team and ultimately report to the chief operating officer.
My top perk at work is…
I think my favourite perk is Depop’s prioritisation of wellbeing and mental health from subsidised counselling through to yoga. I know that’s not just one but it’s all about balance!
What has been your biggest career challenge to date?
Building two offices and getting married in the same year! My family had to get familiar with project management.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
For workplace and facilities management to be a part of the conversation at a strategic level, not an afterthought. We’re getting there!
Any interesting tales to tell?
I’ve swum in the Danube in three different cities; my favourite time was in Belgrade.
If I wasn’t in facilities management, I’d probably be… A struggling artist. I’ve recently discovered a love of lino printing.
Which “FM myth” would you most like to put an end to?
The main responsibility is building maintenance, FM jobs vary from organisation to organisation but what doesn’t change is the variety of the role.
What single piece of advice would you give to a young facilities/workplace manager starting out?
That everything you are doing makes people's work lives better, keep that in mind.
What was the weirdest day you’ve had in the office?
The day we shut down due to Covid-19 – it was like an apocalypse movie.
What FM job in the world would you love more than anything?
It’s cheesy, but this one! Looking after global offices for a fun, high-growth tech company where I’ve used the product.
And where would FM be an absolute nightmare?
Anywhere that emphasis is based on cost-cutting and not building great environments.
Your life outside FM mostly involves…
Going on cycling adventures around London – the city is becoming so much more cycle-friendly
Fiona Bennett is senior workplace manager at Depop