'A bit about you' finds out what it's like behind the job for the diverse workplace and facilities managers that make up this profession. Here we meet Matthew Vanstone, FM support consultant at Thomson FM.
What do you do?
I am an FM Support Consultant working for Thomson FM in the North West of England.
What attracted you to FM, and how did you get into the industry?
I did a Property and Facilities Management Degree at University and then got a FM graduate placement scheme at EMCOR UK.
How long have you been in your current role?
I have been in my current position for Four months.
Do you see yourself as predominantly a task or a people manager?
I would like to think a mix of both, completing the task in hand and managing client expectations at the same time.
Would you describe your role as predominantly operational or strategic?
My role is very much a strategic position, mainly looking at high level client problems and trying to solve them the best way we know how.
How many people are there in your FM/workplace team, and to whom does the FM team ultimately report?
We are a tight-knit group of 10 consultants, all ultimately reporting into the MD Roger Thomson.
My top perk at work is…
Having an employer that genuinely cares about you. That and the dogs in the office are always good for morale!
What has been your biggest career challenge to date?
It has to have been my Operational Manager role straight out of my graduate scheme, managing a large total FM commercial real estate portfolio from Newcastle to Northampton was a baptism of fire, but I loved the challenge.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
That FM needs to be considered right at the top of every organisation as an integral part of every business.
Any interesting talks to tell?
Not FM related but I have once appeared on Holidays from Hell.
If I wasn’t in facilities management, I’d probably be…
In the Police or Fire Service.
Which FM/workplace ‘myth’ would you most like to put an end to?
That Facilities Management is all just changing lightbulbs and fixing air conditioning, real Facilities Management can provide so much value to businesses.
What advice would you give to a young facilities/workplace manager starting out?
Pay attention, don’t be afraid to ask questions and be inquisitive.
What was the weirdest day you’ve had in the office?
First day managing a large office building and the security team and accidentally evacuating 3,000+ people. There were some red faces that day.
Early bird or night owl?
Very much an early bird; my day starts with a 5:30am workout.
What FM job in the world would you love more than anything?
Sounds cheesy, but I am in it!
And where would FM be an absolute nightmare?
Anywhere that is very high risk. Do submarines have Facilities Management?
Your life outside FM mostly involves…
Renovating my house at the moment so every hour outside of work is spent doing that.