04th March 2020
Nathan works as a Facilities Manager at one of our client sites in London and has worked at Anabas for 6 months. Learn about his career as he answers questions on his journey so far…
1. Firstly, can you tell us about your career path and what’s led you to the role you’re in today?
I started my career at a Law firm and the Facilities Manager at the time had vacancies in his department for a dual role as a facilities and client support assistant (which in Anabas terms is essentially a Floor Captain and a receptionist in one). So, I applied for the role and was successful. . I like tinkering with things, so I naturally took over all M&E work which taught me a lot. From the Law firm I went on to work at my first FM company where I was given the role of an Operational Duty Manager at a large retail shopping centre. I managed a team of about 190 staff onsite in the following areas: internal cleaning, external cleaning, security, M&E concierge staff and road traffic management teams. I then realised that Retail is a very odd and damaging environment to be in. The centre was open 24 hours a day 365 days a year so there was always something happening. An opportunity later arose to work as a Facilities Manager at Anabas, and I’m so glad that I applied – I am glad of the change and I have learnt a lot over the last 6 months and feel valued.
2. What attracted you to the Facilities Management industry?
I served time in the Army, so I was used to demanding situations that most of us face in the FM industry. Crisis also doesn’t affect me much and I cope well under pressure. For me, FM is the perfect fit as I like to keep busy and love being challenged!
3. What does a typical day in the life of a Facilities Manager involve?
That’s quite a difficult question to answer, as for me each day is so varied (depending on the contract). Each day I will always catch up with all of my team members and audit the site/processes etc. I also have a lot of meetings with my clients. I love this aspect of my job as it allows me to continually work to improve the service, we provide.
4. Is there anything which surprised you about the FM industry when you first started? / Is there something you wish you’d have known before starting in FM?
I think the fact that there are so many intelligent and dedicated people in the industry, which are ‘behind the scenes’ and are completely hidden from others. Before joining a FM team, I just saw Facilities as the handymen and the cleaning staff. Now looking back, I can see how naive that was. We work in every sector and are normally the more critical part of a company’s operations. After all we do keep the lights running.
5. What do you love most about your job at Anabas / working in the FM industry?
Anabas is a different kind of FM provider, offering bespoke services to clients and I love being a part of that. I think the main difference between a previous employer and Anabas is that the Senior Leadership Team are around and know you as an individual rather than a number. They ask your honest opinions and listen by taking them on board to make changes to grow Anabas as a business and enhance the workplace environment. There aren’t many other companies I can think of that would willingly do that.
6. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
When I joined a large retail shopping centre, I took on quite a few dysfunctional teams that no-one wanted to manage. I remember standing in a briefing and introducing myself to the Internal Cleaning teams and I asked them what they wanted me to do as their Manager. I wanted to know their expectations, and no-one answered me. So, I let them go and I spoke to their supervisors who told me that the staff wouldn’t talk to me because I wasn’t ‘one of them’. I ended up putting my PPE on and I spent a week learning every cleaning role in the centre. By the end of the week I knew all the staff and the various problems they faced from occupational health issues to pay issues which they didn’t want to bring up. I think treating your staff with kindness and compassion is exactly how you create a great working environment and I’m pleased I was able to contribute in doing so.
7. What would you say are the biggest rewards about working in FM?
It’s a varied industry and there are no limits to where you can work.
8. What sort of things have you done to support your career development?
I have completed courses such as IOSH MS, IPAF MEWPS for managers, SIA DS & CCTV qualifications, Kiasu Red 3 Incident commander qualification. But I don’t think the training will ever stop there, as there’s always something new and exciting to learn about. At Anabas, Learning & Development is a priority. My manager is always wanting to invest in my future and career development.
9. What do you wish you’d known when you were starting out in your career?
Facilities Managers are very busy! You may assume that they are just sat there doing nothing on their computer, but they truly are flat out.
10. What do you think are the secrets behind getting to where you’ve got to?
Be passionate about what you do and have compassion for your staff. Learn everything you possibly can even if it doesn’t relate to what you do now, it might help later.
11. What skills do you feel are essential for someone interested in your role?
Communication skills, technical knowledge of basic M&E functions and the ability to listen to people. Listening is honestly your best asset in this industry, and it is incredibly important. So many people try to rush through meetings and then you end up emailing continuously for information. Just take a moment and listen.
12. What advice would you give young people who haven‘t quite decided on a career path yet?
So many people are rushed into deciding what they want to do for their entire life at the age of 16-18. Take your time and carefully explore every idea and potential option you have. I didn’t know what I wanted to do until I was in my Twenties and after I worked in a couple of different industries. Gain some work experience – even if voluntary to see if it’s something you can see a future in. Also, continue to develop your skills and knowledge with online courses, there are so many easily accessible resources available these days.
13. What advice would you give to young people who are wanting to come into FM?
The best piece of advice I could give is probably, learn something that can be useful later in life. If you learn now, you can decide later. Also, you’ll be paid to learn a valuable skill in a valuable industry. Do you like music? Well, those Music companies have Facilities staff… do you like Football? They also have Facilities teams! Take something you’re passionate about and turn it into a career in FM.
14. What are the prospects like within FM? What do you think the future will hold for the next generation?
The possibilities are endless. We truly do have the biggest network of talented staff, as I’ve said previously, we work in every industry and the majority of those industries would be crippled without us there to look after their infrastructure, contracts and staff.
Find out more information about working at Anabas and live vacancies here: www.anabas.co.uk/join-us/
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