Mental health awareness week

An update from Catch22 on Mental Health

On World FM Day last week, Catch 22 acknowledged what a fitting time it was to celebrate an industry and workforce on the front line against COVID-19. This week we are keen to connect with colleagues in the facilities management community to highlight Mental Health Awareness Week and this year's theme, Kindness.

The pandemic means there is added significance this year: our way of life has changed so dramatically in such a short period of time and we wanted to take this opportunity to encourage all our workers, candidates, clients and staff to think about how they can contribute. Here are some suggestions of how you can offer kindness to others.

At home and in your community:

  • Call a friend who you haven't spoken to for a while
  • Ring someone who is on their own, or video call them
  • Offer to help an elderly or vulnerable neighbour
  • Check on someone you know who is going through a tough time

At work:

  • Remember to say hi to colleagues and ask how they are
  • Offer to support colleagues who may not be familiar with technology you have used
  • Lend your ear - listen to your colleague who is having a bad day
  •  Say thank you to a colleague who has helped you

Don't forget to look after and be kind to yourself as well - it's been a tough time for everyone. Having to spend too much time at a desk and on a PC, I find being outside and walking long-ish distances with the dog helps enormously to reflect and clear the mind - you will have your own way of staying well but do consider:

  • Prioritising some "me" time so you can relax and reflect
  • Keeping to a schedule that has a healthy pattern but free of restraints
  • Learning a new skill
  • Treating yourself every now and again - you deserve it!


There is still so much uncertainty at the moment but all of us here at Catch 22 are committed to supporting and having a positive impact in the communities we service and the causes we support.

Be kind

Are you prepared for the new building safety standards?

If you’re in facilities management, are you ready for the new building safety standards? Regulatory bodies expect the sector to be ready to undertake the remedial activity and meet compliance needs ahead of new legislation. These are the measures FM's should be considering immediately.

Building safety: measure, review, improve

Not every building currently falls under the remit of the Building Safety Regulator. Developing an asset management plan will help prioritise works in line with new best practice guidelines.

As a result of the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry, key recommendations and guidance have been issued for safety related measures and necessary remediation. These include:

- Removing unsafe materials
- Remediating unsafe wall systems
- Updating fire risk assessments with particular focus on fire resistance of external cladding and fire doors
- Testing fire doors every 3 months in order to confirm that self-closing devices are working correctly
- Reviewing and testing fire fighting equipment and systems
- Reviewing emergency fire procedures including personal evacuation plans for any residents who need assistance

New statutory functions and duties

The new regime will see the creation of the statutory roles of Building Safety Manager and Accountable Person. And while these roles can be performed by legal entities, competent individuals will be required to perform the BSM role. In addition, the accountability of the AP is non-transferable.

Both roles will be required to be registered with the BSR, requiring your facilities management team to have the capacity and expertise for these roles.

A competence framework for the BSM role has already been developed. But your FM team will need a person with the skills and expertise to meet the specified competence requirements.

It’s well worth investing in upskilling and training for your entire team to raise awareness of the new liabilities and responsibilities. You’ll need to have sufficient funding and resources available to build the competence and capacity to fulfil the new statutory requirements.

Systems and information

- Sufficient information will be cascaded to the relevant people. They will then plan and implement actions that can be measured and evidenced to demonstrate that they meet the needs of the new regulatory body
- New information requirements include the safety case for fire and risk management, the digital ‘golden thread’ of building info and the emergency services information box.
- The implementation of a clear engagement strategy for residents and building users. This should include relevant fire safety information

If your FM team isn’t yet engaged in an information-gathering exercise, this is the time to start. You should also revisit or start developing and implementing an engagement strategy that meets the requirements of the new regulations.

Stay up to date

It’s vitally important that your facilities management team stays up to speed with all the developments as the new regime is implemented. The initial focus will be on structural and fire safety in all multi-occupied buildings exceeding 18 metres or six storeys.

Facilities management teams in the sector will need to focus on developing capacity and skills, engagement and information gathering exercises before the full implementation of the new regime.

World facilities managers day

World Facilities Management Day

Today is World FM Day: the day of the year when we recognise the vital work that FMs and the FM industry contribute to business worldwide. It aims to raise the profile of the FM profession anywhere that FMs influence the health, safety, productivity and well-being of people who utilise the built environment.

And what a fitting time to acknowledge an industry and workforce on the frontline against COVID-19 together with the teams wrestling with the challenges of devising and implementing return to the workplace plans.

Many of our clients in the critical sectors have continued to operate effectively in extremely difficult circumstances and, here at Catch 22, I am pleased with the way that our team has collaborated with those customers and adapted quickly to meet their needs. It's been a tough couple of months: new ways of working, extending homeworking, introducing online registrations, video interviewing and compliance - all the time ensuring the wellbeing of employees, workers and clients is paramount.

Now, we are ready to help those who are planning a way out of lockdown to do so safely. There is plenty of guidance out there on the reopening and reoccupying of buildings but Catch 22 are very much here to support your labour/skills/talent back to work strategy. I would be really interested to hear your thoughts around the main challenges and equally keen to share with you how we have tackled the last 2 months and are now wrestling with the irreversible trends and developments in [recruitment] technology whilst staying true to our values of collaboration, capability, compliance and community.

Back to World FM Day first though. Facilities Management is fast becoming the New Emergency Service during the coronavirus pandemic and, on this World FM Day, from all of us at Catch 22,

Thank you to the whole FM community for all you do every day.

fire alarm on the wall

UK Government releases new fire safety bill

New government legislation is set to improve fire safety in England and Wales. Put in place to amend the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, the new bill places a legal requirement on the owners of residential buildings to inspect all fire doors and cladding. This comes in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the subsequent inquiry.

Grenfell recommendations

The proposed change to the existing legislation is a result of recommendations made by Sir Martin Moore-Bick during phase 1 of the inquiry. The initial report recommends that statutory checks be made at not less than three-monthly intervals. Under the new bill, fire and rescue services will be empowered to hold building owners to account and enforce the checks if necessary.

There was some initial reluctance from the government to make fire door checks a legal requirement, seeming to recommend only that routine checks be made. But the new bill is intended to swiftly implement the Grenfell recommendations and significantly increase fire safety.

Other recommendations from phase 1 of the inquiry include:

- Regular lift inspections
- Ensure entrance doors where unsafe cladding is in place comply with fire safety standards
- Clear and easy to understand fire safety instructions
- Review and regularly update evacuation plans

This bill is seen as a stepping stone towards implementing secondary legislation to fully implement these recommendations.

Does the bill go far enough?

While industry bodies cautiously welcomed the legislation, others feel that the checks don’t go far enough when it comes to high usage fire doors in public areas or those that have a vital role in fire safety. Should fire doors at risk of damage or in particularly vulnerable and high risk areas be subject to a risk based approach rather than a time limited one?

By throwing the responsibility for fire door checks onto building owners and FM professionals, it remains to be seen to what extent government will play a regulatory role in fire safety going forward. A Building Safety Bill has been promised with provision for a new building safety regulator but in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis it’s uncertain when such legislation will make it onto the statute books.

Implications for facilities management

So what are the implications for FM managers and how can industry professionals implement fire safety in their buildings? Responsibility for fire door inspection looks set to become a statutory duty for all managed residential buildings which is why implementing best practice for fire safety now will put you ahead of the game.

Routine maintenance should already be in place, ensuring that building assets don’t deteriorate and present a fire risk. Regular and consistent fire drills and other safety routines will ensure that you and your team have access to safety equipment and be skilled in its deployment should the worst happen. Storing relevant information in the cloud so it's accessible to professionals and residents alike is another smart step in implementing best practice in fire safety for your building. Planning for emergency traffic flow through your building will help residents move safely towards emergency exits.

Taking a risk based approach to fire safety in your residential building will ensure that you’re already future proofed. And building owners and managers now have the clarification they need to better safeguard their residents.

lady wearing a mask

Should FM managers be classed as 'key workers'?

Who is a ‘key worker’? It’s a question that’s critical where FM is concerned. With the need to keep buildings secure, well maintained and above all clean, facilities management is arguably now more important than ever.

Safe and operational

In these unprecedented times, FM has a critical role to play in keeping essential buildings operational and safe. But that’s not currently reflected in government thinking and facilities managers are not currently listed as key workers along with cleaners and waste management operatives. Fears are that if facilities management and associated roles are not recognised as critical workers now then hygiene standards will drop when FM should have a positive role to play in the response to COVID-19.

Essential buildings, essential workers?

Buildings that are essential in the crisis include hospitals, schools and banks, all of which need to be kept clean and well maintained. Even temporarily unoccupied buildings need to be kept secure and operational to in readiness for business continuity. In addition, waste management and HVAC maintenance are critical to ensure that infestations and the threat of Legionnaires disease are minimised.

So if buildings can be considered essential, why not the facilities managers who undertake this critical work? While tighter social distancing and isolation measures are quite rightly in force, should FM managers maintain the right to work and access their buildings to provide these essential services? That’s the question the IWFM is asking of the government.

Critical to the COVID-19 response

In a letter to the Secretaries of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, IWFM CEO Linda Hausmanis makes two urgent demands:

- That facilities management professionals be considered as key workers under the latest government guidance
- That these professionals and their contractors be able to attend their buildings and continue to ensure they are safe and well maintained even in the event of stricter social distancing measures

The bigger picture is that these professionals play a critical role in keeping buildings clean and well maintained in sectors regarded by government as key to the Covid-19 response. In some cases, this essential maintenance and repair work fulfils a statutory duty. The industry body is also asking that facilities professionals be allowed to determine the teams and contractors that are critical to achieving safe and healthy outcomes for those key workers using these buildings.

The IWFM is asking professionals to share their experiences of managing the coronavirus crisis by email to This information can then be used to support and inform other facility managers across the profession.

Professional resources

If you’re a facility management professional looking for the latest guidance and information to stay ahead of the curve, the IWFM has put together a set of Covid-19 resources which can be found at Alongside the latest advice from government and public health authorities, the industry body has collated a range of valuable resources from across business and other partner organisations.

To help you keep delivering essential services, you’ll find information on business continuity plans, shutdown, partial occupancy and restarting plus security, stress and wellbeing and best practice guidance. Sound management of the critical infrastructure that business and key workers depend upon demonstrates beyond all doubt that FM professionals deserve to be included as part of the UK’s critical workforce.

covid-19 update

Covid-19 Update!

**UPDATE** 20th May 2020

An update from Catch22 on Mental Health

On World FM Day last week, Catch 22 acknowledged what a fitting time it was to celebrate an industry and workforce on the front line against COVID-19. This week we are keen to connect with colleagues in the facilities management community to highlight Mental Health Awareness Week and this year's theme, Kindness.

Read more here:…on-mental-health/

**UPDATE** - 13th May 2020
Today is World FM Day: the day of the year when we recognise the vital work that FMs and the FM industry contribute to business worldwide. It aims to raise the profile of the FM profession anywhere that FMs influence the health, safety, productivity and well-being of people who utilise the built environment.

And what a fitting time to acknowledge an industry and workforce on the frontline against COVID-19 together with the teams wrestling with the challenges of devising and implementing return to the workplace plans.

Read the full article here:


In these very strange and rapidly changing times, we want to reassure you that Catch 22 have robust business continuity plans in place to ensure we are able to support those clients and candidates requiring our services and advice.

Paramount is the wellbeing of our employees, clients and candidates and we continue to adapt our plans taking into account guidance from government and health experts. Steps have been taken to preserve the supply of temporary staffing and permanent recruitment whilst maintaining the highest levels of compliance.

Communication is key as the impact of coronavirus deepens. If you have any questions at all regarding our current service, a potential requirement or simply need some advice on the current staffing situation please do not hesitate to speak to your usual contact. Vince and I are also always happy to have a conversation and support in any way we can.

We are your Recruitment Consultants.

Friendly female receptionist

Etiquette tips for your reception team!

First impressions count. It might be a cliché but what your lobby and your reception team communicate to potential clients can make all the difference. Don’t be tempted to skip over reception etiquette; facilities management has a responsibility to help any business set the tone and create the right atmosphere in their facilities.

Take a few minutes to view your reception area from the eyes of a guest. You may have a great website and plenty of clients but these office etiquette tips will ensure that your reception is clean, efficient and impressive to best represent your business.

Be clean and organised

Now more than ever, a clean and well-organised reception area will pay dividends. If you provide reading materials and magazines related to your business, make sure that your reception team keeps them tidy and properly stacked to create the most positive first impression.

Provide hand gel and keep high touch areas properly sanitised. Keep the area free of rubbish and provide recycling bins as a reminder of your eco-credentials.

Create a relaxing atmosphere

Plants, comfortable seating and music can all help to create time out from the stressful nature of busy lives. Any sounds or visuals should be displayed in a way that is thoughtful and relaxing, allowing clients to hold a conversation without having to raise their voices.

Don’t be tempted to use overly strong scent diffusers or sprays in the reception area as these can trigger allergies or just feel a little overwhelming.

On the other hand, an easily achievable etiquette tip is to provide complimentary refreshments. A bean to cup coffee machine makes an instantly positive impression, while snacks should be healthy fruit or branded promotional sweets that create a lasting impression. Always provide water and keep the refreshments area well stocked and sparkling clean. It’s an investment that will pay dividends in the long run.

Provide clear traffic flow

FM isn’t just about maintaining the physical environment. Facilities management relates to all operations relating to the organisation or business, including the flow of people within the building. Making sure that pathways are clear and that there are visual clues to indicate how a client should check-in makes new visitors more comfortable.

That means providing clear signage so that visitors are aware of restrooms and other amenities as well as the location of stairs, lifts, meeting rooms and offices. Creating a clear traffic flow not only helps the reception area to be more efficient and productive but welcomes new visitors by giving them a clear sense of direction and travel through the building.

The right welcome

Having the right person behind the desk to welcome clients and customers is probably the best etiquette tip there is. This is the first interaction that many guests will have with your business so your reception team needs to be professional, polite and welcoming. Ensure that proper training is given in all automated visitor management systems and that they can stay calm under pressure.

Does your reception area tick the right boxes?

Creating the right impression from the off should be of the utmost importance to your organisation. FM has a primary role to play in ensuring that the reception team follows office etiquette and creates the warmest welcome for every potential client.

Wasted office energy costs buildings £60m a year

Wasted office energy costs buildings £60m a year

Just a few thousand office blocks across the UK are wasting enough energy to power 100,000 homes. That’s the conclusion of a recent report by the Green Alliance that names the Capital as the worst offender. As concerns around the sustainability and environmental performance of our buildings mounts, can facilities management professionals afford to ignore these issues?

The scale of the problem

Energy wasted by offices in the City of London could power 65,000 homes, equivalent to a town the size of Kingston Upon Thames. Not only is there a significant financial cost of £35 million a year, but the carbon emissions are equivalent to nearly 50,000 cars.

The picture doesn’t change when you move outside London, with the energy wastage from 3,000 office buildings in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol amounting to £25 million in unnecessary bills and enough energy to power 42,000 homes.

What’s the solution?

The challenge for FM account managers is to tackle the problem head-on to make financial and environmental savings in the short and long term. There are obvious easy wins, for example, AI energy optimisation systems could reduce energy use by up to 14% in a commercial building with a payback on the investment in just months. In the City of London alone, that could represent as much as a £13 million saving within a year.

Better digital technology is an obvious solution when FM managers want to make financial savings and reduce carbon emissions. The use of smart sensors and algorithms allows facilities management to track energy usage in a building and modulate to suit business needs, significantly improving energy performance.

The Australian way

FM project managers would do well to follow Australia’s lead. For the last 13 years, the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) has worked consistently to reduce energy use by Australian office buildings by almost 40%. This has been achieved by a combination of employing digital technologies and the annual disclosure of each building’s energy performance. This has created year on year improvement across the sector.

It’s estimated that a similar programme implemented across the City of London would reduce carbon emissions and bring down business energy bills by a total of £367 million over the next decade.

Reducing energy waste

Using energy efficiently is a simple and effective way to reduce costs and work towards sustainability. By retrofitting LED lighting and HVAC systems in older buildings, a 30% reduction in energy usage can be made. Effectively using occupancy sensors and timers for interior and exterior lighting is another simple win for facilities managers.

Key to energy efficiency is well-managed maintenance. A CMMS (Computerised Maintenance Management System) can plan and track maintenance to ensure the functionality, safety and energy efficiency of any commercial building.

Achieving the zero-emissions goal

The Committee on Climate Change says that cutting waste energy is critical if the UK is to achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2050. The Government is already on course to miss its 2030 target of reducing energy usage by business by at least a fifth.

Digital technology is an obvious and quick win when it comes to tracking and reducing energy use across your property portfolio. Is your FM strategy up to the challenge of cutting carbon emissions and business costs?

Stress at work

5 causes of office stress

We’re all more aware than ever as to the harmful effects of stress. A recent report claimed that over 70% of FM managers admit to feeling moderate stress during their working day, while 14% describe themselves as very stressed. It’s hardly surprising, considering the variety of challenges that facilities management personnel face on a daily basis. These are the five most common causes of stress in the workplace:

1. Overwork

This is one of the most common causes of workplace stress. In fact, 59% of FM managers said that feeling that they never had enough hours in the day was their primary cause of stress. The pressure to overwork doesn’t always come from your boss, either. In some cases, you can be the one who decides they just have to keep the pressure on and keep working.

2. Coworkers

Bullying and harassment from coworkers can make your life a misery and are a major contributing factor to stress in the workplace. This kind of behaviour can also lead to mental health issues that can be challenging to overcome.

3. The wrong job

Facilities management can be an incredibly varied and challenging career that has something for everyone. But if you’re feeling stressed out for no reason, you could be working in the wrong field. If you’re happier interpreting data but your work mainly involves scheduling maintenance it could be time for a switch.

4. Work environment

Most FM managers are used to working in challenging environments. But there are plenty of everyday frustrations that can lead to work stress including not having the most up to date tools and equipment for the job. 50% of facilities managers complain of a lack of resources, while 34% deal with unreliable building systems that contribute to stress.

5. Lack of support network

Working in facilities management can sometimes be isolating, leading 24% of managers to describe their job as a thankless one. A lack of resources can leave you dealing with complex problems alone which can lead to further stress.

Is all stress bad for you?

If you’re thinking that the solution to your work stress is a good long holiday, then think again. Science has revealed that the moments when we are happiest are the moments when we face big challenges and overcome them. When we tackle something right at the limit of our abilities and pull through. In fact, a certain level of moderate stress, otherwise known as eustress, can be an energising and beneficial force.

But how can you avoid the kind of chronic stress that can really take a toll on mind and body?

Stress reduction in FM

Stress reduction for facilities managers is often a question of being aware of three things: being clear what’s required in your job, having the skills to do it and feeling in control over the way you achieve your goals.

Focus upon creating a work environment with clear lines of communication where people are both comfortable in asking for help and empowered to create their own ways of working. As a manager, you need to be able to motivate your team in the face of a challenging situation. By encouraging them to see what lies ahead not as stressful but as exciting and fulfilling, you can harness stress for great outcomes.

Creating A Good First Impression

All constructive relationships require an introduction whether this is formal or informal, personal or business-related. Within this introduction, you have about 30 seconds to make your impression that could define your relationship.

In personal relationships, you will usually have plenty of time over the next weeks, months or years of your life to shake off those first impressions, but when it comes to business relationships that first impression could mean the gain or loss of a client, sale or getting a new job.

While throughout this meeting in which you are making your first impression, you may have great knowledge and personality to show, your audience will have already obtained an opinion of you.

Being Trustworthy Is Key

Studies have shown that one of the first things people determine about you is trustworthiness, the study also showed that people usually decide this in just one-tenth of a second. When it comes to the determination of trust it showed things like having more feminine features, happy expressions and baby-like features were all considered to make subjects more trustworthy.

Be Engaged And Make Eye Contact

Just because you are sitting in front of someone that doesn't mean that you are interested or even engaged with the conversation. You have to show them that you are interested, ask relevant questions, ask about themselves, don't be too serious, but keep it professional and always keep good eye contact.

People Remember How You Made Them Feel

People always remember most how you made them feel, if you had an interesting chat, the conversation flows well and there are some laughs thrown in, chances are they will remember you more than someone who was quiet and didn't say much. Tell them why you are passionate about what it is you do or want to do. Seeing someone passion for what they do inspires others and is a great trait when looking to build a relationship.

Don't Forget The Pleasantries

Make sure that upon arriving or leaving that you don't skip pleasantries, holding the door open, shaking hands, introducing other people in the room. Remember to smile and use their name, this shows that you are listening and are engaging. People like to hear their own name, it adds a more personal touch.