covid-19 update

Covid-19 Update!

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.




Why truly virtual workplaces will become a reality

As you jump from Google Docs to Dropbox to Slack you’re using new tools to do the same work. But what if a truly virtual workplace could digitise interactions, put everyone literally on the same page and revolutionise every step of a project from conception to completion?

Virtual collaboration has the potential to help us work faster, smarter, more strategically and more transparently than ever before. Opening up the virtual workplace for all has impacts in terms of productivity, innovation and problem-solving. Today, over 41 million employees will spend at least one day a week engaged in virtual working.

The advantages of the virtual workplace

Any organisation that wants to reduce costs and increase productivity is looking seriously at the virtual workplace. By engineering spaces that encourage open-ended creativity and collaboration, an organisation can create an always available virtual office that promotes innovative and more democratic ways of working that drive employee engagement and retention.

But sometimes it seems as if new tools and technologies are only encouraging us to improve the ways we work, rather than to become more productive and creative in the work we do. Moving the office to the cloud won’t fundamentally change the way we work - yet. But the advantages of reducing the real-world footprint by exchanging functional work for conceptual work is already happening and it has some real implications for facilities management.

Rethinking space

Knowledge working is the fastest growing sector in the 21st-century workplace and it’s forcing businesses to totally rethink their concept of space. That, in turn, has an impact on facilities management, making workplace planning more fluid and dynamic.

Because the virtual workplace allows for the seamless exchange of knowledge between employees, stakeholders and customers, FM should focus on re-engineering existing office spaces to follow suit.

Integrating technology and services

The virtual workforce is already here, characterised by their mobility and an anytime, anywhere approach to doing business. As the virtual workplace takes hold, facilities management will be required to provide totally reliable and consistent connectivity for a diverse range of devices. This will be powered by collaborative software and backed up with highly responsive support services including space reservation services and concierge systems.

Reconceptualising the office

Truly virtual workplaces are already becoming a reality, boosting production and saving valuable time in the delivery of project work. However, virtual workers still rely on real-world office space to accomplish certain specific tasks and that’s where real estate can be found wanting.

Successful bricks and mortar offices combine open and closed spaces, group and individual, unassigned and private. Getting the right balance is critical to translate the productivity gains of virtual collaboration into the real-world workplace.


The challenge for FM providers is to remain forward-facing in the way in which they manage the demands and needs of virtual workers. New competencies will be required alongside new ways of thinking about space. By managing the evolution of work and the virtual workplace successfully, facilities management can help to integrate virtual and real-world employees, reduce overhead costs and minimise the environmental impact of traditional styles of working and commuting.

The process has already begun and forward-thinking FM managers will be at the forefront of a change that will alter the workplace forever.

New year's career resolutions to make in 2020

New year's career resolutions to make in 2020!

Want to make your career in facilities management shine in 2020? You need to decide on realistic goals that can be achieved in a timely fashion throughout the coming year. If you want to start moving on and moving up, then these are the top career resolutions to make now.

Get into learning mode

Been doing the same FM job for a while and starting to coast? Now’s the time to switch your brain into learning mode and adopt a growth mindset. Even if the things you learn don’t directly relate to your skill set, it’s the attitude that matters.

Make an impact

Want to gain maximum visibility? Then pick the big high profile FM projects and make your contribution felt. Create your own opportunities rather than waiting to be invited to climb the next rung of the career ladder. Get some clarity on what you need to do to be considered for promotion and take steps to get there.

Step outside your comfort zone

Don’t get stuck in a rut. Make 2020 the year that you stretch your role and show some initiative. Whether you seek out a different role in one of the big facilities management projects on your patch or come up with your own ideas and find ways to implement them, taking on some new responsibilities is a cast-iron way to gain experience and become more valuable to your company.

Build a great relationship with your boss

When it comes to advancing your career, fostering a great relationship with your boss is paramount. Managing up is a smart strategy for developing that relationship, so find out what issues are keeping them up at night and find ways to ease the burden. Help your boss to hit their goals and chances are they’ll be more motivated to help you hit yours. Whatever the financial or performance targets they need to hit, be around to help them achieve their goals.

Manage across your team

When you’re working on team projects, the way you interact with your colleagues can make or break the chances of success. Always give credit where it’s due and make the effort to engage and build rapport. Giving emotional support can help you work as a team more effectively and build more meaningful and productive relationships in the long term.

Communicate better

One of the quickest ways to improve your profile is to improve your communication skills. Return calls and emails promptly, keep your colleagues updated, ask them about their own progress and projects and give thanks and credit where it’s due. If you’re going to be unavailable, let people know in a timely fashion.

Be open to new possibilities

Want to move up or move on in FM? Whether you’re happy or not in your current position, you should always have one eye out for new possibilities. See something that’s a good fit and you could open up a whole new career avenue so make sure your CV is up to date and uploaded.

Create a work-life balance

If you're miserable and demotivated at work then your career is liable to stall. Make this the year that you claw back some time for friends and family and don’t forget to take those holiday days to rebalance your life and career.


Make these year-end career moves before Christmas

The start of a new decade is a great time to reflect back on your career so far. A self-audit now will help you to focus on your FM career goals for the next decade without getting in the way of your celebrations. Here are the year-end career moves you need to make before Christmas because thinking about the big picture now will set you up nicely for a successful 2020.

Review your goals and achievements

If you had big plans for your facilities management career this year, did you achieve your goals? You may have started out on several new projects or decided to implement new procedures. Now is the time to assess whether you’ve achieved the goals you set yourself, especially if these were communicated to your boss.

Generate a list of your achievements and take time to quantify their impact. Recording the details and measurable outcomes of the last twelve months sets you up for performance reviews and a CV update in the New Year.

Assess your performance

Have you hit all the action points from your last performance review and made those positive changes? What mistakes did you make and what did you learn from them?

If there are action points you need to meet, start lining them up now. If things didn’t go as expected or you tried something new and it didn’t work out as you planned, reflect on what you learned from the experience and capture what you would do differently next time.

Check your development

How does your salary stack up with other employees in facilities management? What core strengths and skills do you need to develop to enhance your FM career?

If you’re being underpaid and you want to fight for the salary you deserve, focus on your personal and professional development heading into the New Year. You may need to pursue training or education to improve your skillset or talk with your boss about project opportunities you’d like to pursue. Your goals can also be personal; the soft skills you learn from having the resilience and discipline to run a marathon can be a foundation stone for long term success in your career.

Review your networks

Who are the most effective people in your professional network? Can you build and maintain relationships that can help with your career development?

This is the ideal time of year to reach out to your existing network and send them season’s greetings. Ask how you can help your champions, supporters and mentors to achieve their goals in the New Year. Now look beyond your existing network to discover ways you can diversify and expand your contacts. Join a professional association or a community of interest within your organisation to pursue common interests and expand your network of professional friends.

The end of the year is a great time to reflect on the state of your FM career and to focus on ways to move it forward. This is a natural time to celebrate what you’ve achieved and to decide where you want to get to in the next 12 months to hit the next rung on the career ladder.

Ever considered FM? Why it's time to make a career pivot

Ever considered a career in facilities management? If you’ve already enjoyed one career and feel it’s time for a pivot, FM could offer you the challenge and flexibility you crave. So how do you cut through biases and make the change to this exciting new career?

Do your homework

Once you decide to target a new career in facilities management, you’ll need to get up to speed with areas where your new industry is different so that you can make a frictionless transition. Learn the new jargon and acquaint yourself with best practice in FM so you can interview with confidence. Don't be afraid to point out ways of doing things differently to demonstrate your abilities.

Getting through the door

The key is to interview well - a laundry list of your achievements won’t convey to an interviewer the essential skills and qualities that you have to offer.

Address the bias

Bias doesn’t only exist in interviewers. To get the most out of your job search, you’ll need to address your own issues so that fear and anxiety don’t put you off pursuing your career pivot. Making a conscious effort to strip out the negatives in your own thinking will help you to improve your own actions and focus them clearly on your career objectives.

Network for success

Do you know anyone who’s recently made a similar career move? Get in touch to congratulate them and start networking - you never know what tips you’ll pick up. If you don’t know anyone personally, search out stories of successful career pivots that inspire and motivate you or use social media to make valuable connections.

Make the most of your advantages

Never assume that you’re too old for a new career. Instead, be prepared to play up all the advantages that your skills and experiences can lend you. The chances are you’ve weathered a few economic storms and have a proven track record in finding success even when the climate is against you. Focus on your experience, your career progress and your consistency in achieving excellent results.

Overcome objections

For employers, hiring experienced professionals from outside of the FM industry has a downside as well as an upside so be prepared to overcome objections by being realistic in your expectations. You may need to check your salary and managerial level and be prepared to take a step down in terms of remuneration and responsibility.

Facilities management is a sector that’s embracing technology at breakneck speed so be prepared to find yourself working with younger people who may have less experience in terms of time served but more experience on the job in its current form than you can offer.

This is not a regular job search

Don’t approach a career pivot in the same fashion as a regular job search. You’re moving out of an industry where your skills and experience really count to one where you can be at a disadvantage, however transferable your skills. Help recruiters by having a coherent career story to tell and a clear path into your new career. You’ll need to be able to identify exactly why you want to make the move and take any assignments seriously. This is your opportunity to show exactly why your new employers should consider you.

These trends are boosting sustainable buildings

Sustainability has been shaping the way we build for over two decades. But today’s facilities managers need to be looking beyond the green building to other trends that are enhancing the sustainability of our buildings.

The business case for sustainable change

Ultimately, what drives sustainable building design is profitability. Energy-efficient solutions and recyclability lead to operational savings, while robust solutions for high-quality construction are reflected in higher rents.

Facilities management lies at the heart of sustainable development. By reporting back on both the social value and economic performance of a building, FM contributes to better performance and sustainability while adding value to any project. Regulatory incentives are also driving the case for sustainable change and enabling FM to oversee new levels of environmentally friendly development.

Health and wellness

A focus on health and wellness in sustainable design is nothing new. But for businesses that want to attract the best millennial talent, it’s a very contemporary concern. For example, Indoor Air Quality monitoring seeks to control high concentrations of CO2 in the workplace and improve cognitive function throughout the day.

For facilities management, the integration of health and wellbeing into a development opens the door to conversations about other aspects of sustainable construction. The use of IoT technology to monitor air quality and improve productivity, for example, is expected to become integral to smart facilities management.

Circular and modular construction

With American construction companies sending an estimated 160 million tons of waste to landfill, there’s a growing interest in methods of circular construction. In Europe, buildings are increasingly designed as resource banks of materials that can be reused in future constructions.

Prefabricated or modular construction is another older construction method that has been revived to cut costs and waste, delivering construction projects on time and to budget.

Smart building technology

In terms of sustainable performance, tools such as computational fluid dynamics and energy modelling allow designers to move beyond conventional design. By focusing on the integration of smart technology and Distributed Energy Systems at the heart of design, these projects enable FM to gather and analyse information on how a building behaves in use and make adjustments accordingly.

Smart energy generation and control overheating and cooling in a building’s DES offers facility management ways to improve the security and reliability of a building’s energy while reducing costs.

Facilities management is at the heart of sustainable construction

To transition to sustainable construction, more companies need to look to waste reduction, including effective recycling and reuse of materials, life cycle policies and sustainability baked in at design level. Critical to tying sustainable policies and practices together is the implementation of facilities management.

The trend for smart high-performance buildings may safeguard the health and wellbeing of occupants but only FM can deliver the economic and efficient operation of that building over the long term. The combination of sustainable high-performance buildings with facilities management is set to add economic value while delivering on commitments to the sustainability and social responsibility of any business.