Whilst I take a short breather over a cool glass of wine on a Sunday evening, I reflect on the previous week’s events in my role as a mother whose recent work-life was within FM.
In both roles I have facilitated my client currently my partner (and service user children) in focusing on the supportive functions in their lives. My work has without question freed him from the burden of how to maintain his ‘Englishman’s Castle’ and has enabled him and my service users to reach their true potential in their respective primary goals.
I provide Total Facilities Management services to a household which is a hive of buzzing activity and therefore calls for a highly efficient functioning support structure. From a practical point of view it is my responsibility to ensure that the environment in which my Client operates is optimally functional, aesthetically pleasing, clean and secure, comfortable, financially efficient and complies with current legalisation. Within this framework it is necessary to minimise and manage risk, operate to a budget, meet deadlines, manage conflicting and changing priorities sometimes requiring my simultaneous work on tasks whilst maintaining an air of control and warm engagement with my acquaintances.
In addition to my gentle chivvying, my contribution ensures the continuous supply of fresh laundry, the timely removal of various types of waste, the endless chauffeuring; back and forth of afterschool and weekend activities, nutritious and interesting meals are presented throughout the day, invoices are checked then paid, gutters cleared, gardens maintained, the roof is effectively repaired, light bulbs replaced and whole rooms redesigned.
For this arrangement to work, my client, (my husband) and I work in partnership for our mutual benefit and that of our children, The arrangement is assisted by our shared values and culture, both striving toward a long term vision. We buy into the plan to reach our long term goals and like any organic entity this is subject to review and renegotiation from either side.
Having presented the case, especially the benefits of outsourcing hotel service activities such as cleaning and laundry my client chose to remain in-house considering there to be higher quality and less expensive. I continue to work on this case, to be eventually added to those already outsourced as maintenance, window cleaning and gardening.
The need to deal with change also comes into play in both circumstances. Over a period I had noticed a significant increase in demand for both the desktop computer and desk space within the home at various times throughout the day. Projecting that this situation should become worse something needed to happen before others noticed and tempers became frayed.
The existing setup had been the combination of a basic metal table for the computer and the dining room table fulfilled a dual role for mealtimes and that of a work desk. Using the principal of ‘hot-desking’ I re-configured two rooms and successfully convinced my client to fund the fit-out project of one. My plans freed up space to include an aesthetically pleasing workstation (serving as an ergonomically functioning desk and computer station with additional storage capacity for stationary and files), all in an environment that facilitates focused thought.
Success of the project required putting forward an initial business case for change, including the benefits and any drawbacks to the stakeholders with the aim of obtaining support. After endorsement, my project plan was put into action for the required works within the active household; to be carried out over ten working days. With high stakes as that of my Client’s and my own reputation, credentials of any suppliers were scrutinised to minimise risk and ensure that their activities would assimilate into our world. Throughout the works process subcontractors were managed, stakeholders received continual updates with minimal disruption, no accidents occurred, delivery was within budget and scheduled period.
We all have stakeholders who should receive exceptional service, be this keeping a home and family running or an organisation of a business. All activities reflect a day’s work for the average professional stay-at-home mother and successful facilities manager. However for many in our profession we metaphorically turn off the office light until the next day whilst at home with children, this is considered a luxury.
by Patricia Hay-Justice