In the role of Senior Facilities Manager, Paul’s role encompasses responsibility for the facilities management function of the Welcome Offices Portfolio. He joined Workman in July 2016.
What three words describe Workman’s Welcome team?
Integrity, dedicated, motivated.
What is your career background, and what extra skills and experience from previous roles do you bring to the firm and its clients?
I started as a Facilities Coordinator for an insurance firm on Bishopsgate, where I helped with office moves and relocations both in London and in the regions, while also dealing with services provided internally to the company. It was here I undertook by IWFM Level 4 Diploma (BIFM previously).
My first exposure to building management was at West London Audi, where I helped keep the business operating during a building refurbishment, before moving to Republic, East India Dock to join Workman’s Welcome team.
Working in these very different environments allowed me to gain exposure to high-end clients, members of the public and a large plethora of stakeholders in between, both in dealing with positive (and sometimes less positive) news.
The fast pace of redevelopments alongside occupiers in situ has ensured that I’m always looking ahead for the next pinch point and possible resolutions.
What first led you into the property industry?
I didn’t know where I wanted to work when leaving school and through various temp jobs in London I was given a permanent opportunity. Working in property wasn’t my chosen career, it was one I fell in to after exposure through temporary roles.
Yet it was within this industry that I was provided with opportunities to progress. I enjoy the fact that no day is the same. There is always something new going on, something that needs attention to rectify, interrogative thinking and problem solving.
Tell us about your role at Workman, and why it’s important to the firm and its clients?
My role within Welcome as the facilities management lead is crucial to the firm and our clients, as I aim to both develop and standardise the FM function across the Welcome portfolio, maintaining the high standards that all stakeholders in our clients’ assets come to rely upon.
How are you putting your skills to their best use within the Welcome team at Workman?
Due to the nature of the buildings in our portfolio, many of the service charge budgets are complex. I have been working with building managers and property managers to look at how these can be simplified by analysing and streamlining the services that the occupiers benefit from to reduce the schedules. This has provided clarity and transparency when setting and explaining budgets to stakeholders.
How do you hope to develop your role in the coming months and years?
We have building managers across our team with various previous experience, a technical background, a security background or working their way up through building management. I am aiming to bring together this mix of skills to share best practice rather than buildings working in the silos of their own assets. Developing our offering to tenants and clients is a team effort.
What has been your standout moment at Workman so far?
During my time at Republic and alongside the client’s redevelopment of the site, I thought it would be a good time to do a degree in Real Estate Management through the University College of Estate Management (UCEM). I managed this juggling act for 4.5 years, and was finally proud to graduate during the height of the global pandemic.
What change would you make to the wider property sector? And why?
I would introduce open protocol technology – with the increasing adoption of technology within property, there needs to be an industry-wide acknowledgement that open protocol systems are the way forward to ensure that different aspects of property management and facilities management can be utilised seamlessly across multiple platforms.
What are your spare time pursuits and how do they feed into your role at Workman?
Outside of work, I escape to the mountains to hike, climb or kayak.
In this picture I am on the summit of Mount Elbrus – the tallest mountain in Europe. I have completed two of The Seven Summits (Mount Elbrus in Russia and Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro) and want to do more. The Seven Summits are the highest mountains of each of the seven traditional continents.
Remaining calm under pressure during the moments when I am out my comfort zone enables a focus on the here and now, which is also important at work.
What is your favourite building worldwide, and why?
The building that fascinates me is Lloyds of London. Being built inside out to maximise internal space, it would make for an interesting building to operate.
What three dinner party guests would you choose and why?
Jason Fox – to hear about his military and SAS training, his perspective on leadership, mentality, understanding a multiskilled team and getting the best from them.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes – as an explorer he is often faced with difficult situations where he has to make on-the-spot decisions that will affect outcomes in high-stress environments. I’d love to hear his techniques for calmness under pressure.
Sir David Attenborough – the natural world is a fine balance. His life’s work has been highlighting our impact on the planet. Property is an industry that can play a big part in alleviating this damage.