Facilities management is all about remaining agile, decision-making under pressure, embracing new technology and providing a superior customer experience. A great proponent of this in her role as a Senior Facilities Manager at CBRE is Hannah Matheson. Hannah manages an A-Grade commercial building in Brisbane, Australia. An avid user of CIM’s PEAK Platform, Hannah’s openness to technology and passion for the job comes through strongly in her progressive approach.
Hannah was kind enough to provide some bite-sized insights for our World FM Day Q&A Series, in which we peer behind the curtains to raise the profile of facilities management. Hannah shares her experiences, the importance of customer service, and the role of technology in providing an exceptional tenant experience.
Q. What attracted you to choosing facilities management as a career?
A. Initially, I wasn’t even aware that facilities management existed until I took on a Facilities Coordinator role for a private company. I'm a curious person by nature and once I gained some exposure to services and how they operate behind the four walls of a building, I was hooked. I’ve never had two days the same, and that’s what keeps my job challenging and interesting.
Q. This year’s theme is ‘Making a real difference’. Why do you think your role is impactful and important?
A. We have a central responsibility to encourage tenants back to the office. As workplaces provide staff with more options to work flexibly or remotely, it’s important for FM’s to ensure the buildings provide a welcoming and enjoyable experience for tenants.
Q. Have you faced any challenges professionally as a female is a historically male-oriented industry? What advice do you have for younger women to help them navigate these?
A. I must admit, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have experienced very minor gender bias in the industry. This is especially true as we see the younger generation of males enter the workforce, as the old way of thinking around ‘this isn’t a female role’ becomes less and less relevant. All of my most encouraging mentors have been men. As for my advice to younger women coming into the industry, I’d encourage them to be confident in themselves, and never be afraid to ask questions. In times of doubt, these are two key items that I come back to.
Q. What skills do you think are most important to be successful in facilities management now, and how might these evolve in the next 5 years?
A. Early on in my career, a Senior Facilities Manager gave me a valuable piece advice: ‘FM is 20% technical, 80% customer service’. That really stuck with me. Going forward, I feel that customer experience will continue to be the predominant focus area for our industry as customers’ needs evolve in a highly competitive market.
Q. How important is technology in helping you fulfil your role?
A. Technology plays a huge part in our everyday lives. We’re juggling between a number of different technologies at any given moment. And the same is true in my professional life. In my role, it's important to have ready access to the services I manage at any given time. Technology is a great enabler of this.
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