A day in the life of Katherine Torode
Group Head of Facilities
Collas Crill Group Services
Describe your role and what you do on a day-to-day basis.
I’m in charge of the delivery of FM and front of house operational services across the firm’s six locations worldwide as well as all FM expenditure and supplier management. I engage with our suppliers regularly and my remit also encompasses all H&S matters, compliance, strategic planning, project and move management.
What type of people do you work with?
I work with a mixture of people but I work primarily with my reception and messenger teams in Guernsey, Jersey and Cayman. In Singapore, BVI and London there are colleagues who combine the FM duties into their roles and they liaise directly with me. My team is very much a global one across several time zones which means staying in touch and communicating well are critical to the success of delivering first class service to our clients and I try to speak to everyone daily. Much of my work is at the strategic and supplier level and collaboration with our suppliers to feel part of our team is just as important as managing my in-house teams.
What groups of people do you serve?
Our client base is very diverse. As a law firm we have a wide range of clients based around the world across many sectors as well as personal clients and other service providers.
How do you think your work benefits customers/service users?
First impressions are vital – as a leading offshore law firm, we have very high standards to uphold to provide a first class service to our clients at all times. From the minute that someone walks in the door, we want them to experience our culture and values to the highest level.
What was your first impression of your role in FM?
I didn’t consciously move into FM. I was working in finance for a global multinational bank and I remember thinking that the key is communication, organisation and people skills. Since moving to Collas Crill the basics haven’t changed – client satisfaction and working as a team to deliver the very best service is key.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The diversity and the people. No day is the same – you really cannot predict what might happen. Thankfully the days of being called out at 2am to an empty building or having to don the marigolds are fewer and further between!
What do you find most challenging about your job?
Managing expectations is critical and it all boils down to team work. If something needs to be done urgently, then it’s key to have the correct relationships in place with suppliers and for the team to function well together.
What has surprised you most about working within FM?
The variety of things that occur that you just wouldn’t expect. If I were to write a book, I truly don’t think people would believe me! At the end of the day we are dealing with people and I think the FM role just shows how diverse human nature is.
What keeps you motivated to go to work each day?
Delivering a first class service and developing and motivating my teams to give the best of themselves every day.
What is your proudest accomplishment in your role?
So far, from my time with Collas Crill, it would be helping the local community as we relocated to new offices. Having dealt with a number of similar projects, I instigated reaching out to local charities and non-profit organisations so that they could benefit from the items that we would otherwise discard. It is immensely satisfying to achieve a win-win situation – we cleared our offices, the old items were put to good use and it fulfilled environmental criteria to ensure as much as possible was reused and recycled.
If you could change one thing about your role what would it be?
From an industry perspective, I’d like to see FM represented at board level more. It’s a hugely important function for all businesses and something that is really under-represented at director level. In terms of my role, I wouldn’t change anything.
How have you evolved in your current role?
Having had a long career in FM within finance, moving into the legal sector was interesting and challenging. A large part of my role is managing change – I’ve been able to introduce some best practices to improve working processes, collaborating with my team from the outset which goes a long to ensuring greater job satisfaction and building a happy and enthusiastic team of committed individuals.
What do you wish other people knew about your job?
I often joke that my wand is broken – I’m regularly asked to turn something around at the drop of a hat. I’m a proactive rather than reactive person, so the more notice and engagement I can have, the better the result for all concerned.
What do you think will change about your role over the next five years?
As Collas Crill continues to grow, both in terms of offices and head count, the role will require increased communication as the team gets bigger and there are more people to manage. From an industry perspective, I hope that people will be more aware of what FM involves and how essential it is to the smooth running of any business.
What advice would you give someone thinking about working in FM?
Embrace the challenges and communicate, communicate, communicate.