Perspective with Giles Flaxton

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How long have you been at Cushman & Wakefield?
Six years.

How many in your team?
13.

How did you get the role at Adobe?
I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. Adobe are a fantastic client to work with, they are innovative, creative and collaborative.

Is there a typical day?
Every day is different, which is what I enjoy.

What’s the best thing about working at Adobe?
The people I work with every day at Adobe and Cushman & Wakefield. I’m lucky to work with so many talented people.

We know you don’t have a crystal ball (actually, we’ve never asked you if you have crystal ball) But how do you see the typical workspace looking and working in 10 years’ time?
Hopefully we will have got past arguing about whether ‘open plan’ is good or bad, and we will understand that each workplace should be tailored to its particular users. Maybe we will have sorted out the ‘wellness’ questions and will look back at current design and ponder how we ever expected people to work effectively in those spaces!

Do you have crystal ball?
You had better check the above answer in 10 years’ time.

What are the key words you think about when first considering a new scheme for a client?
What does their ‘customer’ need? Even if you are working for an internal client team, they will have to deliver something to someone else.   

What are the biggest challenges you and the team have to face?
Providing a service ‘remotely’. We are not physically at every client site so my team and I need to rely on our relationships with client contacts and vendors to understand what is happening locally, what needs to be done and then to make that change happen.

In the broader office sense, what do you see as the key trends right now?
‘Office as a Service’ and creating workplaces that can support all users. We need to stop talking about just generational groups and look deeper.

What is key for you when choosing suppliers?
‘Attitude’…things will not always go smoothly so you need to be confident that a supplier will be proactive and responsible if the unexpected happens.

Do you think clients generally understand the value of great design?
It depends on the individual. If they are talking about delivering an ‘experience’ for their employees or customer, then the answer is probably ‘Yes’.

What are the biggest challenges for the modern facilities manager?
Probably the same as for any manager – be aware of your limitations and biases, keep an open mind and try to work with people who are smarter than yourself.

Do you think the subject of Productivity has any place in the knowledge-based workplace?
Every workplace should be productive but how you measure that will be different for each client. Talk to your client (whatever their product or service) and find out if their workplace is supporting them or hindering them.