Case study – Norton Rose Fulbright

Portfolio by Churchill has been working with international law firm Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) since 2018. Portfolio fulfils a cleaning contract with additional washroom, window cleaning, pest control services, and contracted periodic work. The work is carried out across five floors of the office at London Bridge.

While the relationship is direct with NRF, the firm uses an agent, Mace Macro, to manage the contract. For Portfolio, this entails managing a strong relationship with both organisations.

Since the beginning of their relationship, the client has commented multiple times that this is the most smooth-running contract they have ever had and it now serves to act as a model for ideal future contracts.

Portfolio’s bid for the global law firm was based on ‘raising the bar’ as the incumbent had delivered a good service for many years.

Raising the bar focused on three pillars: people, process, and technology.

We pride ourselves on having a diverse management team which we recruit from all industries. This brings new ideas and perspectives to the way we work. People are at the heart of every good organisation and when they are cared for, they can offer the most to their teams.

It was a pleasure to work with NRF as their values align closely with ours. When we began the contract, a number of long- standing staff were TUPEed. It was vital that they felt welcome and that we cared for their wellbeing throughout the change. It was also key that they received the training to meet the level of excellence that Portfolio provides.

It is the small details that can make a huge difference to relationships. We conducted our usual ‘Penny Drop’ initiative, placing one pound in every new employee’s account so they knew from the very start that future wages will be paid without any administrative issues. We also sent a text message to all employees on the day of the transfer to let them know and to welcome them to the team.

As part of the mobilisation, we deployed a full-time mobilisation manager, who worked directly with the client team to implement early engagement activities with employees. We do this to build trust with employees and build invaluable relationships with all stakeholders.

A process is never set in stone. There will always be developments that can help us to improve. For us, ‘process’ means continually improving both for the client and in our work toward a more sustainable future. We continually develop our partnerships with our clients through shared values setting a strong foundation for our operational and strategic vision. We also recognise our potential as experts to advise clients looking to become more sustainable. We use our own sustainable products across the contract, as well as Purex, a chemical-free cleaning solution, and a Foamex machine, which increases washroom deep cleaning productivity.

We use Mo:dus, our technology platform, to track and drive standards alongside live audits. This provides management with greater transparency and insight into building user satisfaction. In turn, the team can provide a continuously improving service.

Technology has certainly proved its importance during the Covid-19 pandemic but has formed a foundation for so much for a long time. Above, we have mentioned its role in communicating with staff and providing reassurance, as well as its capacity to provide transparency and drive excellence of service.

We use the most advanced auditing platform in the industry. We keep our clients at the heart of everything we do so we keep work as simple and effective as possible. We are constantly streamlining, honing, and digitising our processes. This is part of what has allowed us to build such a strong and trusting working relationship with clients, and why we are deemed NRF’s easiest contract to manage.

We also embrace technology to support our employees. All colleagues benefit from access to our employee portal on Mo:dus which connects them with the business and provides real-time access to their pay, holiday and scheduling details. We also provide the use of the Mo:dus platform to Mace Macro.

We recently worked alongside NRF to carry out Project FUSE, their move to agile working. Projects such as this will be common in the coming months as we adjust to more hybrid working approaches. Project FUSE improves employee wellbeing and sense of autonomy. It also reduces client operating cost through improved space management. However, it creates the challenge of preventing potential Covid transmission in a space where desks are shared.

This move saw a number of floors being consolidated. This meant that the footfall on these floors would increase, creating additional demand for washroom and kitchen spaces and creating more waste. We proposed a number of different ways in which we could address this increase in facilities management demand without stretching the client’s budget. Our extensive pre-planning and logistical management of this project provided us with ways of increasing staff efficiency rather than simply scaling up our provision at additional cost. This also meant that when we had to adjust to the pandemic in 2020, we were able to do so with minimal rescheduling.

It is vitally important in these challenging times to align ourselves with the needs of our clients. We invested in quantities of sanitiser before the pandemic reached the UK, to ensure we had the provisions necessary. We also purchased a Chlorox machine on behalf of the client to provide deep cleans. In May 2020, we launched our Covid-19 symptom tracker on Mo:dus.

The building was closed at the end of March 2020 and we maintained a single cleaner from April through to June to maintain the site while minimising client cost. Since June, a number of people have returned to the office. The five floors are used by 10-50 people each day. Employees on-site during this time have worked proactively to implement and maintain precautions such as hand sanitiser provision, increased cleaning of touchpoints and high traffic areas and deep cleans. Currently around half of our cleaning staff have returned to the site while the rest remain on furlough.

We’ve been working hard to care for the wellbeing of all staff, furloughed or onsite, throughout this period. We maintain communication through various means including Mo:dus and Whatsapp. All staff received Christmas gifts and the team was invited to join the facilities team Christmas quiz with the NRF team to maintain morale and bring the teams together.

Through these challenging times, it is vital to work closely with those around us and lend expertise wherever possible. We greatly value our close work with NRF and are excited to see the opportunities brought by the end of the global pandemic.

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