Christian Thompson - Parenting Research Centre
Parenting Research Centre offers a unique service with the mission of helping children and families thrive by helping governments and community agencies put the best scientific evidence on parenting support into action. This fantastic organisation is changing the way we approach parenting support and helping Australian children thrive.
Christian Thompson joined Parenting Research Centre in 2008 bringing with him a rich history of not-for-profit management experience. BRM Projects has worked with Christian across a number of projects and we had a chat with him about how he sees his workplace.
Tell us about your role within Parenting Research Centre.
My role has a number of responsibilities including:
Leading the operations team, supporting the CEO in his Board and Audit Committee responsibilities, sponsoring projects, contributing as a member of the executive team to the leadership and strategic management of the organisation and leading the organisation’s Project Management Office.
What aspects do you personally benefit from in your workplace?
The normal pressures of workload and limited time and resources apply to my role as they do to colleagues in similar roles. Nevertheless balancing the stressors has a number of personal rewards. A few that come to mind are:
Tell us about some of the needs unique to the Parenting Research Centre and how the organisation has fulfilled those needs.
At Parenting Research Centre we’re thinking about the interface of staff with infrastructure as a lot of us are mobile. We have people working from the office, home, cafes and interstate so we need to be agile in how we work.
We’ve answered this need by providing workers with the technology and resources needed to simply plug in and start working from the office, whether you are working in Perth, Darwin, Canberra, Sydney or Melbourne. Such technology includes mobile devices and work stations, FollowMe Printing and cloud based software.
Another ‘need’ to consider stems from the type of work we do. Our processes often involve deep thinking, from conducting evidence reviews, writing academic papers, research, and evaluation analysist to report writing. Such thinking requires a need for staff to be free from distraction. We therefore need to find a balance between desks, meeting rooms and open spaces so every type of worker can be accommodated for.
The nature of our work means that every space needs to be used wisely and in a way that supports our staff’s needs and work. We didn’t want to tie up spaces with people who are only in the office 2 days a week and we don’t believe in any one worker being locked down to a specific desk. For us, it’s about what our people do, not how or where they do it. Because of this, we give our staff as much autonomy as possible in how they work balancing this with the level of centralised coordination and control needed around core systems that support that work.
What do you see as the challenges faced by not-for-profits as commercial tenants?
Obviously, a key challenge whenever looking at premises has been cost. To some degree all tenants face similar issues including finding suitable premises (budget, location, amenities etc), designing a fit out that supports both effective working behaviours as well as staff health and wellbeing.
It is also important to negotiate lease arrangements that are aligned with business goals and funding pipelines. We need to conduct business as usual while at the same time ensuring that appropriate skill and experience is brought to every aspect of establishing a workplace, from the search and negotiation, to the relocation, fit out and ongoing maintenance.
What made you decide to engage the services of BRM Projects?
Some of the large NFP’s have dedicated resources to manage relocating offices, however we didn’t have this resource or expertise. Parenting Research Centre needed to reach out to someone with a level of expertise that we didn’t possess ourselves. The goal was to find a commercially competitive lease, a great fit out and well-managed re-location. We needed to partner with an organisation who has these skills as part of thier core business – in this case, BRM.
And how did you benefit from such skills and service?
It meant that we were able to carry on doing what we are good at, while we could rely on a trusted partner throughout the entire process of searching and relocating to a new office. BRM Projects provided us with the guidance and expertise we needed at every step and have continue to do so over some 7-8 years since we started working together. Whenever we have needed advice on fit out, lease negotiation advice, or a design for a new office interstate we have been able to get support quickly and at a price that is sensitive to NFP budgets. Moreover, Gab not only had expert knowledge of the market and the necessary contacts for a smoother process, his organisation also has a deep understanding of the NFP sector, allowing them to guide us effectively through every decision. From an outcome point of view it makes a lot of sense to outsource activities that are not your core business to an agency that is aligned with your mission and values. We have been very glad to have found such an effective relationship with Gab and the BRM team.
BRM Projects are experts in delivering commercial property and workplace solutions to Not-For-Profits throughout Australia. To discover how we can guide your organisation in unearthing its possibilities please contact us!
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