10th May 2022
Team Spotlight: Gemma Ryder – Furniture Project Manager
Here at Blueprint Interiors, we talk all the time about how great our team is (they really are!), but we realised we’ve never really given you a chance to get to know them. In this inaugural edition, we’re speaking to our Furniture Project Manager, Gemma Ryder, about herself, her role, and life at Blueprint Interiors.
Could you tell us a little bit about your role?
Of course! So, I look after anything to do with furniture. Starting with specification at the front end, in liaison with our Design team and our supply chain, through to placing orders, scheduling deliveries and installations and project managing our furniture install teams on site. I then look after any after sales queries and warranties too.
Whenever I say office furniture, people usually think about chairs, desks and filing cabinets, and while that was the case once upon a time, things have changed a lot over the years. Now it’s so much more than that, I work with pods, booths, different seating styles, portable chairs with power access points and a flip desk, connected technology, acoustic totems, portable screens and digital whiteboards. There are new innovations all the time, it’s really exciting!
What has been a personal highlight from your time so far at Blueprint Interiors?
Well, I truly enjoy being part of all the projects that we undertake! However, a personal highlight for me would be the Futures Housing project. I was the lead project manager on this project and looked after the full furniture, fixtures and equipment package.
We started with a large tender process including a big ‘QVC’ style presentation which was really fun to do. Then we found all the products we needed, ensured that the furniture matched the client’s culture and the design aesthetic, and carried out the installation on site.
Another one of the best parts to me is the training sessions that we give to staff on some of the products, that way we know that they’ll be getting the most use out of the furniture in their space. We’ve also created a great ongoing relationship with Futures, and it’s always rewarding to return to their office and see their staff using their new workspace to its full potential.
What is your favourite part about working at Blueprint Interiors?
Oh this is a tough one, it’s so difficult to choose one! I think the main thing has to be the values, and the ‘people first’ approach that we have to everything we do. And secondly, it’s the team that we have around us. It’s always amazing to me, the way everyone in the team can pull together to overcome obstacles, there’s a great team spirit!
Also, I can’t forget about our fantastic agile office too… who wouldn’t want to come to work with an office like this?!
What is your favourite piece of furniture in WorkLife Central?
Obviously, I love all the furniture we have here, but I’m a huge fan of the Steelcase flex collection! We have an amazing Flex desk in the office, which is my favourite place to work because it lets you adjust the height, and it’s on rollers so you can move it around to work in teams or different areas. It really gives you the flexibility to work how you work best.
We have a couple of other Flex products around the office, but I’m excited to get a dedicated Flex area set up in the near future.
What is your favourite part of the fit-out process?
The handover! Just kidding… I love the specification process. We’ve created some really good relationships with suppliers, so I really enjoy working with the suppliers to get in products that are specifically fit-for-purpose. When we find a piece of furniture that meets the needs of the client, fits the design, and has great functionality too, it feels great!
And then, finally I love that furniture is the last part of the fit out process on site, almost like the missing piece to the puzzle! People always say that I turn up on sites to do the nice step, and I feel really lucky that part of my role is putting in the nice, finishing touches that really bring an office together.
What is the best lesson you’ve learned in your career so far?
There’s two main things that I’ve learned across the years… The first is that it’s ok to say no! When I started here, one of my famous sayings is “can do!”. But it took me a few years to realise that sometimes, to do a better job, you have to say no. There’s such a thing as too much, and it’s all about finding that balance of meeting what the client wants, while making sure it is still functional as an office.
Secondly, I would say that it’s really, really important to maintain a good work-life balance. We’re lucky here in that Blueprint Interiors massively encourage this, and wellbeing within staff is a big priority. I don’t think, until the last few years, I really appreciated the need for balance and ‘me’ time in life. But it’s something that I’ve definitely been thinking more consciously about over the last couple of years.