Staff who carry out hotel housekeeping are a hotel’s most valuable asset, and they need proper tools and training in order to do their best work.
Staff who carry out hotel housekeeping are arguably a hotel’s most important asset, and deserve to be treated as such. It is often their hard work and friendly interactions with guests that result in positive guest experiences. They help keep the facility in optimal condition, know how to be efficient and make sure every guest room is as clean as possible.
Housekeepers work hard and understand the guest more than anyone else. They see how someone is living for a day (or two, or a week), and know how they can make that guest more comfortable. For example, if you move a piece of furniture in your hotel room to get comfortable, you probably don’t want someone to move it back while you’re still checked in. Many housekeepers do leave rooms as guests prefer them because they’re trying to make the guest more comfortable during their stay. They’re also able to anticipate the guest’s needs.
Hoteliers should make sure they’re supplying housekeepers with the right tools to do their job. The hotel might buy these tools initially and then decide that they don’t want to make a reinvestment when the tools need to be replaced. It’s the number one problem that comes up when discussing the fundamentals of a hotel.
Stocking hotel housekeeping carts with the right cleaning equipment can mean that rooms will be cleaner and housekeepers will be more productive. In fact, according to the ISSA Cleaning Times, properly equipping housekeepers can enhance productivity by up to 54 percent.
Microfiber towels and mops may improve efficiency by allowing housekeepers to work with less effort, leave less lint behind and clean without leaving an area wet. The California Department of Industrial Relations also suggests using ergonomically designed mops and protective knee pads and gloves to help reduce fatigue and strain, as well as exposure to germs. Even details, such as properly placed floor mats, can make a big difference because they capture contaminants and moisture, which can help keep floors dry and clean.
Make sure it’s in your budget to replace equipment when needed with new, quality tools. Remember to replace the vacuum cleaners when you need to — they are used often and your housekeepers can’t do a good job without a quality machine that’s in good working order.
Job training should also be provided, which can lessen the chance of your housekeepers suffering from repetitive motion injuries, overexertion and back strain. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has an illustrated handout called “Housekeepers: Practices to Improve Health and Safety Using Ergonomics,” which was prepared by the Institute for Ergonomics at Ohio State University. It lays out specific ergonomic principles that can help make housekeeping easier, reduce discomfort and pain, lower the risk of getting hurt, help the job get done faster and improve the quality of the work.
Housekeepers, for instance, should store the heaviest or most-used items on their supply carts between their hips and chest level, where there’s more body strength; line up their body with the vacuum’s path, so their back is straight instead of twisted and their shoulders aren’t in an awkward posture; and work at waist level as often as possible, for instance by raising a trash can off the floor to remove trash.
Among other tips, OSHA’s guide also suggests housekeepers wear comfortable shoes at work, warm-up their back, arms and shoulders before starting work and communicate ways they have found to make the job easier. Remember that housekeepers are one of your most important assets, so consider providing what they need to do their best work and to stay healthy, so everybody wins.