An Insight to plan the Housekeeping Department
- June 13, 2017
- Posted by: Rayat Bahra
- Category: Uncategorized
Housekeeping is a 24/7 operation. It is imperative that the executive housekeeper plan and organizes the work of the department for smooth and efficient functioning. Planning is the executive housekeeper’s most important management functions, providing direction and focus to all activities. When this planning is done methodically, half the battle is won. If the executive housekeeper plans the work well, he/she and the staff are clean about the responsibilities of the department as well as their individual tasks. Planning the work of housekeeping department required a step-by-step, systematic approach to ensure that the work is not only done, but done correctly, efficiently, on time and with the least cost to the department. Systematic planning makes the enormous task of housekeeping seem easier. On the other hand, Haphazard planning or on planning at all will lead to crisis situations on a day-to-day basis; increasing stress levels for many. Increasing department expenses and sometimes dissatisfaction among guest.
Planning Process:- The step-by-step planning process may differ slightly from one hotel’s housekeeping department to another’s and different terminology may be in use across companies, but essentially the sub-process and tasks are the same. Housekeeping planning should be done on paper and needs to be properly documented. The questions that arise at the beginning of the planning process lead to the formation of the basic planning documents.
Division of work Document:- In the first step of the planning, the executive housekeeper identifies the areas that will come under the purview of housekeeping department for maintenance and upkeep. This is especially important in a newly opened property. Most housekeeping departments in luxury hotels are involved with cleaning guestrooms and the related public areas. The other ‘back of the house’ areas taken care by the stewarding assistants. However, in mid-scale properties, the housekeeping department may also be responsible for such areas as dining and banquet rooms, meeting rooms, recreation rooms, employee areas and management offices. The executive housekeeper should make a list of all the guest and employee areas of the property in a division-of-work document and put down on paper who would be responsible for cleaning and maintaining each area. To ensure all possible areas to be cleaned have been covered, the executive housekeeper must make regular tours of the property. It also helps to make the areas on a blue print of the property plan. Different colored markings may be used for the different department are responsible for the maintenance and care of the various areas. This division-of-work document should be presented to the executive committee for review and approval.
Area Inventory Lists:– Once the division of work document is finalized, the executive housekeeper needs to concentrate on the areas that are her department’s responsibility. The next important planning task is to prepare a list of all items and surfaces within a particular area that require the attention of housekeeping personnel. The more detailed the list, the more efficient the cleaning and maintenance of the areas will be, in all probability. Area inventory lists also aid in supervision. Separate area inventory lists need to be made for all areas that the department is responsible for.
Frequency Schedules:– Frequency schedules show how often the items listed in an area inventory list are to be cleaned or maintained. The frequency of cleaning is directly related to the type and amount of soiling expected in the area or on the items to be cleaned. Frequency schedules divide the cleaning and maintenance tasks into daily, weekly, monthly or periodic tasks. Many tasks in the public area are scheduled for the night. The higher the standards of cleanliness and hygiene sought, the move frequent the cleaning needed. It should be remembered, through, that some tasks should not be done too often, as excessive cleaning of certain surface can damage them. These periodic tasks done at longer intervals are designated as deep cleaning tasks or special projects. Deep cleaning and special projects should be scheduled for periods of low occupancy and many such tasks take place during the night shift.
Performance Standards:– Performance standards describe how and to what standards the work is to be done. In the words, performance standards lay down the required quality levels for employee’s performance. The best-developed performance standards are the ones that are prepared in consultation with the staff who actually perform the tasks. Performance standards are achieved when:
- Cleaning methods are correctly selected and systematically followed.
- The idea cleaning agents are used on the various surface involved.
- The correct pieces of equipment are used on the various surfaces involved.
- Cleaning tasks are carried out at required frequencies.
- All the employees carry out their cleaning tasks in a consistent manner.
- Time-and-motion studies are periodically carried out in the department to obtain best practices in housekeeping.
Once performance standards are set, the executive housekeeper should ensure that these are 100 per cent conformity to the standards. Supervision, inspection and evaluation are key process in ensuring conformity to standards. It is easier for both employees and manager if the standards are compiled in manuals. The executive housekeeper must be constantly on the alert for new, more efficient and more cost-effective methods. The performance standards should be reviewed and revised at least once a year.
Author: Cassandra Roberts,
Dean University School of Hotel Management & Catering Technology