House keeping in hospitality industry involves management of people as well as resources and materials required for different tasks accomplishment. It entails sequential activities of budgeting, staff selection, inventory control, organizing, controlling and directing all activities in the house keepers office (Allen, 1992, pp. 112-141). The house keeper is responsible for maintaining high standards of hotel after reception high quality services. The image of the hotel being entirely dependent on the cleanliness, organization and the services delivered to customers indicates that the house keepers department is therefore very essential (Casado, 2000, pp.12-46).
Organization of work and staff.
According to Dix & Baird (1998, pp. 25-39), staffing and organizing are the core roles in house keeping department as they entail planning functions, establishment of procedures, and categorization of supply as well as equipment needs. They lay the guidelines for operationalization of the activities in the department. The chief house keeper and the assistants must establish all the activities that are under this department. All these roles must then be categorized depending with classes in which they are, allocated a supervisor, tools, equipments and chemicals required for effective activities (Kirk, 1996, pp.41-56). All these categories must then be balanced with the number of staff available dependent on the size and nature of the hotel.
Then, a schedule for all the activities must be put in place to cater for the whole hotel. If the cleaning of the reception and the dining places has been allocated under the house keeper’s department, a schedule for their cleaning must be included too.
Day and night duty plans should be laid down for the staff who will be attending to the day and night activities of the hotel respectively. The workload for the hotel activities must be clear in the chief housekeeper’s mind and considered against the number of staff available. In hotels with multiple-occupancy of the the guest houses, the work load is usually higher as there must be reorganization, cleaning and polishing when the guest checks out (Tom et al, 1996, pp.29-51).
Achieving high standards
To add to that, in order for the department to maintain the high standards of the hotel, he must establish a strong supervisory mechanism through out all the sections and activities that the department is involved in. Guest attendance schedules and their time for checking out must be updated every time new guests checks in. For efficiency in performance the house keeper can develop points awarding schemes to the different rooms.
The single rooms and double rooms are awarded different points as they require different work loads at any particular moment. The house keeper must also remain very flexible to adjust when the condition of the rooms need more attention (Verginis & Wood, 1999,pp. 65-75). Then, to increase efficiency and performance, motivational packages for the employees in the department should be established. Besides, the house keeper must design punitive measures for the employees who do not comply to the high level standards required for the department.
Daily reports on the activities of the department must be developed and assessment of the situation in the department evaluated to help maintain and raise the standards in the department thereby improving the performance and image of the hotel. Though staff in the housekeepers department are allocated by the human resources managers, the house keeper prepares the requirements for the staff that the department needs and the numbers for the human resource manager.
Depending with the size of the hotel, number of guest rooms, the types of work allocated to the department and the type of equipments used, the house keeper will be able to asses the staff requirement. To add to that, house keeper must recommend hiring of staff with ample knowledge on laundry, environmental and occupational health, equipments and machines mechanics and other house keeping activities. The staff should then be distributed throughout the different sections of the house keeping department and allocated their immediate supervisors (Kirk, 1996, pp. 66-71).
Then, the staff performance must be evaluated and records kept for promotions, demotions and possible firing. Reporting to work, thoroughness in their work, professional relationship with other staff, kindness to customers and efficiency in all their activities should comprise the main principle for the house keeping staff department.
Occasional reshuffle of staff to alternate the night and the day activities as well as the different activities should be done for change and improvement in different areas. Staff should always be encouraged to work with diligence diligence at different times and their concerns listened and attended to (Tom et al, 1996, pp.21-31). The head house keeper must maintain good communication, initiate rewarding schemes and develop allowances for extended day and night duties in the departmental budget.
Staff training and monitoring.
Staff training in this department is very essential especially for new staff and in updating present ones.. According to Bryson (1992, pp. 41-52), after new employees have reported the chief house keeper should assign them to specific supervisors and and mentors with specific roles in turns so that they can understand how the whole department operates. Machines and equipment operations should also be sufficiently taught to avoid accidents in the department. Training manuals and departmental mentor should encourage the new staff and direct them until they are fully acquainted to the job (Tyler,1998, pp. 88-91).
There should be enough information on the hotel structures and delineation for the new staff to understand where and who to report to at all times. The head in the department should also develop a grading scale for the new employees to assess their understanding and conceptualization of the whole operation system for the department. The supervisors and the mentors assigned the task of orienting and mentoring the new staff, should be kind and courteous to the new employees.
In addition, there should also be occasional training for the present employees to boost their skills in dealing with their daily routine tasks. House keeper should organize for demonstrations from the experts inside the hotel to raise the quality of work they do. Rating should also be given to the trained staff and should be considered in case of promotions. Finally the training on health hazards and risk management is very necessary as the department deals with equipments, tools and chemicals involved in different areas of work. First aid and immediate medical attention is an essential part of this training which helps in reducing the controllable accidents, body harm and destruction of equipments (Kirk, 1996, pp. 61-65).
Monitoring in this department to ensure high quality work is very necessary for all the activities involved. Monitoring and operation forms should be established to assist the head house keeper in all the operations of the department and therefore establish the efficiency.
It is necessary also, because it helps the workers in the department to remain up to standard in their operations since every detail goes to record (Bryson, 1992, pp. 26-33). Individual, group and general work performance must be fully coordinated for effective results to be achieved. The monitoring is mainly done by the department with the help of the supervisors. They ensure the proper standards are maintained and also file reports on the progress of the staff and the general state of the department.
Besides, monitoring in the work schedule involves the coordination of the daily routine jobs, and the additional jobs forwarded from the night attendant. To add to that, ample monitoring ensures personal safety on employees by reducing emergencies (Allen, 1992,pp. 98-114). The employees daily work is outlined in the morning after the house keeper have divided and assigned them to different supervisors for execution. Every task must then be indicated in the supervisors daily report sheet with the starting time, ending time, nature of the work and the performance standard attained.
The house keeper through his supervisors must ensure that the correct tools are available for the work to be satisfactorily done. Finally, monitoring in the material stores section should ensures ample supply of materials and chemicals for the whole department for the desirable period of time (Tyler,1998, pp. 65-78). Through monitoring the department can be able to develop accident control, prevention mechanisms, recommend facility or improve house keeping functions.
Departmental budget and cost control.
According to Bryson (1992, pp.21-39), the departmental budget is done by the house keeper and forwarded to the accounting and finance section for finance allocation. The house keeper determines and implements the fiscal control standards for the department. Beside maintaining the financial records of the department, the house keeper considers the prices of the different requirements of his department before budgeting them.
Considerations of the most effective and cost effective tools, equipments or chemicals must be thoroughly done before consideration in the budget. Since the finance department gives a range of the amount of funds it will be ejecting to the department annually, the house keeper must must encourage buying these products in bulk to reduce the overall cost. External contracting for supplies to the department is also sought to reduce the cost of these commodities. Finally, the department explores new products and services for use with better performance and prices (Verginis & Wood, 1999,pp. 68-79).
House keeping in the hospitality industry gives the inner image of a hotel. It brings out the need for efficiency and proper services delivery to satisfy customers while maintaining international standards in the hotel. The house keeper’s docket is therefore one of the very key positions with widespread responsibilities in service delivery and the overall hotel maintenance. Skills for management, budgeting, environmental management and scientific knowledge on chemicals and operations of the equipments are needed.
The ability to supervise and consciously monitor the department operations for effectiveness makes the department efficient. Training of the staff to improve their status and improve their standards should routinely be done to raise the level of their services delivery, reduce damage to property and reduce occupational health hazards.
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