The tasks and objectives of the Housekeeping Department are set by the Owner/Manager and must be used as a guide by
the housekeeping staff to achieve the goals required, type of cleaning and how frequently the tasks will be performed.
The resources to attain the objectives may not all be available, and may be in limited supply, however, it is the responsibility
of the housekeeping staff to complete the tasks set by management.
A step-by-step approach to plan and organize the duties of the the housekeeping staff should be applied to ensure that the work is done
correctly, efficiently and on time.
BASIC QUESTIONS FOR THE INITIAL PLANNING:
What items within this area must be cleaned and maintained? – Make up a list of items
How often must the items be cleaned and maintained? – Draw up frequency schedules
How should the major items within this area be cleaned or maintained? – Draw up performance standards
How long should it take an employee to perform the tasks? – Draw up productivity standards
What equipment and supplies are required to meet the performance and productivity standards?
The inventory list should include all the items that require cleaning or maintenance in the same sequence that the items
are within a guestroom. These lists can be used for inspection check lists and training plans by management or senior
How to Plan and organize Special cleaning or deep cleaning
Tasks should also be included in a schedule,which would include light fittings in public areas indoors or outdoors, hand rails, elevators et c.and could be scheduled for either 1 per week or 1 per month.
Deep cleaning planning, and frequency schedules can be set for the housekeeping’s night cleaning staff,
these tasks can be included in a separate schedule over and above the standard cleaning duties, with
staff allocated to perform only the deep cleaning tasks as per the planned schedule.
When planning and organizing the deep cleaning schedule consideration of low occupancy levels in the
guestrooms as well as the maintenance department’s schedule regarding repair work must be
taken into account
Tasks that would usually be placed on a deep cleaning schedule are:
Washing of tiles in all guestroom bathrooms, public bathrooms, bathrooms in the pool area.
Polishing of hand rails, door handles etc.
Shampooing of carpets, on stairs, in guestrooms, in entrance halls, lounges,bar areas, meeting rooms.
Washing of windows in guestrooms, entrance halls, reception areas, pool areas.
Cleaning of light fittings, overhead fans, air-conditioning units, hand rails.
How to plan and organize Performance Standards
Performance standards state not only what must be done; they also describe in detail how the job must be done, so that employees carry out their cleaning tasks in a consistent manner. The keys to consistency are the performance standards which the executive housekeeper develops, communicates, and manages.
Consensus among the housekeeping staff can be achieved by having individuals who perform the tasks contribute to the standards that are eventually implemented. Performance standards are communicated through ongoing training programs. Managing standards means ensuring conformity to standards by regular inspection.
Daily inspections and periodic performance evaluations should be followed up with specific on-the-job coaching and retraining.
How to Plan and Organize Productivity Standards
Productivity standards determine the acceptable quantity of work to be done by employees. The question to be asked is
“How long should it take for a housekeeping employee to perform an assigned task according to the department’s performance standard?”
Productivity standards will be determined by the amount of staff in the housekeeping department in keeping with the limitations established by the property’s operating budget. Since the duties of room attendants vary widely among various properties the productivity standards for room attendants will also vary.
Example calculation to determine how many rooms can be cleaned during 1 daily shift.
Determine how long it should take to clean one guestroom, example 30 minutes
How to Plan and Determine the total shift time available
Total Shift time in minutes: 8 hours x 60 minutes = 480 minutes
Deduct tea and lunch breaks and other variants Beginning Shift duties 20 minutes
Morning Tea 10 minutes
Lunch Break 30 minutes
Afternoon Tea 10 minutes
End of Shift duties 20 minutes
Time available for Guestroom Cleaning 390 minutes
To determine how many rooms can be cleaned in 1 daily shift.
Divide the result of Step 2 by the result of Step 1 = 13 Rooms
The above is for illustrative purposes only.
Attention should be given to time wasted by staff moving between stock rooms to stock their carts and the guestroom area.
Labour, is usually the most expensive resource of the housekeeping department.
How to Plan and Organize Equipment and Supply Stock Levels
After planning what must be done and how the tasks are to be performed, the executive housekeeper must ensure that employees have the necessary equipment and supplies to get their jobs done.
Essentially, the executive housekeeper is responsible for two types on inventories.
One type stores items which are recycled during the course of housekeeping operations;
the other type stores non-recyclable items.
Non-recyclable items are consumed or used up during routine activities of the housekeeping department.
Due to limited storage facilities and management’s desire not to tie up cash in overstocked inventories, the executive housekeeper
must establish reasonable stock levels for both recyclable and non-recyclable items.
Recycled inventories include linens, most equipment items, and some guest supplies.
Recycled equipment includes room attendant carts, vacuum cleaners, carpet shampooers, and many other items.
Recycled guest supplies include such items as irons, ironing boards, and refrigerators and other items which guest need during their stay.
Housekeeping is responsible for storing and maintaining these items as well as issuing them as they are requested by guests.
The number of recycled items that must be on hand to ensure smooth operations is expressed as a par number.
Par refers to the number of items that must be on hand to support daily, routine housekeeping operations.
For example, one par of linens is the total number of items needed to outfit all the guestrooms once; two par of linens is
the total number of items need to outfit all the guestrooms twice, and so on.
How to Plan and Organize the Correct Par level for Linen and Bedding
The Par level calculation is done as follows: An Ideal Par level would be a 3 Par level. Therefore, the stock held should be 1 set on the bed, 1 set in the cupboard and 1 set in the wash to avoid any inconvenience to housekeeping staff due to bad weather conditions or any equipment failure. As a result the housekeeping staff will be able to perform their daily tasks in an efficient manner.
Non-recycled inventories include cleaning supplies, guestroom supplies (bath soap) and guest amenities (toothbrushes, shampoos, conditioners). Since non-recycled items are used up in the course of operations, inventory levels are closely tied to the purchase ordering system used at the property.
The par level for non-recyclable inventory items is established by two figures – a minimum quantity and a maximum quantity.
The minimum quantity number will indicate when stock should be replenished to the maximum quantity required. Storage space must be taken into consideration to store the amount of the maximum stock required. The shelf life of stored items must
also be taken into account when calculating the maximum stock required.
How to Plan and Organize the Housekeeping Department
Structuring the department’s staff means establishing the line of authority and the flow of communication with the department. Two important principles that should guide the organization of a department are:
Each employee should have only one supervisor.
Supervisors should have the authority and information necessary to guide the efforts of employees under their direction.
The executive housekeeper delegates authority to supervisors and must ensure that each employee recognizes the authority structure of the department.
While the executive housekeeper may delegate authority, he/she cannot delegate responsibility.
The executive housekeeper is ultimately responsible for the actions of department supervisors.
Therefore, it is important that supervisors be well informed about hotel policies, procedures, and the limits of their authority.
The Department Organization Chart
An organization chart provides a clear picture of the lines of authority and the channels of communication within the department.
The organization chart of the department not only provides for a systematic direction of orders, but also protects employees
from being over directed. A copy of the chart should be posted in an area so that all housekeeping employees can see where they fit into the overall organization of the department.
Task Lists and Job Descriptions
A task list identifies the tasks that must be performed by an individual occupying a specific position within the department. The tasks on the list should reflect the total job responsibilities of the employee. However, the list should not be a detailed
breakdown of the procedures that the employee will follow in carrying out each task.
The task list should simply state what the employee must be able to do in order to perform the job.
Some of the job descriptions simply add information to the appropriate task lists.
This information may include reporting relationships, additional responsibilities, and working conditions, as well as equipment and materials to be used in the course of the job.