International Housekeepers Week Tips

Sept. 15, 2011

It's International Housekeepers Week - an opportunity for facility managers, building operators and cleaning professionals around the globe to recognize the hard and sometimes unrecognized work of the people who clean our buildings.

It's International Housekeepers Week - an opportunity for facility managers, building operators and cleaning professionals around the globe to recognize the hard and sometimes unrecognized work of the people who clean our buildings.

As the front line, housekeepers play an integral role in creating a pleasant experience for guests through cleaner rooms. They also represent a sizeable opportunity to increase productivity and improve bottom line results for hotels that follow these steps.

Cintas Corporation provides seven key tips to improve housekeeping productivity while enhancing results in honor of International Housekeepers Week.

Offer job-specific training. Develop a plan on how to clean a room, the order of cleaning tasks, the types of cleaning tools and chemicals required and amount of time dedicated to each task to deliver high-level, consistent results.

Understanding proper methods for performing job functions helps reduce the time spent in the room, improve cleanliness and hygiene and prevent repetitive motion and on-the-job injuries, such as back, shoulder and upper arm strains.

Provide housekeepers with the right tools and equipment. The right cleaning tools, like microfiber towels and mops, can improve cleanliness by not leaving lint behind. Properly equipping housekeepers can enhance productivity by up to 54 percent according to the ISSA 540 Cleaning Times.

Proper tools reduce worker strain from repetitive motions and over exertion while using the right cleaning chemicals for each surface provides optimal hygienic results.

Personal protective equipment like kneepads and gloves will help improve productivity and reduce housekeeper strain. For example, housekeepers who use kneepads to kneel instead of bending over while making beds will limit back strain. Using latex gloves while cleaning restrooms will reduce worker exposure, which can limit lost work time to injuries and illness resulting in greater worker productivity.

Equip housekeepers with stocked and locked carts. At the beginning of each shift, provide housekeepers with fully locked and stocked carts. This reduces unnecessary trips to storage areas to replace missing supplies and helps to ensure housekeepers clean with the proper tools and equipment. In addition, it promotes consistency of cleaning results from room to room.

Make janitorial closets accessible and easy to use. Placing frequently used items, such as chemical stations, in easily accessible locations helps reduce the amount of time and energy housekeepers must spend restocking supplies. Chemical dilution systems also help reduce clutter and limit opportunities for worker injury or error.

Conduct procedural audits in addition to results-based audits. Results-based audits are not enough.  Conduct procedural audits while housekeepers clean rooms to yield consistency of procedure and consistency of results.  Procedural audits can identify opportunities to improve both hygiene and productivity.   

Offer housekeepers an “engineering checklist.” To better communicate requests such as replacing light bulbs or fixing air conditioning units, provide housekeepers with a checklist of potential issues to be fixed by the engineering department. These lists can be submitted at the conclusion of every shift and reviewed by the executive housekeeper. This reduces opportunities for requests to be overlooked and helps limit guest complaints.

Leave deep cleaning to the experts. Housekeepers are expected to maintain rooms at a high level of cleanliness. However, they are not trained, equipped and do not have the time to perform a thorough deep cleaning. Routine deep cleaning from a specialized company is needed to reset the cleanliness that can be maintained by housekeeping. 

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