5 ways to get your housekeeping team organized

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What innovative things are you doing in your housekeeping program? Write to our editor at todayshotelier@naylor.com.

How to get your housekeeping management team in tip-top shape.

By Dawn Berry

When inventory is correct, the clutter is eliminated and supplies are easily obtained and reachable on carts. The possibilities – such as quickly moving through cleaning assigned rooms or helping out a teammate – start to open up.

A housekeeping team that is organized and efficient will be ready for those huge influxes of guests when flights are canceled or the weather suddenly changes. Ready to get your housekeeping management team in tip-top shape? Read on for our five ways for better organization in hotel housekeeping management.

A place for everything

The purpose of organization is to be able to find, exchange and evaluate items quickly. How would you like it if your monthly inventory took half as much time? How would you like to reduce your minutes per room? What would you possibly do with all that extra time? The options are endless, and the answer lies in organization.

  • Housekeeping carts
    Are the housekeeping carts organized? Does everything have a place? Do they look professional? As housekeeping managers are inspecting rooms, they should conduct a housekeeping cart inspection.

iStock_000089976943Create a contest to see who can keep their cart organized and clean the longest. Reward those who pass inspection with a gift card or item from the gift shop.

  • Storage rooms
    How much time is wasted by housekeeping staff due to disorganized storage rooms? Do the housekeepers or managers know what is in the storage rooms? Do not save old coffee makers that do not work or last year’s phone books.

iStock_000089976943Best practice is to clean out storage closets quarterly. If it has not been used it in a quarter, you probably do not need it.

  • Office
    Even though the housekeeping manager is not always allotted the corner office with a window, it does not mean it cannot be organized. The purpose of a housekeeping office is not to store the last 10 years’ worth of lost-and-found items or hold even more coffee makers that don’t work. A cluttered office means a cluttered mind. Housekeeping managers should have organized storage shelves or cabinets for items they need close at hand or are more valuable. But do not horde. Let go of what is broken, not needed or does not have a purpose.

iStock_000089976943Even though it can happen without intention, don’t horde. Let go of what is broken, not needed or does not have a purpose.

Good planning =less surprises
How does the housekeeping manager and staff keep track of VIP future arrivals? How do overnight laundry attendants or PM public attendants communicate with the team?

Ensure online apps, communications logs or planners are organized for maximum efficiency. Do they have pre-printed dates on top and a page for each day? Do not skimp here. Manage your deadlines and meetings. An online calendar is your friend – be it Outlook, Google or the one in your phone – calendar everything.

Making a list
Lists and checklists are only as good as what is put on it and what is crossed off of it. If they are not going to be used or checked, it will not work for a housekeeping manager or his/her team. Lists are about accountability.

  • Who should have one?
    Are checklists utilized for inspection of public spaces or laundry attendant tasks? If so, does it have times for when the tasks should be completed? Where are they stored when completed?

iStock_000089976943Review all shift checklists quarterly to make sure they are current and applicable.

  • Make a list each day
    Starting out fresh every day can be daunting, so when determining the list start by deciding what will have the most impact and begin there. What has been committed to others? If it cannot be completed, they should be made aware as soon as possible. Successful housekeeping managers keep and make lists daily, tracking priorities over the course of the week and month (and even setting yearly goals). Getting organized is all about creating and visualizing your priorities and goals.

iStock_000089976943The daily list should never be more than five items long or it is a set up for failure.

Work efficiently and maximize productivity

  • Delegate, delegate, delegate
    Most tasks are better complete than set aside to be completed perfectly. Delegating is an exceptional tool for the manager and staff. It teaches staff not only how to do complete the tasks but also how to address related problems. There are team members in every hotel that want to learn, grow and help. Let them shine, and let them help you shine.
  • Not just on silent
    Even when a cell phone is on silent, it is still a distraction. Productive people take time away from their phones during the day. Try it when completing the schedule for the following week or doing monthly inventory. Tasks will be accomplished much quicker. This is especially true for tasks that may not be your favorite.
  • Decisions, decisions…
    Disorganization is often the result of failing to decide what to do about – or what to do with – something. Start making decisions about little things, and soon you will find yourself more confident about taking more action.
  • No more pop ups
    We are all susceptible to distractions – big or small. When working on a project or task, what do your eyes do when an email notification flashes on the screen? You know you should finish what you are doing, but you get distracted, stop what you are doing and read the email. It is the same theory as to why we all slow down to look at an accident. We’re all human, and we all get distracted. To combat this, change the settings in your email program so these distractions don’t stand a chance.
  • No desktop clock
    Have you ever wondered why there are no clocks in casinos? It is because they do not want you to focus on the time; they want you to focus on the task at hand. The same rule applies to your desktop. We all have plenty of clocks in our offices; between our cell phone and office phone, we have plenty of places to check the time. When overwhelmed, it feels as though the illuminated clock on the desktop is mocking you. You are thinking, “Is that really the time?” “What do I have left to do?” “How am I going to finish everything?” To remove this distraction, go into your desktop toolbar settings and turn the clock option off.
  • Just shut the door
    An old adage is that a good manager must have an open-door policy. Make sure you are clear on what that really means. An open-door policy means you are available for team members’ questions or concerns based on your schedule. It does not mean you keep your door open at all times. Count the amount of times each day that you’re distracted with people just popping in to say hello; the time adds up quickly. Manage your office door like you manage your calendar.

Keep to a schedule
Are department schedules made two weeks out? Of course, schedules change based on occupancy, but consider creating schedules two-weeks out versus one-week out so the team can plan ahead. Schedules can always be altered if occupancy increases or decreases.

When creating shift checklists, include time details on when tasks are to be completed. This will assist a team member’s ability to manage their time.    ■

Dawn Berry is president/CEO of PHD Hospitality, a hotel property management firm founded in 2006, located in Scottsdale, Ariz. As a 25-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Berry spent the majority of her career climbing the ranks within Hilton Hotels Corporation, capping off her tenure there as vice president, brand management, for Hilton Garden Inn. To learn more, visit www.phd-hosp.com or email info@phd-hosp.com.

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