Housekeeping Department

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Accommodation Management
Staffing
The housekeeping department of a hotel is responsible for ‘cleanliness, maintenance, aesthetic upkeep of rooms, public areas, back areas and surroundings.’ The department is not always given the respect it is due in terms of work load, the size of which can be estimated by the fact the department often employs the largest workforce. There are a variety of areas the housekeeping department must manage, the following table taken from Hotel Housekeeping Operations and Management depicts the housekeeping department’s span of control: Front of House AreasBack of House Areas

Guestrooms
Corridors
Lobbies and public restrooms
Pool and patio areas
Meeting rooms
Dining rooms/restaurants
Banquet hallsConvention Halls
Hotel-operated shops
Games rooms / recreation rooms
Exercise rooms / gymnasium
Building exterior
Landscaping and gardens
Management offices
Storage areas
Linen and sewing rooms
Laundry room
Employee locker rooms
Administrative officesCloak rooms
Maid’s service room

The diversity of areas controlled by the housekeeping department requires structured planning when delegating tasks to be undertaken. Developing an organisational structure is a process which deals with ‘identifying and grouping work’ and aims to ensure the department works as a unit, with clear lines of authority and good lines of communication and is essential for the smooth running of the department. A Schematic representation, known as an organisational chart, assists in defining roles and relationships within an organisation, the following organisational chart has been created for a four star hotel with one hundred bedrooms.

‘Structure is the best way to channel employees’ efforts towards productive efforts (O’Fallon et al, 2010). It is important to continually review an organisations structure to ensure the structure is aiding the attainment of the organisations goals and proving to be financially viable. Making an organisational structure more financially viable is an issue with which most managers are concerned with and it is important to regularly revise the structure as the business is continually changing. Activities should be grouped together to define departments and similar activities grouped to create one position. Authority should flow in an unbroken line from the top to the bottom of the organisation; this should include defining decision makers and highlighting that each employee reports to only one supervisor. Delayering is a concept of management which involves, in effect, the removal of middle management. This concept creates a ‘flatter structure’ and is achieved by the elimination or automation of management activities and making redundancies. The organisational structure identified in Figure one could be delayered by the removal of the Director of housekeeping as, in a hotel of this size there is no requirement to have both a director and an executive housekeeper and laundry supervisor could be removed and duties distributed between the laundry manager and the pressmen and washers.

The executive housekeeper ‘assumes complete direction, operational control, and supervision of the housekeeping and laundry department and pool areas’ (Raughubalan, 2009). The executive housekeeper must operate these departments in an efficient manner and ensure the proper enforcement of company policies and procedures. The executive housekeeper must ensure the standard operating procedures are adhered to and tasks and goals are achieved through good communication with staff and appropriate training and motivation of employees. An executive housekeeper must develop job descriptions and determine tasks performed by individuals under their span of control. Housekeeping personnel can be divided into managerial; executive housekeeper, supervisory; deputy housekeeper, floor supervisor, public area supervisor, linen room supervisor, desk control supervisor,...
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