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As the name signifies, housekeeping means up-keeping of the house. Now the question comes, what is upkeep? Upkeep means keeping a clean, comfortable and safe house. Housekeeping department in a hotel is responsible for the cleanliness, maintenance and aesthetic upkeep of the property. To make a hotel pleasing to a guest, it is a task of housekeeping to ensure the basic human need of comfort and security. Thus the personal efforts of the department make in giving the guest desirable rooms which have a direct bearing on the guest`s experience and expenditure during their stays.
Housekeeping is a commercial lingo for basic housekeeping. We all are well versed that it is a lady in our homes who take care of the house. It is surprising that the tradition is here since a long run. Maybe the same reason, this tradition extends to the hotel as well as where the housekeeper, in most cases is a woman.
The concept of housekeeping is simplistic but when one considers maintaining a house of several hundred rooms and numerous public areas, the task becomes gigantic. It takes a well-organized approach and technical understanding to enable housekeeping to cope with the volume of work. The work performed by housekeeping department is critical to the smooth and efficient operation of any hotel. This department is also responsible for every aspect of the guest room that is to provide all the required guest supplies and material according to the guest request during their stay. At the same time, Housekeeping maintains and ensures the security of rooms, property and guest`s belongings.
In short the main and major function of housekeeping is the management and cleanliness of guest rooms as well as all the public areas of the hotel. Hotel department may be divided into the Front of the house and back of the house and housekeeping works as the "Back of the house" OR they are also called "Heart of the house". Housekeeping department's staffs are those staffs which have very little or no direct contact with the guest.
Housekeeping department job(source capitalhotelschool.com)
There is not any particular layout of the housekeeping department. It depends upon the hotel size, system and volume of business in the hotel. One has to pay great attention while planning the layout, as the layout should ensure smooth traffic flow and an efficient and energetic work on time.
It is important to have different sections separately within the department in order to run and operate day to day functions in more effective and efficient and comfortable manner that makes the staffs work independently without getting disturbed. The sections should be planned in such a way that these are easily accessible in a short period.The different sections within housekeeping are:
An executive housekeeper has no plan, counsel, and brief and meets her subordinates. The office should be private and peaceful. It should preferably be glass pended office so as to give him/her a view of what is happening outside of the hotel. The office should be laid by a cabin for the secretary who would control the movement into the housekeeper office.
The room acts as a nerve system center for the coordination and communication with the front office and other departments. The desk control room should have a large notice board to pin up staffs schedule and day to day instructions. The desk control room is the point where all staffs report for duty and check and check out at the end.
This is the room where current linens are stored for issue and receipt. The room should be large and airy and free from the heat and humidity. It should have adequate shelves and should be easily accessible to stack all the linen. It should be secured and offer no possibilities of pilferage. The linen room should have a counter, across which the exchange of linen takes place. The room should be perfectly be adjoining the laundry so as to supply linen to form the laundry.
This room keeps the stock of new linen and cloth materials for uniform, etc. the stock maintained should be enough to replenish the whole hotel at a time. However, these stocks are only touched when the current linen in circulation falls short due to damage or loss. The room should be cool and dry with ample shelves. The shelves should be minimum 6 inches above the ground.
This room stocks the uniform in urgent cases. It is possible that smaller hotel may choose to combine the uniform room with the linen room. A separate uniform room depends on the volume of uniform in circulation. The only difference is that the uniform room would have adequate hanging facilities as many uniforms are best maintained when hung.
This room is kept for house tailor who attends to the stitching and patch up work of linen and uniforms. Rooms are avoided if the mending and stitching jobs are done on a contract basis.
This section should be small and airy with cupboards to store the guest articles lost or may be claimed later.
This should be air conditioned room to keep the flower fresh. The room should have worked table, a sink with water supply and all necessary tools required for flower arrangement.
This is an important section under housekeeping which is responsible for cleaning of all fabrics used in a hotel. This section should be adjacent to linen room so as to avoid excessive steps.
Laundry should ensure the cleanliness and drying of all guest clothes, employee uniforms and linen to the best-assured standards.
Housekeeping layout differs from hotel to hotel. Layout totally depends upon the size and facility limitation. However, if the housekeeper is involved in the facility of the planning stage, he or she must be aware of the number of functions, room, and volume of business anticipated so as to planned accordingly. She must also determine whether the management intends to contract the horticulture, tailoring, maintenance, upholstery, etc. it is wise to analyze and estimate in advance the traffic flow and size of equipment, trolleys, etc so as to ensure the smooth flow of work.
ORGANIZATION CHART OF HOUSEKEEPING DEPARTMENT
Oli Gopal Singh et.al., Hotel Management Principles and Practices-XI, Buddha Prakashan,Kathmandu.
Bhandari, Saroj Sing et.al., Principles of Hotel Management-XI, Asmita Books Publication, Kathmandu.