Hotel Staff ; Staff Scheduling Software: Visual Rota
Hotel Staff and Staffing A Hotel
The Housekeeping department must be the most important. It has the greatest proportion of staffing hours to cover, the most staff, the most hours to cover and it is a cost center. Unlike the restaurant and bar, which are revenue centers, and as long as they are not overstaffed, the more staff you have the more revenue is generated. The housekeeping department is also the one the customers notice most if anything is wrong. You have to have the right number of staff on duty, or it shows.
The housekeeping department can have the following staff depending on the size of hotel. Housekeeper and assistant housekeepers, room maids, cleaners, staffmaids, cloakroom attendants, houseporters, valets, laundry and linen keeper. The staff hours of cover depend on the hotel and type of customer, business people require different time schedules to people on holiday with children. The staff need to be scheduled accordingly and in a ratio to the number of guests staying in the hotel. Fortunately, most people book ahead and the workload is known well in advance, especially during peak periods.
Your staffing requirement will depend on the occupancy of your hotel. It is possible to get quite good estimates of staff numbers based on average times to do tasks, such as cleaning a room. Then you can allocate 10, or 15, or even 20 rooms to each room maid. It is also quite easy to estimate the total number of staff needed in a year for a task. We have a page about annual hours.
For example, cleaning an occupied room takes 30mins/day, en-suite bathroom 6mins/day, therefore a maid for every 13 occupied rooms. A hotel with 100 rooms(all occupied) needs 8 maids. Then we can sum this up for a year of 365 days, which comes to 2900 maid days per year. We can then divide this by the number of days a maid works per year, say 240, and arrive at a figure of 12 full time maids. Hence we can recruit the 12 maids and start using them on the rooms. I havent allowed for average occupancy, sickness rates, and a lot of other things which readily come to mind, because at this point, the difficult thing is to find a way of sharing the yearly workload on a day by day basis. This is the difficult part, just how do you allocate the maids so that you have just the right number on every day. Well, the answer depends on where you are at the moment. An existing hotel staffed, is different to a new hotel unstaffed.
If I first deal with a new hotel, then the resultant method is easier. First, dont start from the above yearly totals, use the daily hour totals to tell you how many staff is needed each day. Start Visual Rota, set it up for, say 13 4week periods and name the staff, as RM1, RM2, etc. Then start to allocate shifts according to your occupancy rates (anticipated). At this stage you can use full time or part time staff, working full shifts, half shifts and split shifts. Give the staff days off, usually in the ratio of for every 5 days they work, they have 2 off. Try to use full time staff as much as possible if they are cheaper, and fill in the blanks with part time staff. Then you can recruit the staff in accordance with your requirements and allocate shifts to the staff weeks in advance, possibly months.
At some stage you need to deal with holidays and staff turnover. All staff takes holidays but it is difficult to know in advance when this is going to be. Thats why we invented dice. If you look back at your records (difficult if you are a new hotel, I know, and then you have to guess) you will see the pattern of absenteeism, sickness and holidays, and even staff turnover. This pattern can be replicated by throwing dice. For instance, if you employ 12 maids and your staff turnover is 50%, then six of your maids leave every year, or one every 2 months. You wont know when exactly and it is difficult for us to be random in our decisions, so throw a dice for each month. If the number is even, a 2, 4,or 6, then a maid leaves that month, if the number is odd, no one leaves that month. Then you can arrange for a new maid to be recruited in line with the throw of the dice. Perhaps not, perhaps what you will do is to include into your budgets the cost of hiring a new recruit and the cost of using an employment agency.
You can use Visual Rota to allocate training days for new staff and existing, or keep records of sickness, absenteeism, lateness, frequency of requests and holidays.
An existing hotel will be using their established working practice for staffing. Visual Rota enables you to analyse this and see if improvements can be made and how much you can save by changing your working practice. Staff need an incentive to change and if you offer part of your savings as a pay increase, that goes a long way to getting the changes accepted. We have regularly improved the way we work by incorporating new pay deals for existing staff and hiring new staff as and when we replaced the staff due to natural wastage on our new terms.
Visual Rota enables you to move your staff around to minimise the effects of peaks and troughs in occupancy levels. You can bring in more staff when needed and give them days off during slack periods. The program keeps track of their hours and shifts, so everyone gets exactly the right number of hours of work, but your costs are minimized.
Other departments are equally capable of being analysed and scheduled by Visual Rota. It is possible to have one file for the entire hotel, or several files to cover each area, floor or department. Whichever method you use at the moment, you can do the same on the computer, but faster.
There is always a compromise between the number of staff doing a particular job and the cover they provide. If there is only one housekeeper, then the maximum cover would be 40 hours/week, whilst the staff Rota would be providing up to 168 hours of cover a week, hence one of the main management functions is to determine how much staffing is provided and at what grade of staff. Fortunately, hoteliers are not subject to staffing levels determined by legislation, and can decide for themselves.
There are as many degrees of job specialization within the lodging industry as there are types of organizations??”there are many types of organizations. One extreme is the case of a hotel where the owner/operator is responsible for checking in the guests, servicing their needs, taking care of the housekeeping for the guest rooms, maintaining the building and grounds, and checking out the guests. There is, to be sure, much to recommend this method of work. It is rewarding to have total control over a project from beginning to end, and many people find it motivating to see the results of their efforts. However, as the demand for additional products or services increases (i.e., if additional rooms are added or another hotel is purchased), it becomes more and more difficult for an individual to do his or her job well. One benefit of the increased workload is increased revenue, which would enable the individual hotel operator to add housekeeping staff, one or more front desk agents to check in and check out the additional guests, and engineering and Maintenance personnel to care for the building and grounds.
As a general rule, specialization increases worker productivity and efficiency. On the other hand, delegating jobs increases the need for managerial control and coordination. Someone has to make sure that housekeeping staff come in after the painters have repainted a room (and that the paint is dry), not before! A crucial element of hotel and Lodging management is coordinating the many specialized functions within hotels so that the organization runs smoothly. Housekeeping, reception, porters, cleaning, room service, restaurant, bar, the list of departments is long enough, but each department has several grades of staff. Visual Rota is a computer program design for staff scheduling. Other pages on this site cover all the aspects of the program. The program will make your job easier and much quicker.
Specialization has its own set of problems; it can result in workers performing the same tasks over and over again. A point can be reached where the degree of specialization so narrows a job??™s scope that the worker finds little joy or satisfaction in it. Signs of overspecialization include workers??™ loss of interest, lowered morale, increasing error rate, and reduction in service and product quality.
One solution to this problem is to modify jobs so that teams can perform them. Instead of a single guest room attendant being assigned to a group of rooms, a work team in a hotel housekeeping department might clean all of the rooms on a particular floor. Some establishments Use teams regularly throughout the organization; others use teams More selectively. Teams can be directed by a manager or can be self managed.
The idea behind self-managed work teams is for workers to Become their own managers, which increases their self-reliance as well as develops a talent pool. A concept called the quality circle is based on the belief that the people who actually do the work, rather than their managers, are the ones who are best able to identify, analyze, and correct problems they encounter. The idea originated in Japan in 1962. The quality circle is a group of employees, usually fewer than ten, who perform similar jobs and meet once per week to discuss their work, identify problems, and present possible solutions to those problems. For example, a quality circle might be formed among front desk agents. The group forwards its findings and proposals to management for evaluation and action. Quality circles are most successful when they are part of an organization- wide improvement effort. American business picked up on the quality circle concept in the mid-1970s
Typically, the rooms department (called the front desk department in a limited-service facility) includes reservations, the front office, housekeeping, and telephone or PBX. In smaller full-service hotels, security and engineering might also be included in the rooms department. Responsibilities of the rooms department include reservations, guest reception, room assignment, tracking the status of rooms (available or occupied), prompt forwarding of mail and phone messages, security, housekeeping of guest rooms and public spaces such as lobbies, and answering guests??™ questions. To perform these many duties effectively, the rooms department may be divided into a number of specialized subunits. To complicate matters, in many instances these subunits are also referred to as departments. The laundry department is responsible for cleaning and pressing the entire hotel??™s linens and employee uniforms as well as guest laundry. Because of its specialized function, little of the knowledge and skills required to manage a laundry operation is transferable to other areas of hotel operations.
The front office is one of the most important departments in a hotel, as it often offers the only contact between guests and staff. A hotel??™s front office is where guests are greeted when they arrive, where they are registered and assigned to a room, and where they check out.
Usually, the telephone operator, other guest communications functions, and the bell staff or those employees responsible for delivering luggage and messages and attending to special guest requests also fall under the front office umbrella. The reservations department takes and tracks the hotel??™s future bookings. The housekeeping department is responsible for cleaning guest rooms and public spaces. Because of their specialized nature, the security and engineering departments are discussed in separate sections.
A great deal of interdependence exists among the subunits of the rooms department. For example, reservations must inform the front office of the number of presold rooms each day to ensure that a current inventory of salable rooms is always available. On the other hand, the front office must let reservations know whenever walk-in guests (those who do not have reservations) register. A similar level of cooperation is required between the front office and housekeeping. When a guest checks out, the front office must inform housekeeping so that the room may be cleaned. Once a room is cleaned, housekeeping must inform the front office so that the room may be sold. Certain tasks within the rooms department must occur in a specific order. For example, housekeeping cannot properly provision a guest room if the laundry does not supply enough clean towels or bed sheets. Engineering cannot replace a defective light switch in a guest room if housekeeping does not report the problem. Effective management of this busy department calls for standardized plans, procedures, schedules, and deadlines, as well as frequent direct communication between the executives who manage the key operating units of the rooms department.
Security. The hotel and lodging business is vulnerable to security and safety Problems. Problems can be created by guests, employees, or intruders. Security breaches can result in embezzlement, theft, arson, robbery, and even terrorism. Depending on the size of a hotel or a lodging establishment, the security function may be handled by a fully staffed department on site, contracted to an outside security company, or assigned to designated staff members or on-premises supervisory personnel in the rooms department. In a larger, full-service hotel, the director of security may report directly to the general manager. In smaller hotels, the security function might become a task of the rooms department Engineering. Typically, the engineering department??™s responsibilities include preventive maintenance; repair; replacement; improvement and modification to furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FFE); and ensuring uninterrupted provision of utilities (gas, electricity, water). Preventive maintenance involves routine checks and inspection of the key components of all equipment. Maintenance of recreational facilities may be part of the engineering department??™s responsibilities. In particular, swimming pools require extensive maintenance to ensure proper filtration and to prevent the accumulation of algae and other conditions unsuitable for swimming.
Prompt repair minimizes loss of productivity in other hotel operating departments and inconvenience to hotel guests. When a particular FFE has reached the end of its useful life and repair is no longer cost-effective, replacement is indicated. Improvement projects enhance the existing operation or reduce operating costs of the facility.
Modification projects alter the existing operation to accommodate one or more new functions.
One hotel might have a large engineering staff that includes plumbers, carpenters, painters, electricians, and other technicians. Another might have maintenance personnel who have general knowledge and understanding of the hotel??™s operations but rely on outside contractors for specialized jobs. In larger, full-service hotels, engineering may be a separate department, with a director who reports directly to the resident manager.

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