Experienced Executive Housekeepers can plan their next day with closed eyes as they know their operation inside-out. However, measurement is essential with ever-changing cleaning requirements and a constant demand to reduce labour costs. Some necessary numbers will help guide and back our intuition and allow Leadership or Asset Managers to trust without much question.
Know the product in writing:
Create a Room Listing or Matrix that includes anything that will affect the Housekeeping operation. The Room Listing can be items affecting cleaning (balcony/not) and ancillary info such as colour scheme decoration that could affect your re-ordering of cushions and other items. Start with:
- Room numbers
- Room category in your Property Management System
- Bed type (and pillow type if the Hotel has different pillow sizes within the same categories)
- Additional features affecting cleaning (presence of balcony, extra-large terrace, bathtub, jacuzzi, full-sized wall mirror, connecting door, etc.)
- Additional features affecting future re-ordering of items, re-upholstery, or preventive maintenance (colour scheme decor, sofa-bed, lounge-chair or other, leather colour if changing, library, kitchen or butler room, etc.)
This information will be the base for future project planning, including preventative maintenance, refurbishments, CAPEX item deployment, or restyling.
Set up the Minutes Per Occupied Room (MinPOR)
Run a thorough analysis of the time it takes to clean a room for each category, following every standard without cutting corners. Save time by benefiting from system reports if you have software such as Knowcross, HotSOS Housekeeping (previously REX), HMS Housekeeping, etc. Or go manual: get the most experienced and a lesser experienced Housekeeper to track their start and finish time for each room on their boards. Gather the data for a few days, then have any Excel-guru at your property depict the times by category.
Know your System’s tricks and treats
Whether the Hotel uses the Property Management System (PMS) or a Housekeeping-specific tool, check with the provider the latest manual, updates, and the best way to utilize the system. Kill the ego; a call may save hundreds of working hours. Some pointers:
- Know available classic cleaning status options (Dirty, Clean, Inspect, Pickup) and more recent creative options (Touch up, Clean Full Linen Change/vs. no change, Sanitation, Turndown light, Turndown full, etc.)
- Identify what is essential and what can be skipped for simplification
- Know if Credits, Points, and Minutes are available, their maximum and if they allow decimals
- Ask what the software recommendation is in terms of credits, points, or minutes, base your decision on what works best for your business
- Can the software help the operation in supporting functions? (i.e., blocking rooms Out Of Service (OOS) after a stay for deep cleaning, forecast amenities/linen or plan weekly projects, etc.)
Work out the cleaning service options – especially as of 2021
After the MinPOR is set, we must ensure that all other ‘cleaning status’ we have chosen will have their number of assigned minutes. Bring in the Team Leaders and key Housekeepers to get input.
Now is the time to look at the Hotel’s Rooms listing with attributes and review if there’s any set of rooms that may require additional time or effort. Adjust those, and doing this will complete your Timing Baseline. Keep it simple; if it isn’t substantial, it doesn’t exist.
Work the numbers
The timing baseline is the ground for the subsequent choice. How will the credits or units be set?
- Time: This is your current baseline in minutes. Hotels often choose to display these as the Points or weight at the Task Assignments/Boards as some Attendants love them to plan their time. Keep in mind that these may pose a challenge on days that require flexibility. And they can be a point of discussion for unions, employees oversharing with guests, or days of extra unplanned work.
- Points: This is when a point value is assigned to a number of minutes (i.e., 10 minutes = 1 point). So, the Timing Baseline is divided by that number, and an occupied room cleaning could be the equivalent of 3 or 4 points as an example. Using Points makes it less obvious to the Room Attendants but will still allow Leadership to plan and adjust things mid-day. The software must be able to process decimals
- Credit/Units: This is when cleaning a standard occupied room is assigned the value of 1 Credit or Unit. The rest of the baseline is recalculated based on this as a multiplier (a room could be 1 credit, whereas a suite may turn to be 2 credits if it requires double the time). Choose the 1-value to be with or without linen change based on the most common form of occupied room cleaning for your Hotel. This option keeps it simple while preventing time-talks.
Work the extra idle time
Enabling time: Are the linen available in the Room Attendants’ cart, or are they in a closet? How long to the pantry/housekeeping closet? Lack of a linen chute may increase the time requirement. Are corridors cleaned by the Rooms Team or other supporting staff? Are the Room Attendants refilling their cleaning products or cleaning extra areas? How long does this all take? Is there a requirement to keep some spare time for additional tasks?
Staff time: Lunch breaks, bathroom breaks, daily briefings, and inefficiency allowance.
Once the extra or idle time is estimated, you can calculate the number of minutes, points, or credits/units per Housekeeper and staffing required per workday. Based on the number of workable days a week (in-house or outsource will change this calculation), you can start here to work out the Hotel’s required manning for room cleaning as a whole.
We all know how to take an operating department and keep it running, but are we sure it runs at its highest potential for efficiency and effectiveness? When was the last time the Housekeeping Teams’ current workload and Hotel needs were reviewed with a constructive eye?
Observing, Timing, and Setting your actual Hotel Cleaning workload is essential to a smooth operation. Especially now, where the sanitation requirements are rapidly changing, this exercise should be performed regularly. Remember to periodically run task and efficiency analysis on the floor and all these efforts will keep the operations lean.