All the buildings across the globe whether it is personal home or offices, shops, hotels, hospitals, clubs, etc., needs to be kept well maintained, clean and tidy, so that it looks inviting to all. This is where housekeeping comes into the picture. Cleaning and maintenance services are very easy to spot anytime, anywhere.
The basic idea of housekeeping was started from keeping a personal home clean and has gradually come to maintaining high standards of cleanliness and maintenance at commercial levels. Besides this , housekeeping should also contribute to the saving in costs of labor, cleaning material and equipment, furnishings and the like in every type of establishment.
But before we move into the actual working and detailed procedures of this interesting and probably the most important activity of our daily life, it is important to get introduced to the commercial concept of housekeeping, its role and importance, the various functions of housekeeping and the responsibilities of personnel involved in housekeeping services. Besides, it is also important to know the grooming standards of these personnel.
Housekeeping in simple words means maintaining a house on a daily or long term basis or looking after its cleanliness, tidiness, upkeep and smooth running. When you keep your house clean and well maintained, you would also like to make it as beautiful as possible. How do you make sure that everything in the house is in usable condition? None of the objects are broken or chipped and fabrics are not torn. All the fixtures like taps, geysers, electric wiring, bulbs, tubes, fans, plug-points, are in good working condition, geysers are not leaking, electric wiring is proper and there is no danger of fire due to short circuiting, and so on.
Thus, the different procedures followed to keep and maintain everything in the house in a good and presentable order, are collectively known as good housekeeping. In other words, we may also say that housekeeping is a process of keeping a place clean, beautiful and well maintained so that it looks and feels pleasant and inviting to all, living, visiting or working there.
AREAS OF HOUSEKEEPING
You must have understood by now how important good housekeeping is to your own house. Similarly, it is equally important for any other kind of establishment, be it a shop, a trading center, an office, club, guesthouse, hospital, hotel or a hostel. Every area in the establishments mentioned above needs to be kept clean and tidy and everything placed here has to be in a presentable and working condition. Thus, housekeeping is an essential and regular feature in all types of establishments.
In commercial establishments, the housekeeping services are done by a team of specialized people according to different areas. Here is a detailed list of areas which need housekeeping. You can add to the list if you like.
- Rooms and corridors: – ceiling and wall paint, wall paper, fans, air-conditioners, electrical switches and sockets, wiring, windows, doors, glass panes, bed, bed-making, carpets, locks, keys, etc.
- Toilets: – taps, sinks, water closet, geysers, water supply, electrical sockets and switches, supply of towels, toilet paper, toiletries (soap, shampoo, etc.)
- Linen: – linen (table napkin, tablecloth) towels, bed sheets, bed covers, blankets, garments of guests, staff uniforms, etc.
- Furniture and furnishings: – furniture, curtains, table lamps, tube lights, chandeliers, bulbs, sofas, dining tables and chairs, etc.
- Gardens:– Plants, pots, lawn (grass), flowers, trees, bushes, hedges, etc.
- Public areas: – stair case, corridors, lobby, conference/ seminar room, waiting halls, recreation room, parking area, clubs, swimming pool, offices, common toilets etc.
PERSONNEL INVOLVEMENT IN HOUSEKEEPING
Looking at your own home, who is the person most responsible for upkeep of your house? Yes, it is your mother, who may be helped by other family members or a hired help. Similarly, in most commercial organizations, the responsibility of housekeeping is assigned to a person called a housekeeper. She or he is responsible for upkeep and maintenance of the premises. Depending on the size and type of organization, there may or may not be a separate section meant to look after various aspects of housekeeping. A small shop may depute a single person to look after these aspects. Yet bigger offices, commercial establishments, guest houses, hotels, hospitals, hostels, clubs usually organize a group of people to look after their housekeeping. These groups of people constitute a housekeeping department. Some establishments may also seek outside help and make use of certain agencies which specialize in such kind of work.
Wherever there is separate housekeeping department a proper organizational structure is necessary with different kinds of people responsible for different tasks and some people to supervise them. Let us now discuss the duties and responsibilities of each of them individually.
Housekeeper– the housekeeper is the overall in-charge of the housekeeping department. He or she directly controls all the personnel as well as all aspects of housekeeping. She/ he is responsible for the cleanliness, beautification and maintenance of the premises.
Assistant housekeeper – He or she is responsible for all the aspects similar to that of the housekeeper. In case the organization works round-the-clock, there maybe more than one assistant housekeeper to work in different shifts.
Housekeepers / assistant: Housekeepers are in turn assisted by the following members. These members also have workers to assist them.
Control desk supervisor: this person communicates with the staff and coordinates with various departments of the organization. He becomes the Center point of all messages, complaints etc., and also keeps records of what work has been assigned to whom and maintains the general follow-up of the same.
Linen storekeeper: he/she is responsible for storage, issue, cleanliness and maintenance of linen. (Napkins, table cloths, bed sheets, bed covers, pillow covers, blankets, curtains and uniforms )
Floor supervisor: for multi-storied buildings, each floor is attended by a floor supervisor. He/ she is responsible for the cleanliness and maintenance of the assigned floor which includes rooms, corridors, rest rooms, stair case, etc., for jobs like changing or repairing lights, switches, etc.
Public area supervisor: He/she is responsible for cleanliness and maintenance of waiting halls, lobby, conference/seminar room, recreation rooms, parking area, clubs, offices, etc.
Cloak room in-charge: He/she is responsible for the maintenance and service of common toilets.
Horticulturist– He/ she is responsible for all the floral and plant decoration as well as the upkeep of gardens in the premises.
Skilled workers– skilled workers like plumbers, electricians, carpenters, painters are needed to do minor repairs. There may be a separate department for maintenance and engineering work and the housekeeping can coordinate with it to do these jobs.
These services are to be rendered with the highest degree of efficiency. Besides this efficiency, housekeeping should also contribute to the saving in costs of labor, cleaning material and equipment, furnishings and the like in every type of establishment.
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