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Operations: When Housekeeping is Fun


Running a successful housekeeping department for three facilities ranging from 14,000-square-feet to 80,000-square-feet is not an easy task.

But thankfully at Gainesville Health and Fitness (GHF), I have the advantage of having a staff full of hard workers that are fully invested in our company culture. Part of our company culture is having an “uncommon level of commitment to our physical environment.” Our culture of clean emphasizes to every employee, not just housekeepers, that they are responsible for the cleanliness of the club and that we don’t have a culture that enables people to say “that’s not my job.”

Here’s a snippet from our customer service manual on our culture of clean:

Uncommon level of commitment to our physical environment:

  • We have systems to maintain facilities that are clean, orderly and well maintained.
  • We have a full-time maintenance staff and a team of over 40 housekeepers.
  • We believe cleanliness is everyone’s job.
  • We have a 24-hour repair deadline on all equipment.
  • We are ranked as one of the four cleanest clubs in America.

Another important aspect of keeping the club clean is motivating your staff. I take my job very seriously as GHF’s “Clean Queen” and invest a lot of time in my employees. From selecting them, to growing them as both employees and individuals, be there every step of the way. Take a personal investment in your staff. Make sure your staff knows that you care about them as a person first and foremost. This is especially important in a job like housekeeping where “thank yous” and positive feedback are harder to find. Also be the type of leader that’s not afraid to get their hands dirty. I make sure my staff knows I would not ask them to do anything I wouldn’t do or haven’t done before.

Something else I’ve found helpful has been to always ensure you have the newest equipment for cleaning. This has not only made some of the housekeepers tasks easier to accomplish, but has also made them more fun. As a matter of fact, I recently got a new foaming product to clean the showers that we call the “flame thrower,” which is truly a joy to use. Now everyone is fighting over who gets to clean the showers. Housekeeping became more of a game than the quintessential janitorial job.

Make sure you don’t forget the little things. From getting great smelling chemicals, to getting colorful pens for them to write in on their checklists, I like to make sure housekeeping is more than just their job, but something they can come in and be excited for. Morale more than anything is probably what drives the housekeeping department to success.

Things like potluck functions after department meetings increase the unity of the department and create friendships. It’s easier to come to work if you’re going to be working with your friends.

If there is one thing I want you to take away from this post it is love your staff, and be there for them. It’s all in the little things you do that make a big impact.

Annette Valero

Annette Valero is the housekeeping director at Gainesville Health and Fitness Centers

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