Housekeeping takes a beating mostly during rains, as even a flexible cleaning schedule makes achieving 100% result a challenge. Managing flexible and demanding housekeeping schedules in wet seasons get tricky in high traffic and sensitive areas. Clean India Journal speaks to housekeepers on seasonal issues…
Making cleaning schedules is no doubt situational but it is seasonal too
Wet floors, damp indoors and odour are common to most premises, be it hotels, banks or manufacturing units. Rains also rake up hygiene issues in food related areas pressing for intense housekeeping service delivery. In most cases, manual cleaning with wet or dry mop is resorted to at most places, issues related to pest, indoor air quality and washrooms increase.
Yadwin Sharma, Executive Housekeeper, Nidra Hotel, Vadodara: Roaches and rains are synonymous and so are insects like flies and other crawling creatures. Their presence in indoor environment during this period is highly visible and to avoid infestation, increased pest control sessions are essential. Normally, we engage pest control services on a weekly basis but during the rainy season we do it twice a week. Simple measures like sprinkling pest chemicals near the drainage area, ensuring there is no water logging in the surrounding areas and keeping a close watch on the possible entry points by feeding anti-insect powders go a long way in curtailing pest inflow.
Outsourcing pest services during rains is another option that we resort to. However, the choice of the pest service provider has to meet our expectations. Professional pest companies with trained manpower and supervision are engaged by us. When we hire a pest vendor, we are giving the responsibility of keeping our hotel pest free to them and if they fail to meet the parameters or report manpower shortage, we will have to look at better options. The local companies here are familiar with the standard of the hotel and we have had no problem in sourcing vendor companies.
The trained in-house housekeeping team at Nidra Hotel uses Diversey cleaning chemicals. Porta cleaning machines and vacuums are deployed for floor cleaning, scrubbing and polishing. Diversey chemicals are good, easily accessible and hygienic.
Shamine, Quality Control In charge, KamathsOurtimes Ice Creams Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai: No doubt, maintenance and hygiene schedules depend on the season but they also differ with the product being dealt with in the given premises. Food related premises have specific requirement to meet cleanliness and hygiene standards. Keeping everything clean is a must in an ice cream unit and difficult too. Moreover, if the cleaning is outsourced, tracking cleanliness and hygiene becomes problematic. There are times when I would need a minimum of seven housekeepers to maintain my premises but end up having only two. I think developing an in house team is much better but in a place like Mumbai with labour problems, outsourcing is the only option.
Outsourcing has its own woes. Firstly, it is a task to monitor outsourced facility; secondly, being labour-oriented job, the efficiency varies from person to person and time to time and, thirdly, the weather also plays a big role in turning things tougher as we are handling a product that is so moist.
Over and above with high attrition, we have to repeatedly train the changing outsourced workers.
Our budget for housekeeping has never faltered but having enough manpower is a necessity that we are unable to meet. We have deployed high pressure jets, foaming machines and floor mops for general cleaning and use cleaning chemicals & liquid soap of Diversey. In high care areas, we have specific cleaning tools, vacuum cleaners and finally the steam cleaning machines.
“While giving the responsibility of maintaining our hotel pest free to a pest vendor, we expect him to meet the parameters, otherwise we will have to look at better options.”
Raju Gajeli, Manager Facility and Administration, Dun and Bradstreet, Mumbai: Even if all housekeeping practices and the entire premises is kept clean, the entrance area maintenance is taxing. Everything can be kept clean in a wide and open premises, except the reception where people visit in high numbers. It becomes difficult to keep the foot prints off the floors especially in the rainy season.
Infrastructure also plays an important role in maintenance. In our premises we have just one common washroom, and it gets challenging, keeping it clean. We have outsourced services to RN Enterprise. Conventional modes of cleaning with brooms and mops is used, but the entire cleaning is done with Kimberly Clark products. As we have a reliable supervisor who takes care of cleanliness, we face no problem with outsourcing.
Rajurangarajan, GM, The Sunway GRT Grand Hotel, Puducherry: A strict regime and proper cleaning products can ensure that even the open grounds are bacteria and insect free. We follow a routine and do a thorough check of all the areas of the hotel, especially the kitchen as food particles, if left around, attract cockroaches and other insects. Every Monday we have pesticides put all over the kitchen and other insect-prone areas. Anti-rodent treatment is followed on a daily basis and a dedicated worker has been assigned to this task. Since rats and roaches are commonly attracted to the food area, we keep the food packed in proper covering. This reduces the opportunity of contamination and the food remains hygienic. In the bakery and confectionary department, toilets and for housekeeping Diversey products and chemicals are used to maintain hygiene.
The entire hotel is maintained in stringent budget but there is no compromise on quality. Hygiene is priority for our hotel. We have taken various initiatives to maintain cleanliness. Individual dustbins for dry and wet garbage which are cleared twice daily; STP using German technology; eco-friendly paper bags in rooms and recycled wastewater for gardening. “Nurture Nature” card, an eco-friendly drive where by guests do not want their bed linen changed leave behind the card in their rooms. We don’t change the linen for the same guest in order to save the chemicals and soaps as the bed may not have been used at all. That way we save energy too.
The in-house team of trained workers follows the schedule to meet parameters and needs to be supervised once a month.