Appreciating the Role of a Housekeeper

I have been running a hotel with my husband for the past ten years and over these years have helped out in all departments for maybe a day or two when we have been short staffed or when someone calls in sick at the last minute. However, in the last two weeks I gave myself the task to fully support the housekeepers. I just jumped into the job doing whatever was required from cleaning the toilets, bathrooms, polishing, making beds, vacuuming, to restocking teas and coffees.

What I really got to appreciate is that there is only a short window of opportunity to prepare the rooms from when guests leave to when the next guests arrive, and in that time everything has to be done, from cleaning the room, to polishing, dusting, making the beds, fresh waters and topping up teas and coffee facilities. Once all that’s done, then the public areas need to be cleaned and finally the counting and bagging of all the dirty laundry. Wow, this is a task… with guests leaving at 11am and the next ones arriving by 3pm… not a long time between at all!

I was amazed at how in an orderly fashion our staff had got into a rhythm and flow… what to start with and what to finish with… the timings being perfect, completing each room within the short period of time allotted. It really got me to stop and appreciate the team I have had for many years who have done this role day in day out and are still smiling at the end of the day, even though some days the rooms are much messier than usual, especially after a late party or wedding.

It is sure not a job for the faint hearted, as there is a lot of lifting and bending involved, and many steps up and down the building. You don’t need a gym membership when you do a housekeeping role in hotel: climbing all the steps several times a day and lifting bags is more than your daily allowance.

Our staff often laugh about how many steps they have to go up and down and how strong their arms have become from all the lifting and carrying. My husband often laughs too and says maybe we should collect a gym membership for all the fitness they receive on the job! But on a serious note, it is a job that when done with a purpose in mind, not only leaves a beautiful imprint for another to feel, but also keeps your body quite supple and fit.

What I have come to truly appreciate is that the housekeeping role is actually very demanding on the body and if the body is not looked after and nourished, you could very easily fall ill. Hydration is very important too as you are burning lots of calories. If you’re not taking rest moments and deeply resting when you are at home, you may find yourself going straight for the sugar and carbs to keep yourself going instead of making sure you are resting sufficiently. There is so much to work with and bring into one’s awareness when being a housekeeper.

People often look down at housekeeping as being the worst job in the industry, but in truth it is the most important job in the foundational sense as the housekeepers leave a lovely clean space for everyone to enjoy; without this there would be no clean space and no customers!

When we stop and reflect on this truth, it really knocks out the hierarchical attitude in the hospitality industry as to housekeeping being the worst job and chefs and managers being the best. Being an owner and having worked in all departments of hospitality, I know without a doubt that everyone’s role is equally important; there is no hierarchy at all. Everyone just has different responsibilities they have to carry out; at the end of the day the goal is the same – to provide a true service, which provides our customers with a pleasant experience.

I really enjoyed working in the housekeeping role as I truly got to experience the full responsibilities of the job under a very tight time constraint. What I also enjoyed was how I stayed connected with my body and my movements found a flow as I completed the task at hand, whether it was cleaning toilets, bathrooms or making the beds. To me all of these roles were equally important. I was aware in each moment that the imprints I left behind would be felt by the next person that came in and that’s when I felt the impact of true responsibility.

Staying present and connected to the task at hand, I could feel time expand around me. And I still managed to get my office work done once I had completed the housekeeping duties!

By Amita Khurana, BSc Honours, Hotel Business Owner, Pure Harmony Clinic, Director, Practitioner, UK

Related Reading:
There is Honour in Every Job
Taking Toilet Cleaning to a New Level
What is the Science of Appreciation and how does it Evolve All of Our Relationships?

548 thoughts on “Appreciating the Role of a Housekeeper

  1. Yes, Amita, housekeeping is definitely one of those jobs that require rhythm and flow, otherwise things take twice as long. It feels great to work as a team in this harmonious way.

  2. I could feel the sense of equality that you bring to your workplace and how beneficial that is for everyone – not only staff, but everyone that comes to your hotel. That line about no one position is more important than another – everyone just has their role to play feel so right, and something that I would love to see more common in the workplace.

  3. This is so true Amita about no job is more important than the other and that everyone has there part to play in the whole so that what is being delivered is one of true service that cares and embraces the clients. I too am a manager in hospitality and have stepped in to fill each different area of the business and it certainly is an eye opener as to what we all do and how each one is essential for the whole.

    1. This feels like an essential part of understanding your business Natalie. And particularly bringing home the understanding to anyone who takes the care to do this, that no part or role is great in importance than another. EVERY part is fundamental in making that whole work with ease.

  4. Housekeeping is such a varied job and encompasses so many different aspects of caring for space. Appreciating very much here the care that goes into the space of a room or indeed the whole hotel or home, That it sets the energetic scene of what others walk into and live with. It’s a vital part of running a place where people can just be themselves.

  5. Whether we do the housekeeping in a hotel or in our own homes, we can feel the possibility of feeling a lovely imprint behind for the next person who opens the door to find. There’s the appreciation of what a treat it is to receive it too.

    1. I love it Gill… the imprint we leave behind is so important, and taking care of the smallest details, from the quality we move in, definitely makes the difference.

  6. Knowing that all that we are is firstly an energy flowing through us and that our lived quality will be felt by all others regardless of whether we act or not, is a responsibility that we all have, whether we choose to accept the fact or not.

  7. Keeping a house in order is the foundation to our daily lives – a base from which we can regenerate and consolidate.

  8. It’s lovely to read your appreciation Amina of all those who are in your employment, acknowledging that everyone has an equal responsibility for everything to work as a whole, which has nothing to do with their role and all to do with the integrity and quality in the way they do it.

  9. My hat goes off to those that are willing to do the hard – physical graft like cleaning and house – keeping roles. They are definitely undervalued… but where would we be without them?

  10. “But on a serious note, it is a job that when done with a purpose in mind, not only leaves a beautiful imprint for another to feel, but also keeps your body quite supple and fit. I was aware in each moment that the imprints I left behind would be felt by the next person that came in and that’s when I felt the impact of true responsibility.” Thank you Amita for a great sharing, your words inspire me to be much more aware of my movements and the imprints I am leaving behind for others to feel.

  11. There is much to appreciate in terms of how you support and care for your employees. Employees are happy to work hard and give back when they know they are supported and cared for. Its like an appreciation feedback loop. No one looses out.

  12. I have actually chosen the job of a housekeeper although I have worked many years in managerial positions, enjoyed dental nursing for several years and have studied at university. It is an awesome job that offers great opportunities to stay connected to ones movements/body. You get to know families in a very personal way as homes speak loudly and you get to bring sparkle where ever you go. My list could go on forever. I am always amused at peoples reaction when they hear of my experience and qualifications and realise I am telling the truth, I chose to clean as a job…….

  13. Every role is an important part of the whole and what makes it so beautiful is the quality in which we go about our days. It is from the quality that then brings true sparkle to each and every aspect of our life and our daily activities which is so cool to experience and enjoy everywhere we go.

  14. As you say Amita every single role is equally important as everythign we do has an effect on everyone. I used to think certain jobs were beneath me and I would never do them but I find so much pleasure now in the simplest ‘mundane’ jobs as I know it is abotu the quality I am in when I do them rather than what I am doing. What I also know is the responsibility I have to live this in all areas of my life as I cannot, however hard I try, switch it on in one area if I have not been living it. Sure I can bemore present etc.. but the depth of love and care I go to when I am bringing it to all areas of my life magnifies the quality I am doing everything with. I then get to see the magic in what I am doing and the way it touches others and so appreciate more and more what I am able to offer others ismply by living the love that I am.

  15. Everyone has a part to play and all are needed in the bigger scheme, ‘Being an owner and having worked in all departments of hospitality, I know without a doubt that everyone’s role is equally important; there is no hierarchy at all.’

  16. I love the appreciation you bring to housekeeping, I’m sure guests would be very quick to complain if the room wasn’t properly cleaned and presented but how many people stop to appreciate the care that is put into the room when it has been beautifully cleaned and presented?

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