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?

625 thoughts on “Appreciating the Role of a Housekeeper

  1. Amita, this blog is a great reminder that every persons job is valued. Someone has to do it and if it is something that a person enjoys, then why not be paid for it.

    You remind me of a cleaner on a ward who loves cleaning and when she’s away on holidays, boy did I miss her presence. Her cleaning is above and beyond. And yet, she does this day in day out, month after month, year after year. She even makes up from the person that has left the place in a different state. I can feel her cleaning in such a way, that the ward feels different once she has cleaned it to her standards.

    I certainly appreciate her and have done and always will. Every job matters…

  2. Staying connected and present to the job in hand is essential, ‘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.’

    1. A great reminder, that in everything we do, the imprints we leave behind is a responsibility for the next. It’s like going out for dinner and the chef’s mind is elsewhere, you can feel it in the quality of the food, it isn’t served, it is thrown at you…

  3. ” everyone’s role is equally important” When you walk into a house or hotel the first thing you are aware of is ‘How does it feel?’ This is the energetic imprint of all who care for the space you have entered.

  4. It is remarkable what can get done in a True energy and how amazing it feels when the tasks we are doing are completed in that energy, it is like a power-pack from our Inner-heart / Soul.

  5. “Staying present and connected to the task at hand, I could feel time expand around me.” Thanks Amita for your blog and for this line, I’m still learning to stay present with my body and the quality of my movements, when I can everything is a delightful flow, and I feel in tune with the rhythm inside my body.

  6. ‘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.’ One of my favourite things to do is simply to sit in a room I have just tidied and cleaned and enjoy the imprint I have left behind. Whilst I have always enjoyed this for myself, it is only in later years that I have appreciated just how this can support another.

  7. This is a brilliant blog reflecting what can be achieved through team work. We have led ourselves astray by thinking that one job is better or more important than another. I can always tell the quality of the hotel not by the managers but by the staff that work there. They are the life blood if you like of the hotel and if they are not appreciated for all the hard work they do you can feel this as you walk around the premises – it is just so obvious.

  8. I could not agree more – every aspect of running a hotel is equally important, and every aspect is appreciated (or complained about) by the customer because they can feel it to. We have a fantastic team that is really passionate about their job, and there is no question about how that is enjoyed by our guests because the mention it on the feedback… alot!

  9. This feels like true teamwork Amita. Working in flow and harmony no matter what the job role is, is the best job to be in because we leave a full day’s work with vitality and joy and no sign of exhaustion.

  10. I have been housekeeping in a private home a couple of mornings a week for the last year and it has been the most rewarding experience. To know that it doesn’t matter what I am doing, from cleaning the toilets to washing the floors, but how I am doing it, brings the responsibility for any movement I make so very important. So, I work in full awareness of everything I do, knowing that I am leaving an energetic imprint behind, an imprint that is either one of love, or one that is not. For me there is only one choice.

    1. Amazing Ingrid, I can tell you love your job and this will imprint on everything you touch leaving loving imprints everywhere you go. What a blessing.

  11. I am a housekeeper for shared spaces in 3 different co-living buildings.

    I find it very challenging at times to support and care for my body enough to be able to do the work (full time!) without compromising my body by asking too much of it in relation to how much I am supporting myself.

    I love caring for an area knowing people will come in and be more able to feel themselves and have a peaceful space to be in because I have waved my ‘re-set’ magic wand…

    …and I know that when I am not equally or more deeply devoted to myself this does not go so well!

    1. Amazing Jo – I love what you have shared here… The care for self is at least equal in importance as the care for the spaces we enter.

  12. Understanding the equality that is the true nature of humanity, opens a door way into a world where there is no separation, everyone does exactly what they are meant to do with their own unique contribution… And when this happens, the universe just naturally expands.

  13. What a difference it would make if someone is working as a housekeeper thinking it’s the worst job and nobody appreciates them, or knowing the importance of its role as someone who lays a foundational imprint. Actually, everything we do leaves an imprint and we all know how horrible it feels when things are done in resentment. The other day, I was at a checkout point in a food hall and I noticed how this checkout lady was being careful in the way she was replacing the scanned items in a basket and I thanked her for it, and she just lit up and said her thanks for my noticing. I just feel it is very important to express our appreciation when we clock something because the chances are that people don’t even realise or appreciate the beauty they are leaving behind for everyone.

  14. All jobs should be appreciated, all jobs matter, contribute to the whole, also in that sense that it does not matter what job you do, as our value is not in what we do but in who we are. And in who we are, we are all equal.

    1. I absolutely agree Willem that “all jobs should be appreciated” but unfortunately in this hierarchical world, some jobs are afforded way more importance than others, and others are often looked down upon. To me, the person who prepares my room in a hotel, the person who runs a big business and the person who sweeps the streets are all a necessary and valuable part of the fabric of society; no one is greater and no one is lesser, all are simply part of the whole.

    2. Your comment reminds me of the idiom ‘Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes’. Alas, often we look down on those who do the hard jobs but fail to realise every job is of equal importance.

      1. And if the shoes fit wear them, also comes to mind, and thus we full start to understand True-appreciation of the inner-heart, essence / Soul that we can all connect to, this allow another the space to make there own way in life as we all travel a slightly different path.

  15. Yesterday I shared with the cleaning lady when she said she was nearly finished in the place where I needed to be, ‘Please take your time, your work is equally important. We both work with care for the same purpose’.

  16. As a guest it is really important to appreciate just how much work goes into preparing the rooms and place before we arrive. I wonder if we think less of the work of cleaners because we don’t want to work that hard ourselves or with such an obvious responsibility to prepare the space for guests.

  17. I so agree that housekeeping is very much worth appreciating for the foundational role that it offers and how much this can impact everyone coming into the quality of space that has been prepared, definitely not a job role to look down upon.

    1. Housekeeping and cleaning is one of those things that people easily forget to appreciate when it has been done. When it has not been done people are quick to complain, and yet when it is done there is not that depth of appreciation. Something for us all to turn around in society.

  18. Beautiful to appreciate the role of others and housekeeping is a very physical job, when we have experienced ourselves of what staff have to go through on a daily basis we know exactly what help and support they need, it is also great that they know you are willing to get on with the same job too, as it brings more of an equality to all.

  19. ” 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.” This is huge as everything we do has an impact that is felt by all on an energetic basis.

  20. ‘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.’ Love this Amita.. it takes purpose and what we are here for to a whole new level eliminating self in the doing.

    1. Bringing purpose to everything we do is key, ‘ 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.’

  21. Appreciating what others do for us when we stay away from home, I feel is very important. Otherwise, we are treating people like servants and at times see them as less due to their job description. For years now when we stay in a hotel or anywhere away, we strip the beds and tidy up as much as we can in readiness for the staff who clean the rooms.

    1. Housekeeper is an important job, ‘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!’

  22. I can so relate to what you have shared here Amita, as, in a much smaller version of what you have shared, I have been working in a housekeeping role two mornings a week for a man whose wife passed away recently. I have loved the opportunity to move in gentleness through a home that at times feels very sad, in the knowing I have the opportunity to bring a loving quality to everything I do. And when completed I can feel the difference and often this lovely man shares how different the house feels to him. A great example of – it’s not what you do it’s about how you do it.

  23. skills onsite, but how we care for ourselves when we are out of work. We work on our livingness in the job and out of it equally. When someone does this, there is much to appreciate.

    1. Its a great question, are we prepared for our work. I seem to constantly be asked to move large bits of furniture from here to there (and then back again). There have been times in my life when my body has not been fit for purpose and so gets compromised in this, whereas now its with great joy that I bring a fit body that is totally up for what is being asked of it. For me (and in support of the business) its a wonderful feeling.

  24. There is no job that is truly less than another, because every job is vital in supporting another job to work. It’s crazy that the jobs we often look down on are the jobs that are fundamental to the running of society, that we simply could not function without.

    1. Every job is vital and supports another job, ‘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’.

  25. One of the things that I love about my job is that it keeps my body fit, just like housekeeping does. This is to be appreciated.

  26. This Should bd talked About more in the cleaning industry. IT brings back the honor And responsibility for the work they do.

  27. Cleaning is one of the least appreciated occupations. Yet we know there is nothing like a beautifully presented, clean and well stocked space to spend time in. To have a team of cleaners who do this with care and in a calm flow despite the time limitations is amazing.

  28. It is such a blessing to feel the quality of care and honouring in a home or hotel guest room that has been cleaned and prepared. The body absolutely registers the energetic integrity of the space.

  29. Staying present and enjoying all that in life is the key to joy, as we are caring and committed to ourselves and all that we do. I sometimes delay and loose presence but when I am engaged with presence the feeling is amazing.

  30. I travel a lot of work so am regularly staying in hotels, it is beautiful to feel the imprint a housekeeper has left behind in a room, the quality that the room was cleaned in can be felt as soon as you enter the room.

  31. How supportive for your staff Amita and this becomes the way of living that asks in any situation ‘what’s next’ without reservation.

  32. I totally agree Amita, housekeeping is really hard work. I’ve tried it myself and didn’t last long in the job! With any task, and housekeeping is no exception, it is important to stay present, not rush and push, and allow the flow. When I have allowed this to happen myself, my physical body may feel tired but I don’t feel drained. It’s is lovely that you support your staff in this way, treating all equally and not being afraid to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. Lucky staff at your hotel (and guests of course!).

  33. Whenever we walk into a room that has been cleaned with the rhythm of love and purpose such as the way your housekeepers clean your hotel Amita, you can really feel the lightness and see how everything shines. This is definitely something to appreciate.

  34. No job should be looked down upon because every job is equally important. The person who cleans 10 Downing Street, their job is equally important to that of the Prime Minister. The first affects the second and without the first the second couldn’t do their job. Realising that we are are all dependent upon each other in fact part of a huge interdependency would be a great start.

  35. Having appreciation for how a room has been laid out for you is a great feeling. You can instantly feel how much effort has gone into getting the room ready. Recently while in Vietnam the bed had a big red love heart made out of flowers and the words welcome home made out of little green sticks – it must have taken ages.

  36. The way a room or space is cared for and attended to makes such a different to how it feels and consequently can have a big impact on how everyone who enters that room feels, certainly not a job to be dismissed as being lesser in any way.

  37. It’s simple really isn’t it… Just honour everyone,… Behave as if everyone in every position is someone that you truly love… This will make it very simple.

  38. Today I walked into my hotel room and deeply appreciated the people who had changed my bed linen because of the quality of the energy that it was done in, with was care and love.

  39. This is of course a revolutionary awareness for an employer… Imagine a TED talk by Amita on this… Now there’s a subject that would really open a pandora’s box of awareness.

  40. So important to honour every job in a company or institution. And break the consciousness that management jobs are more important than other jobs. When you have management skills, great apply them go for it but don’t identify your self with it. Once we do that, be honest and see that we do that because we haven’t connected to our inner beauty deeply enough.

    1. This is most beautifully said and deeply wise Willem. A way to live that changes our togetherness profoundly, as it honours who we are and the skills we have and have committed to, respecting everyone for the work they do and leaving no room for competition and comparison.

  41. Likewise Amita, I help to run a small hotel and housekeeping is a fully under appreciated role. I’m always struck about how big a part of the whole experience it is, and more often than not its the one that the guests will pick up on… both when its excellent and when its fallen down. So big hand to housekeepers out there – your role is the foundation of a guests experience.

  42. There are many roles and jobs in life that are not appreciated and sometimes because there is a lack of understanding around what is involved in that job and the truth of its energetic work. House-keeper and cleaner are amongst those mentioned above. I have also discovered quite recently that the job of editing is undervalued by some – this job is not known for the time it takes, the precision both energetically and grammatically involved, and most importantly the quality in which it is done. It is one of those ‘invisible’ jobs that are not appreciated. In reality all jobs done from a foundation of Love and our All are wonderful jobs, no matter what ‘society’ dreams about it.

    1. It is so true Lyndy that many of the jobs that people carry out in life are not appreciated but taken for granted. Many years ago while in China I saw some men dressed up in gold and red uniforms sweeping the footpaths outside a hotel. I stopped to watched in amazement at this very unusual sight and could feel the uniform was a part of the appreciation of the importance of their job, one that most would consider not to be important. This obviously made a lasting impression on me as I recall it often.

  43. In us all appreciating the equal importance and value of what every position brings in a company, business or workplace we are then able to truly work as a whole team, powered by our true potential, as such offering services that support humanity to evolve, regardless of whatever our business is.

  44. No role is bigger or smaller than another, hence why it is important to respect, appreciate and value what we do.

  45. Amita I love that you experienced this and it allowed you to deeply appreciate their role.
    I find in our business that the more I do my bit and help the office stay clean and tidy, the more it supports the cleaners and the more we all feel part of the responsibility of the building – setting the foundation of the business.

  46. Deepening my awareness of the fact that connection or not to myself in my every movement affects everything – past, present and future, is changing my life. Never before in this life have I been reminded and confirmed of this truth that brings about real change in the world. Thank you Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine.

  47. I wonder what life would be like if we didn’t have a career hierarchy and instead appreciated that every job had something different to offer and something new for us to learn and we chose our job for this reason, and that we are fundamentally equal long before we choose our career.

  48. ” 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.” This is the case with regard to whatever work we do – and with everyone we meet. Responsibility – one of my keywords for 2018.

  49. It makes me more aware of the equal importance to everything in my life including my home… there is indeed so much to appreciate when I look after, pay attention to what needs to be done next in every room in my house with no perfection setting a solid and steady foundation of love that supports my family and I.

  50. Bringing purpose to all we do is important, ‘ 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.’

  51. We have become very lost in awarding certain status to certain jobs as in this we have made people who push money from one virtual place to another more worthy then those who actually keep the world going. The true importance and worth of a job can only be found in understanding what it does energetically, and when we do we will get a whole new appreciation of jobs such as housekeeping.

  52. Everything is everything and everything matters, so everything that we do should come from a quality that is true as much as possible.

  53. 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?

  54. 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.’

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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…….

  58. 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.

  59. “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.

  60. Respectfully valuing every role within any organisation builds a foundation of equality and collaboration that supports and serves us all…. the first steps to returning to brotherhood.

  61. 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?

  62. 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.

    1. When this level of integrity is offered, everyone benefits in the quality that one lives and so naturally shares with others.

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

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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.

    1. Very true Janet. When everyone plays an equal part in a housekeeping team, or any team for that matter, it is amazing what can be achieved.

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