Hotel Staff ; Staff Scheduling Software: Visual Rota
Hotel Staff and Staffing A Hotel
Housekeeping, reception, porters, cleaning, room service, restaurant, bar, the list of departments is long enough, but each department has several grades of staff.
Visual Rota is a computer program design for staff scheduling. Other pages on this site cover all the aspects of the program. The program will make your job easier and much quicker.
The Housekeeping department must be the most important. It has the greatest proportion of staffing hours to cover, the most staff, the most hours to cover and it is a cost center. Unlike the restaurant and bar, which are revenue centers, and as long as they are not overstaffed, the more staff you have the more revenue is generated. The housekeeping department is also the one the customers notice most if anything is wrong. You have to have the right number of staff on duty, or it shows.
The housekeeping department can have the following staff depending on the size of hotel. Housekeeper and assistant housekeepers, room maids, cleaners, staffmaids, cloakroom attendants, houseporters, valets, laundry and linen keeper. The staff hours of cover depend on the hotel and type of customer, business people require different time schedules to people on holiday with children. The staff need to be scheduled accordingly and in a ratio to the number of guests staying in the hotel. Fortunately, most people book ahead and the workload is known well in advance, especially during peak periods.
Your staffing requirement will depend on the occupancy of your hotel. It is possible to get quite good estimates of staff numbers based on average times to do tasks, such as cleaning a room. Then you can allocate 10, or 15, or even 20 rooms to each room maid. It is also quite easy to estimate the total number of staff needed in a year for a task. We have a page about annual hours(see below).
For example, cleaning an occupied room takes 30mins/day, en-suite bathroom 6mins/day, therefore a maid for every 13 occupied rooms. A hotel with 100 rooms(all occupied) needs 8 maids. Then we can sum this up for a year of 365 days, which comes to 2900 maid days per year. We can then divide this by the number of days a maid works per year, say 240, and arrive at a figure of 12 full time maids. Hence we can recruit the 12 maids and start using them on the rooms. I haven't allowed for average occupancy, sickness rates, and a lot of other things which readily come to mind, because at this point, the difficult thing is to find a way of sharing the yearly workload on a day by day basis. This is the difficult part, just how do you allocate the maids so that you have just the right number on every day.
Well, the answer depends on where you are at the moment. An existing hotel staffed, is different to a new hotel unstaffed.
If I first deal with a new hotel, then the resultant method is easier. First, don't start from the above yearly totals, use the daily hour totals to tell you how many staff are needed each day. Start Visual Rota, set it up for, say 13 4week periods and name the staff, as RM1, RM2, etc. Then start to allocate shifts according to your occupancy rates(anticipated). At this stage you can use full time or part time staff, working full shifts, half shifts and split shifts. Give the staff days off, usually in the ratio of for every 5 days they work, they have 2 off. Try to use full time staff as much as possible if they are cheaper, and fill in the blanks with part time staff. Then you can recruit the staff in accordance with your requirements and allocate shifts to the staff weeks in advance, possibly months.
At some stage you need to deal with holidays and staff turnover. All staff take holidays but it is difficult to know in advance when this is going to be. That's why we invented dice. If you look back at your records(difficult if you are a new hotel, I know, then you have to guess) you will see the pattern of absenteeism, sickness and holidays, and even staff turnover. This pattern can be replicated by throwing dice. For instance, if you employ 12 maids and your staff turnover is 50%, then six of your maids leave every year, or one every 2 months. You won't know when exactly and it is difficult for us to be random in our decisions, so throw a dice for each month. If the number is even, a 2, 4,or 6, then a maid leaves that month, if the number is odd, no one leaves that month. Then you can arrange for a new maid to be recruited in line with the throw of the dice. Perhaps not, perhaps what you will do is to include into your budgets the cost of hiring a new recruit and the cost of using an employment agency.
You can use Visual Rota to allocate training days for new staff and existing, or keep records of sickness, absenteeism, lateness, frequency of requests and holidays.
An existing hotel will be using their established working practice for staffing. Visual Rota enables you to analyse this and see if improvements can be made and how much you can save by changing your working practice. Staff need an incentive to change and if you offer part of your savings as a pay increase, that goes a long way to getting the changes accepted. We have regularly improved the way we work by incorporating new pay deals for existing staff and hiring new staff as and when we replaced the staff due to natural wastage on our new terms.
Visual Rota enables you to move your staff around to minimise the effects of peaks and troughs in occupancy levels. You can bring in more staff when needed and give them days off during slack periods. The program keeps track of their hours and shifts, so everyone gets exactly the right number of hours of work, but your costs are minimised.
Other departments are equally capable of being analysed and scheduled by Visual Rota. It is possible to have one file for the entire hotel, or several files to cover each area, floor or department. Whichever method you use at the moment, you can do the same on the computer, but faster.
There is always a compromise between the number of staff doing a particular job and the cover they provide. If there is only one housekeeper, then the maximum cover would be 40 hours/week, whilst the staff rota would be providing up to 168 hours of cover a week, hence one of the main management functions is to determine how much staffing is provided and at what grade of staff. Fortunately, hoteliers are not subject to staffing levels determined by legislation, and can decide for themselves.
The rest of this website contains information about managing staff, Visual Rota, and ordering.
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