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Is your team burned out?


Tatjana Ahmed, Director of Housekeeping at Grand Hyatt Dubai and Chairperson of the UAE Housekeepers association answers a very important concern in the world of housekeeping.


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October 3, 2022
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Is your team burned out?

The housekeeping team is arguably one of the most hard-working departments in the hotel. Though their work is often taken for granted and unseen, housekeeping plays an absolutely important role in one of the most crucial aspects of any hotel, it’s cleanliness. Today, their work is more important than ever. 

And their work is physically demanding. While working 8 to 10-hour shifts, they are constantly on their feet; pulling beds and carts, bending and stretching at all times. On top of the physical demand, housekeeping staff has to adhere strict protocol when it comes to cleaning itself; smallest details need to be taken into consideration as to maintain guest rooms to the highest standards of cleanliness; disinfecting all surfaces at regular intervals and provide a deeper and more frequent cleaning to all common areas and high-touch surfaces.  And this puts tremendous pressure on the room attendants and team leaders. Chances are, that housekeeping carries out all these duties with a much leaner team as COVID-19 has deeply affected the hospitality industry. 

The result: burn out! It is inevitable in most cases and a big problem. As per the WHO which said that employee burnout consists of three things:

  1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.
  2. Growing mental distance from the job, or negative or cynical feelings towards the job.
  3. Reduced professional efficiency or productivity.

You might think employee burnout only happens in rare and particular bad workplaces, but that’s wrong. Most likely you’ve seen the issues listed on the WHO list at work in your current employees to some degree. That should concern you. But just in case you think it’s only an overwhelming workload that causes employee burnout, think again.

It’s not just the amount of work, but the experience and emotions surrounding that work. Emotional and mental exhaustion are a crucial part of employee burnout, and they can be activated by more than just a measurable workload.

How do you help employees who are burnt out?

Teach your employees how to be mentally healthy. Teach your employees how to deal with personal and work issues, how to cope with stress and other mental health topics. Bring in mental health professionals to teach your team these things, and offer confidential consultations with them.

Learn to spot mental health issues. While you can’t be expected to read minds or act as a mental health professional, you can learn to spot some issues. Managers should be trained on what to look for in employees who might need some help or encouragement.

Offer Rewards That Work Against Burnout

Whether it’s a gift card, extra break time, some bonus paid vacation hours, you picking up their work at the end of a shift so they can leave early, or amazing snacks in the break room, letting a person know they have value whether or not they created monetary value for you goes a seriously long way.

This is a world that makes your employees question their worth. They have to be up and earning and climbing the latter or they don’t matter. It’s like a mouse on the wheel. Use genuine and heartfelt rewards to let them learn a different existence.

Make Goals Available for All You can create goals for your employees, which may include some of the following:

Monetary Goals: Everyone can use extra money. So, at the very least, make employee raises regular and realistic. At least it provides a chance for a wage increase.

Experiential Training Goals: Make conferences or valuable experiential training opportunities available as a long-term goal. This isn’t just bringing in HR over the lunch hour with worksheets, but sending an employee to a conference elsewhere to be energized and get excited about work again.

Keep Tabs on Workplace Culture

Some of the emotional and mental health issues that are involved in employee burnout have to do with a poor workplace culture fit.

  • Reduce the time pressure and pace wherever possible. That reduces stress. Shift emphasis from output towards human factor.
  • Make sure management is on top in communicating with employees.
  • Check the workload expected of each employee. Maybe you need to hire more staff instead of bragging about the long hours your employees put in.
  • Have buffer zones from customers. Customer care specialists should be in place to protect your employees from unreasonable and aggressive customers. A weary employee doesn’t need to be berated by a customer. Nothing is solved or made better in that situation.

Remember, employee burnout comes from more than just too much work. It happens when employees are worried, stressed, depressed, upset or fearful.

In other words, employee burnout must be addressed differently for every employee. But fix if you want to reduce employee turnover, absenteeism, or poor customer experience.