COVID-19: Adapting to the NEW NORMAL
Date: 24-05-2020

Tatjana Ahmed, Housekeeping Manager and Regional Rooms Specialist, Grand Hyatt Dubai.

The changes we are experiencing at the moment have never been on such a scale and speed and are bringing along a major impact on how we interact with our guests, colleagues, friends and family members.

The hospitality industry has changed and adapted to new circumstances in the past and it seems that there is a lot more to come on a scale we have never dared to imagine. While the recovery from COVID-19 is slow, we in the hospitality industry and especially in housekeeping need to think fast. There are many assumptions about what needs to be done and many hotel companies develop their own response and strategy to create resilience, reset to new values and positivity. Another concern are the changes in social behavior and with it comes changes on how key workers are being perceived. There must be a rethinking of value to those who only earn basic pay, but whose work is absolutely necessary and essential for the overriding concern of our customers on wellbeing, health and safety in our industry.

So, what will be the changes we have to make to set the ‘new normal’ in order to instill confidence and trust into our customers?

1. Training: Read and educate yourself so you can filter down your knowledge to your teams. Prepare your teams for the changes which lay ahead of them.

2. Empowerment: Your staff needs to manage and instill customer confidence in your product.

3. Cleanliness scores: Consumer ranking of our hotels has a major impact on how we are perceived by our customers. The higher the cleanliness score, the higher the demand by customers for this property.

4. Cleaning practices: What, how, where and when? The way we clean surfaces and guarantee proper disinfection will be key to have a cleaner environment.

5. Employee safety: Daily health checks on our employees are a must. How do we ensure that when our employees come back to work from their homes they do not carry any germs?

As mentioned earlier, many hotel companies filter down how they would like to pursue their post COVID-19 strategies.

One thing is for sure; you must be fully committed to rolling out these strategies and assist your team in doing the following:

  • Adhere to the guidelines for cleaning and disinfection provided by your chemical supplier.
  • Ensure to revise and adapt your brand standards.
  • Implement recommendations on occupational health to guarantee safety.
  • Revise your SOP’S adapting to new procedures and training needs/materials.
  • Follow recommendations from Dubai Health Authorities.

Last but not the least, you can help prevent yourself from getting and spreading the coronavirus–and other respiratory illnesses–by following these steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. Use 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not your hands.
  • Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

About the Author:

Tatjana Ahmed is the Chairwoman of the UAE Professional Housekeepers’ Group. She is also the Housekeeping Manager, Grand Hyatt Dubai and a Functional Specialist with the group.