Calculating staff strengths & Planning duty rosters, team work and leadership in House Keeping

Calculating staff strength: 

Compared to other hotel departments, the housekeeping department employs the largest workforce in most hotels. Manpower thus becomes a major operating expense. Good management of the housekeeping department depends on achieving a balance between the workload and the staff strength. When calculating staff strength, it must be remembered that each property will have its individual requirements.

The factors to be considered here are:

  •  The type of hotel it is
  • The location of the hotel
  • Traditions and customs of the locality
  •   The size of the hotel (in terms of number of rooms)
  •   The occupancy rate of the hotel
  •   Management needs
  •   Company policies
  •   The quantity of work to be done
  •   The quality of work expected, that is, the standards to be met
  •  The time needed to do the work
  •  The frequency with which the work needs to be done
  •   The time when the work area is available
  •   The amount of traffic in the area

The staff strength of the housekeeping department mainly depends on the size and structure of the hotel, that is, whether it has a compact structure with clusters of rooms, the number of rooms per cluster or floor, the expanse of the public areas and landscaped areas, and so on. The general rule of thumb that aid in determining staff strength in the housekeeping department is given below.

Thumb rules for determining staff strength

Executive housekeeper: 1 for a 300 room property

Assistant housekeepers: 2 (1 per morning and evening shift)

Floor supervisors: 1 per 60 rooms for the morning shift; 1 for the evening shift; 1 for the night shift.

Public area supervisors: 1 for each shift

Linen/uniform room supervisors: 1

Room attendants: 1 per 16 rooms for the morning shift; 1 per 30 rooms for the evening shift (if turn down service is provided)

Linen and uniform room attendants: 2

Housemen: depends on the size of public areas and functions expected, but on average, 1 per 60 rooms

Desk attendants: 1 per shift

Tailors/upholsterers: 2 (may differ depending on the size of the hotel)

Horticulturist: 1

Head gardeners: 1 per 20 horticulturists

Gardeners: 1 per 4500 sq. ft of landscaped area

Planning duty roasters:

Duty roasters specify the allotment of jobs, hours of duty, and days off for each member of the staff. To make for an even share of duties, the roaster should be rotated every five weeks. Duty roasters must be simple in format, easy to interpret, clearly written, and displayed on the staff notice board at least a week in advance.

Advantages for a duty roaster: 

Planning a duty roaster in advance helps to ensure:

  •   The exact number of staff required to be on duty at any given occupancy.
  •   That staff working hours are as per their employment contract.
  •   That regular off-days are availed for enhancing productivity.
  •   Knowledge of which employees are present on the premises in instances of emergencies.
  •   Accuracy in attendance and payroll reports.

 Steps in making a roaster:

the steps in making a duty roaster are as follows:

Step 1: Ascertain occupancy levels and events expected in the hotel. This information is provided by the sales and marketing department at the beginning of the financial year. On a daily and a weekly basis, more specific reports of occupancy are available through coordination with the front office department. The overall forecasts of occupancy must be considered before scheduling the employees’ annual leave. These forecasts also help the executive housekeeper to follow the staffing to ensure sufficient staff at peak periods and avoid excess labour during slack periods.

Step 2: Ascertain the spread of duty hours to be scheduled in the duty roaster, whether 12 hours, 16 hours, or 24 hours. Decide whether the positions will work for 5 or 7 days per week.

Step 3: Ascertain the type of shift-straight shift, break shift, rotating shift, or any other alternative scheduling-to be used.

Step 4: Ascertain the number of full time and part time staff on the payroll.

Step 5: Ascertain the number of labour hours per day and per week required for various positions.

Step 6: Incorporate coffee breaks and mealtime allowances in the roaster.

Step 7: Ascertain that each employee gets a weekly off day after 6 working days. Provide for compensatory offs. Schedule one reliever per 6 employees.

Step 8: Ascertain closed days and restricted holidays, and any contingency planning that may be needed.


The current trend in housekeeping operations is to form teams to accomplish tasks rather than scheduling employees on an individual basis. The three important determinants of teamwork are leadership, the building of the right kind of groups or teams for better productivity, and membership (which reflects the individual contributions people will make towards team goals). A housekeeping team may consist of one supervisor, several (2-5) GRAs and one houseman. This team under the supervisor becomes totally responsible for a particular section of guestrooms in the hotel. Cleaning performance, say, is then measured on a team basis rather than on individual basis.

Team cleaning-an example of teamwork: In team cleaning, two or more GRAs together clean one guestroom at a time. Usually teams of two GRAs each are assigned to 30-35 rooms. Team members rotate duties of bedroom and bathroom cleaning. Team cleaning is successful when ideas come from the employees themselves and they are given a free hand in their implementation. Team cleaning works in hotels that are willing to make a change to meet new challenges. Promoting teamwork within each team requires special effort. A teamwork checklist should be followed by the executive housekeeper to make it a success.

  •   Reward teamwork by praising the team and giving them choice assignments, raises, and promotions.
  •   Include teamwork as a criterion during the employee’s performance appraisals.
  •   Rotate special assignments, allowing everyone an opportunity to shine as an individual occasionally.
  •   Consider ideas generated jointly by the team as well as individual ideas.
  •  Share information and give the team a say in decision-making.
  • Give credit to the team for jobs well done.
  •   Set an example of cooperation with others and yourself.

Advantages of teamwork:

There are many advantages of teamwork. Some of these are as follows:

  •   A principal advantage to the manager is in being able to schedule a group of people as though they were one entity.
  •   Co-operation and workers morale will be higher when they are part of a small unit rather than solitary individuals in a large group of people.
  •  Team spirit will cause the entire group to excel in operations. GRAs who excel in room cleaning help the poorer performers on the team to improve.
  •  Absenteeism and tardiness get better resolved at the team level because one member being absent or late could have a negative effect on the entire team’s reputation.
  •   With increasing concern for safety and security, assigning two or more GRA’s to clean a room could save expenses on liabilities and lawsuits.
  •   Mundane cleaning tasks may become fun when performed as a team.
  •   Fewer tools are needed-for example, one room attendant’s cart, one vacuum cleaner, and one hand caddy can equip a team of two.
  • Some heavier cleaning tasks are accomplished more easily and faster with two people-for example, moving beds, turning over heavy mattresses, making up a double bed, and so on.
  •   Bringing new employees up to the required standards becomes easier since they have buddies to coach them along the way.
  •  There is saving on labour costs since team workers complete work faster, have better attendance, meet with fewer accidents, and develop greater interest in improving the processes.

When planning for team cleaning, the executive housekeeper must address the following considerations:

  •   Have linen and cleaning inventories equally distributed so that teams do not fight over supplies.
  • If a team must stop because it is faced with some hurdle, the work output of 2-3 people is stopped, as opposed to only one in the traditional method of guestroom cleaning. Hence the executive housekeeper should make sure that adequate supplies are available and teams are given an accurate list of room assignments.
  •  Scheduling may require special effort to accommodate team members getting the same days off.


For teamwork in housekeeping to be successful, the department leader, that is, the executive housekeeper needs to be an inspiring role model as a team player as well as an effective leader. The leader of any group can help to build its members into a well-knit team by sharing vision, goals, and strategies with them. Leadership is the capacity to frame plans that will succeed and the faculty to persuade others to carry them out in the face of difficulties. Leadership quality in a manager makes people look up to him/her for advice, feel motivated to work for and respect the manager, and be loyal to the manager. An executive housekeeper who can mobilize the trust and support of the staff achieves great heights. Some executive housekeepers who are good planners and organizers fail to achieve results because they are not effective as leaders. An executive housekeeper who is a good leader will ensure the following activities:

  •   Draft a compelling vision
  •   Communicate passionately
  •   Get cooperation from others
  •  Inspire and pull employees towards goals
  •   Provide direction and momentum
  •   Be assertive if necessary
  •   Learn from other leaders
  •  Make decisions in line with the vision
  •   Get feedback
  •  Command and not demand respect and loyalty
  •  Do some self evaluation as well

Different leadership styles may be used by the executive housekeepers. Some distinctly make people work by force or order; others join the group and initiate activity; still others use persuasion; while some, by their pleasant and endearing manner, generate the enthusiasm for work and achieve goals in the best possible manner. An executive housekeeper who is an effective leader uses all these styles to different extents, according to the nature of the decisions to be made and as the situations demands.

Styles of leadership:

  •  Autocratic: imposes own decision with/without explanation to subordinates
  •  Participative: decision made after prior consultation with subordinates
  •   Democratic: joint decision arrived at
  •   Laissez faire: decisions taken by delegation

Most often, executive housekeepers tend to use the participative style and depend more on communication, adopting a supportive attitude and sharing needs, values, goals, and expectations with their staff. When employees, regardless of their level of education, are involved in decision making, they become highly contributive to successful decisions of major consequence. They are then not only committed to the outcome of these decisions, they are involved in the success or failures of such decisions are thereby motivated to continue their participation and personal growth. A self assessment needs to be carried out by executive housekeepers to find out which style of leadership they adopt as their principal one in actuality.

Amit Kumar
Amit Kumar
Hii! Welcome to My digital home, I am Amit – an almost no-code generalist, helping businesses with their online presence using WordPress and other tools and simplifying some of their operations with ideas and automation. A psychology and philosophy geek by interest and a graduate in Hospitality Management. I founded hmhelp during college, which got me into WordPress. I am a highly motivated and results-oriented professional with a proven track record of success in the hospitality industry. I’m also a Digital Marketing Enthusiast with significant academic and practical experience managing digital content across multiple platforms. Skilled at SEO optimization, developing digital content for social media platforms, I offer extensive knowledge of multiple software programs, strong attention to detail, and extraordinary communication skills. If you are interested in talking about any of the topics I have mentioned on my website, you are in the right place. You can contact me or learn more about what I do. You can also connect with me on social networks.

Latest Articles


Energy conservation measures for Hotel Industry DO’S AND DONT’S FOOD &...

Organization of Banquet Department

Banquet organization structure             ...

Types of Meringues

There are three types of meringue; their differences lie...

Additives and preservatives used in Ice-cream manufacture

 As ice creams move down the scale from premium,...

Ice Sculptures

Ice Sculptures The Ice sculpture is the highlight of any...

Function of menu

Menu is a very important tool for the operation...

Related Articles


Energy conservation measures for Hotel Industry DO’S AND DONT’S FOOD & BEVERAGE DEPARTMENT This department consumes approximately 25% of the total energy cost so the opportunities to...

Organization of Banquet Department

Banquet organization structure             ...

Types of Meringues

There are three types of meringue; their differences lie in when and how the sugar is added: French Meringue This uncooked meringue is the one most...