This week the industry has been celebrating International Housekeeping Week. We have many members working in this sector and we were glad to catch up with KK Prabakaran MIH, Executive Head Housekeeper at Dukes London to get his thoughts on working in housekeeping and the changes seen due to the pandemic.
Tell us more about your current role and workplace.
I currently manage a handpicked team of 30 team members in Housekeeping and the private members Health club at DUKES London.
Dukes London is a 5AA red star boutique hotel (member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World) in a hidden away cul-de-sac in the midst of busy Mayfair.
Why did you choose to go into housekeeping?
I had a fantastic opportunity to be part of the magnificent team at Oberoi Udaivilas in India. I was just lucky to be in the right place at the right time. Little did I know that it would become my passion for life! I never looked back since and chose to be in Housekeeping because of its diversity.
What do you love most about working in this sector?
The possibility of transferable skills and in my opinion, it’s a novel profession.
Do you think the role of the housekeeper has become more recognised since COVID-19?
Definitely, it has been a revelation for everyone in the industry. Housekeeping & Housekeepers have always been prominent but never came out from behind the scenes. COVID-19 has put this sector in the limelight and brought more awareness about this wonderful profession.
Tell us about some of the COVID measures you’ve introduced as executive head housekeeper.
One thing I have always emphasised to my team is not to try to re-invent the wheel. These three simple steps are all that is required to keep a workplace clean and safe.
Clean – Sanitise – Disinfect
- Increased general cleaning frequency of all areas within the hotel
- Sanitise all high touch points in the public areas using Stabilised Aqueous Ozone (SAO)- a chemical free process that I had introduced over two years ago.
- Disinfect all public areas including high touch points with a disinfectant using an Electrostatic sprayer, which not only increases the productivity, but also eliminates the need of any physical contact on the surfaces.
- Upon every departure, the bedrooms are taken out of inventory for a minimum of 24 hours in order to carry out the following tasks
- Tumble dry pillows and duvet
- Wash pillow protectors and mattress protectors
- We use an Ozone machine as part of our enhanced COVID measure to sanitise the bedrooms after general cleaning
- As soon as the Ozone cycle is completed, we then disinfect the bedroom with cleaner disinfectant using the same Electrostatic sprayer.
How have things been at Dukes since reopening?
Challenging! However, we are all in this together. We have seen a steady pick-up since we re-opened our doors and started welcoming back our guests on 4 September; it is very promising to see this steady growth.
This week is International Housekeeping Week, how important are events like this for your sector of hospitality?
Such events certainly boost the morale and help promote this sector of hospitality even more. Thanks to various social media platforms, International Housekeeping week is getting more competitive every year and the participation from fellow housekeepers around the globe are impressive.
What has been the most memorable day in your career?
“You are only as good as your team.” When Grozdenka Popova, my Assistant Manager got shortlisted as one of the finalists for Institute of Hospitality’s Aspiring Managers Awards 2019, I felt a sense of accomplishment and it has been the most memorable day in my career.
Tell us three personality traits that you think someone needs to work in housekeeping.
True Passion, Perseverance & Willingness to embrace change.
You are a member of the Institute of Hospitality, why did you decide to join?
Personal development was the main reason why I joined IOH.
Which aspects of membership have you found most beneficial?
Mentoring, Knowledge library, Webinars and social gatherings are some of the key benefits that I enjoy as a member.
What would you say to other housekeepers who are considering joining?
Embark on a journey where no one day will be the same. Keep pushing your own boundaries and always broaden your horizons.