The job of a Housekeeper involves performing basic upkeep to a house or office, such as cleaning, cooking, laundry and keeping the surroundings organized and sanitary. He/she also maintains cleaning equipments and supplies, iron clothes, cleans windows and performs other tasks in compliance with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration regulations. The housekeeper may also grocery shop or serve as the family’s nanny.
A housekeeping staff provides cleaning duties to private households or commercial establishments like restaurants, hotels and hospitals. Also called maids, these housekeeping personnel may be assigned to specific areas of an establishment doing duties such as: drying, washing, cooking or cleaning. Executive housekeepers supervise the entire housekeeping department by managing the supplies of an establishment, monitoring daily work tasks of housekeeping personnel; preparing household budgets; selecting staff; and controlling inventories.
Duties of the housekeeping personnel include: making beds; cleaning rooms; replenishing linens; vacuuming carpets; sweeping, scrubbing, waxing and mopping floors; emptying wastebaskets; emptying and cleaning ashtrays; bringing waste to disposal areas, purchasing and ordering household supplies; taking care of laundry; purchasing groceries; dusting and polishing equipment and furniture; removing debris in swimming pool areas, garages and driveways; replacing light bulbs, cleaning closets; washing ceilings, windows, woodwork and walls; requesting for repair services; disinfecting equipment and rooms; moving and arranging furniture; reporting damage or theft; turning mattresses; planning menus; cooking and serving meals; arranging decorations; caring for pets; washing and cleaning dishes; and answering phones and doorbells.
Education and Training Requirements
No formal education is required to become a member of a housekeeping team, but employers prefer housekeepers to have at least a high school diploma. On-job-training is always an advantage as the experience will let your employers know that you are familiar with your job duties. A successful candidate must possess a high school diploma or a vocational course in any field. No formal education is usually required in this field, but housekeepers must have knowledge of sanitation products and use of cleaning equipments.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements
A housekeeper can provide quality customer and personal services if he or she is familiar with the principles and processes to serve such clients. Cleanliness is the most important feature of a house, establishment or any other venue, which means that the ultimate goal of a housekeeper is to keep his/her area as clean as possible.
Cleaning and organizing skills, leadership and supervisory skills, sound judgment skills, as well as child care skills. He/she must also be detail-oriented, self-motivated and must be able to lift and move heavy items; kneel, crawl, crouch to clean under furniture; and knowledge of sanitation products.
Housekeepers should maintain a neat and clean appearance at all times. They are expected to wear a uniform provided by their employer and must be able to work cleanly and efficiently without invading their guests’ privacy. They usually work in hotels, motels, nursing homes, and even private residences. The workload is demanding; and since housekeeping personnel perform various physically challenging tasks, such as lifting of heavy furniture and mattresses, reaching high ceiling and walls, and cleaning filthy toilets, they must possess strength and good stamina. Housekeeping staff usually work 40-48 hours a week, but executive housekeepers may work longer hours.
The annual average salary of a housekeeper is $16,900, but those with more experience tend to earn bigger salaries and receive more benefits. Regardless of experience, housekeeping personnel may be given tips from employers, clients, and guests. Hotels may offer full-time housekeepers free meals during work hours, paid vacations, paid holidays, health insurance, retirement benefits. Executive housekeepers earn a median salary of $30,000 with some going up to $40,000 a year.
Specific work elements
Examining rooms to check for possible repairs or replacement of equipments and furniture; keeping hotel rooms, hospital rooms and other rooms in various similar establishments attractive and clean; training personnel on equipment maintenance, housekeeping techniques and other skills needed to complete the job; and making recommendations on customer service or housekeeping improvements. Some housekeepers may also supervise and train other personnel, prepare reports and records data, such as room occupancy and department expenses.