Creating a Better Work Environment for Hospitality Staff

Sweeply is not only trying to improve efficiency and productivity but also ensuring that this improvement finds its way back to service excellence.

Sweeply is all about creating a better work environment for hospitality staff, something in these challenging times we can all agree is essential. Attracting, retaining and growing talent is key, whilst helping staff in their day-to-day to perform better through technology is an opportunity we cannot afford to ignore.

Sweeply is all about creating a better work environment for hospitality staff, something in these challenging times we can all agree is essential. Attracting, retaining and growing talent is key, whilst helping staff in their day-to-day to perform better through technology is an opportunity we cannot afford to ignore.


Deskless Staff


Sweeply is all about so called 'deskless staff'. As we've come to learn, the welcome we offer in our industry is the first impression and tolerance of poor experiences is very low - with review sites just a click away from sharing a bad experience.


Cleanliness & Maintenance


From the front door to the lobby, lifts, hallways rooms and bathrooms, cleanliness is something which is noticed everywhere by visitors and can really change the impression of an experience.


Likewise, maintenance is also something that, whilst small and irritating sometimes, can really impact those crucial first impressions.


So what are some of the challenges we face in hospitality today?


Staff shortages are starting to bite with 45% of hospitality operators in the UK having been forced to cut capacity. Whilst the huge increases in operating costs are adding pressure on those who remain, energy prices are a clear example of the challenge that rising cost causes. Yet at the same time, there is a clear increase in hospitality tech, however, the many systems in place simply don't connect with each other, sometimes creating further challenges.


The Problem


A surprising figure, one you might not find that easily without industry know-how, is that 15% of housekeepers' time is spent finding the next room to clean. This doesn't mean that time is idle, it points to a loss of effective use of time owing to poor operational structures where gaps exist, ultimately harming efficiency.


A work environment should be easily understood by those working in that environment. The key to getting it right is lower levels of stress, higher retention and better employee happiness - and guess what? Getting this part right ultimately reaches the guest themselves who has a better overall experience from fewer issues emerging to a better welcome from staff who aren't struggling in their day-to-day function.


Automating Workflow


Today, property management systems (PMS) are widely used by businesses to manage the availability of rooms and the day-to-day capacity requirements. Sweeply's approach seeks to integrate and automate certain routine functions within hospitality businesses, where daily functions such as room cleaning and changes can be managed and scheduled according to priority and availability, where by integrating with PMS's it can create a plan, assign staff, manage workloads and give a complete overview of the bigger operational picture.


The integrated AI functionality uses real-time data to provide status, not only for internal use but also to notify guests if and when a room is available. This is a real asset both in terms of the overall experience and in alleviating pressure from staff and facilitating smoother management of teams.


The 'Sweeply Engine' is the machine behind the interface. This can allow variables to be programmed into the overall guest experience as well as the hotel's operational workflow, such as choosing the frequency of cleaning for different types of guests, changing batteries on TV remotes periodically and even the simplest of tasks such as putting up the Christmas tree at a set time each year.


This precise planning takes the guesswork out of the operational backbone and that exact understanding of what needs to be done, within a highly complex business, can lead to real results on bottom-line efficiency.


Striving for Excellence


Inga explains that Sweeply is not only trying to improve efficiency and productivity but also ensuring that this improvement finds its way back to service excellence.


To give an example of that, the app allows staff to take a picture of an issue, tag or categorise it, such as #electrician and ensure that the relevant people following that tag are notified instantly. This means that everyone can play a role in logging issues, not only for rapid turnaround in resolving issues but also massively minimising time lost in reporting and chasing issues up.


This is, if you like, an issue log for rooms.


Inga gives examples of hashtags which are commonly used by their users such as #maintenance #minibar #housekeeping #lost&found and #improvement. Without a technology component, some of these issues will simply be overlooked, never reported or never followed up.


The approach is all about total transparency in the workplace with minimal supervision as it ultimately becomes a process that can resolve itself. The sense of ownership creates empowerment and a more positive work experience for everyone in the business.


Measurement & Optimisation


As in any industry, getting a good view of data is key to improvement and creating a smarter environment.


Sweeply's model is based on creating data touchpoints throughout the operational experience, creating the ability to measure staff productivity, understand how quickly issues are resolved and identify common pinpoints in the overall operation and how these can be addressed.


Concluding Thoughts


Sweeply today works with more than 100 high-productivity hospitality businesses. As a young start-up based in Iceland, they're also in an active optimisation process, learning about the needs of their customers and working to incorporate this into the product pipeline.


They've noted many differences between different types of hospitality businesses, yet there are also clear commonalities when it comes to the challenges of day-to-day management. These are seen across every category from high-end luxury hotels, to sustainability-focused brands right down to private lodging.


The entire sector can benefit from strengthening, digitalising and optimising operations with a more technology-enabled workplace environment. The clearest testament of this ultimately comes down to satisfaction, that of employees who want to go intuitively into a well-designed user-interface and not have to think about the challenges in using it, or require intensive training just to do their job.


It's all about creating a happy work environment which is a joy to use.

Key Takeaways

  • Hospitality faces a staff shortage challenge today - energy prices are also rising operational costs.

  • There is a clear increase in hospitality tech, however, the many systems in place simply don't connect with each other, sometimes creating further challenges.

  • Sweeply technology is a real asset both in terms of the overall experience and in alleviating pressure from staff and facilitating smoother management of teams.

  • The sense of ownership creates empowerment and a more positive work experience for everyone in the business.
Published on:
December 2022
About the contributor

Inga Rós

Sweeply