More rooms cleaned, with time to spare

Madam Woon Yoke Chan now cleans about 16 rooms a day, after a major refurbishment at Festive Hotel.
Madam Woon Yoke Chan now cleans about 16 rooms a day, after a major refurbishment at Festive Hotel.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

When cleaning rooms at the Festive Hotel in Sentosa, senior housekeeping attendant Woon Yoke Chan used to complete 14 rooms on average every day.

After a major hotel refurbishment in February, she now can cover two more rooms a day, and at a more relaxed pace.

"We can clean more rooms and also take it a bit easier because each room can be completed faster," said the 59-year-old in Mandarin.

As part of efforts to improve productivity at the hotel, several changes were made to the 447 rooms:

• Carpets were replaced with vinyl floors which can be mopped instead of vacuumed;

• Bulky furniture, which was usually moved around by guests and had to be rearranged by staff, was minimised with more built-in furniture; and

• Wardrobes were made open so there is less area to clean and more space for guests' clothes.

Mr Chow Keng Hai, vice-president for rooms at Resorts World Sentosa, said the changes were based on feedback from staff about what was most difficult for them. "In designing hotel rooms, we focus on maintenance, which affects productivity as well as guest experience," he said.

Hoteliers, unions and the Government hope a better work environment and skills upgrading can help to retain staff like Madam Woon, who has spent 18 years in the hotel industry, the last five of which were at Festive Hotel. After two years of good work, she was asked to become a trainer for new hires at the hotel.

"I am very happy because I can pass on my experience," she said.

Joanna Seow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2015, with the headline 'More rooms cleaned, with time to spare'. Print Edition | Subscribe