The work force has drastically morphed in the last year and into 2021. Companies that took a progressive take on how different staffing and operational models paved the way during the pandemic and came out as workforce leaders, shaping the way of the “new normal”. Hotel management during Covid shifted from the previous staff distribution of onsite staff at hotels, and their corporate counterparts gathering daily in offices, with some corporate staff taking regular trips to their different properties. With the whole world taking their work home last year, teams saw the need to continue to keep things running smoothly despite the huge change in routine. For companies running on that typical 9-5, everyone experienced significant changes to their lifestyle.
Everything from communication, collaboration, and management were affected and companies quickly had to adopt new processes and policies to ensure the safety of their teams and clients. This resonated not only for hotel management during covid but every other industry as well. Businesses from manufacturing to facilities management, F&B, hospitality and healthcare had to deal with the realization that the way their current work force is structured will have to change, perhaps, permanently. Organizations needed to face the fact that they needed to become more connected than ever while working apart.
In our new normal, even the biggest of companies are able to operate mostly remotely while mobilizing a widely distributed staff roster. This comes with its many challenges.
Continue reading for our best advice on keeping your distributed staff engaged and aligned for this coming year and beyond.
Tips for connecting staff & hotel management during Covid
1 – Create SOPs and keep them updated
Your organization operates the way it does because of a universal set of standard operating procedures that have been created and adapted since the start of the business. More often than not, SOPs are set once and are regularly practiced, but as we know, many things impact a business and many of these SOPs are never updated to reflect the current landscape.
We’re still in the process of figuring out the evolving state of our business as we progress through this pandemic so there are bound to be things that fall through the cracks. The first place to start is to assess your current SOPs and identify the top priority ones to update first. Research changes in government regulations and ensure you’re following suit. Involve your staff and take input into what’s working and what’s not. Lastly, ensure you’re communicating these changes effectively and following up where necessary to ensure adoption across the organization. This can look like delegating a stakeholder in each department or a task force.
2 – Daily quickstarts
Starting the day off with a quickstart is a great way to ensure focus and priorities are aligned and keep everyone in the loop with what others have going on. How these quickstarts look will vary from industry to department. Corporate teams will probably be kicking off on a Zoom conference call remotely, while on-site hotel staff will be having them socially-distanced in person.
Different teams will have different meeting cadences as well. Small departments may meet daily while larger teams across districts and regions may meet once a week. Whatever way you choose to structure your quickstarts, ensure that you lead by example and practice it consistently, and the expectation is that everyone is to attend on-time and ready to go.
3 – Create an emergency contingency plan
It’s easy to put off thinking about emergency contingency plans until an emergency actually occurs and everyone’s scrambling. The teams at your properties might have learned these emergency plans during the onslaught of their initial training but it’s important to keep these plans updated and practiced as good hotel management during Covid.
Implementing key people and their positions during an emergency, emergency routes at the property, who to report to and delegating areas of responsibility are all important during an emergency. Have these written down and updated in a common place where all staff can easily access so staff will remain on the same page.
4 – Listen to feedback
When creating SOPs or new protocols, it’s important to solicit feedback from your teams who work day-in and day-out on the front lines. Getting feedback on what’s actually working versus what’s not will bridge the gap between an SOP that is adopted and practiced versus an SOP that is just forgotten and never looked at again. Remember: give credit where credit is due and shout out your team members who helped make that change.
5 – The cloud is your friend
Remember back in the day when you had a technical emergency and would have to call an IT person (or team) on site to recover your valuable technical assets? The tension would be high. Organizations have widely adopted cloud-based systems and servers to accommodate their communication in a central location that any team member can access, no matter how remote they are. If you haven’t adopted the cloud yet, we highly recommend you look into it.
6 – Be flexible
Becoming flexible in this business landscape has become a well-practiced skill in hotel management during covid. One thing is for sure: nothing is for sure! Things are rapidly changing which calls on the need for a much less-rigid work environment. With a widely spread staff and mobile remote staff, being flexible means allowing your team to get creative with their time and responsibilities to breed results and productivity. Everyone has been impacted and everyone is learning so don’t be afraid to let your brand and business evolve.