This article, a three-part series, seeks to establish a common understanding of our work environment, hotels in Ghana.
It assumes that we (readers) participated in the self appraisal and now know where each of us is at (in respect to the assessment we participated in. Reference to ‘Self Appraisal’ Parts 2a and 2b).
Now is the time to pen down the demands made of us, Supervisors, and the unique challenges which seem to legitimize those demands! Hopefully, after this, we will begin to put in the efforts required of us in our respective hotels, since we would have a better understanding of our individual work environment and the work dynamics we operate in.
The hospitality industry generally keeps us, on our toes whether we are serving guests’ food, drink or providing accommodation. As industry professionals, irrespective of position, we were trained (at least in my time), to serve first and foremost, creating a memorable experience for every guest. The above statements alone, betray the industry as a physically and a psychologically demanding workplace, which many of us take for granted (part of our problem).
While workers in general may take pride in their jobs, perhaps because they are ‘dressed up’ to look good and the environment may look glamorous, there are times when the physical demands of the job are greater than their two arms and two legs can bear…and this can be especially true for the aging body (considering all the older women engaged in hotel housekeeping activities), and the pregnant body (the young ladies at the front desk and waitresses standing for long periods of time). I seem to be gender biased, here, but the men also have their challenges too!
We work long/late hours; are expected to be multi-tasked(often unrelated jobs are involved), smile while cleaning up messes created by work colleagues and/or guests and work holidays and weekends. Some of us have developed abnormal sleep schedules and stress related health challenges as a result of experiencing bursts of intense activity followed by long dull drags of boring nothingness.
This is not to suggest that the hotel work environment is void of exciting opportunities.
If you get it right, it can be an exciting and rewarding work environment!
Generally, work settings create physical stress because of noise, lack of privacy, poor lighting, poor ventilation, poor temperature control or inadequate sanitary facilities. At least, except for the back-of –the-house areas (which I cannot vouch for), most hotels in Ghana definitely make efforts to create good first impressions (the design of hotel infrastructure, physical surroundings and interior décor).
For many (guests), a hotel is much more than a place to sleep. It is the gateway to a whole new world of experiences, especially for those located in urban areas. To others, it is a safe haven from the stresses of working away from home. For others still, it is a reliable place for their favorite outings and events. Our guests therefore come with varied expectations. Those expectations, though legitimate, may seem to be ‘way above’ the resources we as Supervisors have at our disposal. We strain to meet the expectations, but oh, how much more is required of us to exceed guests’ expectations!
Is it not true that we feel we have too much responsibility as Supervisors and too little authority…Is it not true that we ‘close our eyes’ to unfair labor practices and ‘cringe’ with inadequate information and resources to try to function effectively? Sometimes we and our bosses cannot even agree on what our job descriptions should be!
Occasionally, traumatic events take place either with co-workers, guests or other staff and we feel helpless or are expected to ‘hush’!
Even though you may be applauding to the above points as samples of the challenges we face, use this opportunity to challenge yourself to take note of other unique characteristics at your workplace. As a Supervisor, a good grasp of these and the dynamics of your work environment can give you a head start!
To be cont.