In a busy luxury household there are a million-and-one things to do every day...and more if you are actually counting! The principal home owners do not have time to communicate all that has to be done in a day to the staff, and barely have time to communicate all the things that might be out of the ordinary that need to be accomplished as they run out of the door! So when staff try to go above and beyond and finish all they have to do in a day and then the "extras" it can become challenging if these preferences are not consistent. Let me explain:
We are all familiar with the hotel policy about towels in a hotel bathroom...mosts hotels from budget motels to luxury properties have the same policy for towels that is usually indicated on a card in the bathroom: if you want them changed, leave them on the floor...if you plan on using the same towel again hang it on a hook. This way the housekeepers have an indication as to refresh your towels or not. This saves water and time on behalf of the housekeeping staff, as well as sets a clear standard as to when towels need to be refreshed or not!
Now, translate that same principle into a professionally managed home setting. A "policy" has been created, and a "procedure" can be followed by both the principal and the staff...it is a mutually agreed up on ritual for handling a small task, and it is paramount for creating what we like to call "silent seamless service" in a well-managed luxury setting. No longer to the principals have to waste their precious energy and time by instructing staff on what needs to be done in a day...because 90% of the policy and procedures have been well outlined in a household manual...they can then focus on the "extras" that may be out of the ordinary. Can you imagine if you needed to somehow call down to the housekeeping department everyday when staying in a hotel to alert them whether or not to refresh your towels?! How annoying! The more policies and procedures that are systematic in a fine household the better "silent seamless service" the staff can provide. "Silent," because the principals and staff automatically know what a specific action communicates and "Seamless" because almost like magic, the action occurs without the homeowner's having to direct the action. This creates a harmonious happy work environment for everyone and elevates the level of luxury for the homeowners.
I had an interesting example of how vital this "policy and procedure" concept is at one residence I was consulting with: the female principal was fond of shopping and would often come home with bags of high end retail goods to sort through later. Not having time to try them on in the store, or perhaps she just didn't like getting her hair and makeup out of place while out, she would purchase item with the intention of returning or exchanging them later if they were not to her liking. The problem was the quantity of bags and items was too much to keep track of what she intended to keep and what she intended to take back but she wanted the items put away that she was keeping. While running out the door after a large shopping trip, she would attempt to rattle off to her housekeepers which items to cut the tags off of and put away, and which items to leave in the bags to be taken back.
You can only guess what happened more often than not: in the fury to try and put away all the items that Mrs. had requested, the well-meaning housekeepers repeatedly cut the wrong tags, costing in some cases thousands of dollars in un-returnable merchandise! To solve this issue, I explained to Mrs. that a simple "policy and procedure" needed to be put into place to avoid this mishap in the future, and with a small willingness on her part to comply with the policy it would save her money and frustration in the future. The fix was simple, I had the household purchase a small lovely pair of embroidery scissors to be kept on a pretty tray on top of Mrs.' dressing table in her wardrobe. If after she tried on the item and she intended to keep it, she would cut the tag herself and place it on a designated hook, signaling to the housekeepers that the garment was ready to be put away properly...and if the items were still in (or near) the bags with the tags on, then the item would eventually be exchanged or returned. Once the policy and the procedure was put into place, and all the staff had been trained on the new system, this saved everyone unnecessary frustration and in some cases wasted funds for avoidable mistakes. Mrs. was thrilled and everyone was happy that an entire set of verbal instructions each day could be done away with, thus creating the "silent seemless service" everyone had been craving! This is a small example of the countless ways we help formal households run more efficiently and effectively. The core of our consulting practice is this: discover the problem, create a solution everyone can agree on, set up a policy and a procedure for that solution, write the system down in the household manual, and then train everyone to follow the standard. It is that simple. If you would like Luxury Lifestyle Logistics to work with you to find solutions to your everyday problems and create harmony for you and your staff, please contact us to set up a complementary consultation today.