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International Housekeepers Week is traditionally celebrated during the second week in September. Recognized worldwide since 1981, the week honors the efforts and dedication of professionals who maintain a clean, safe and healthy environment for their employers and the public. Housekeepers work in schools, health facilities and office buildings, as well as in the hospitality industry and private homes. Often their efforts go unnoticed or are taken for granted. International Housekeepers Week is an opportunity to show these workers who make our lives comfortable and safe how essential they are and how much they are appreciated.
Because the annual event lasts a week, there's plenty of time to say thank you. Front desks and staff lounges can be decorated with banners and balloons displaying words of appreciation. Because housekeepers often work in the background of day-to-day operations, a “wall of recognition” in a public area is one way to express appreciation. Hang pictures of staff members who go beyond their job description along the wall with a small biography and description of what they do at the facility. Consider providing recognition in newsletters and on websites.
Gift baskets are a traditional way to show appreciation, but there are other ways to show gratitude as well. Gift cards to shopping malls, stores and restaurants and passes to movie theaters can be enclosed in letters of appreciation. Hire a massage therapist to give each staff member a 15-minute massage of the neck and shoulders. Gratitude can be shown with personalized gifts such as coffee mugs, T-shirts and pens.
Treat the housekeeping staff to cakes, cupcakes and other baked goods. Fruit baskets and finger sandwiches are another idea. Arrange banquets and luncheons throughout the week to give all staffers a chance to take part in the celebration. Breakfasts, luncheons and banquets provide numerous opportunities for presenting awards. Change roles and have the managers and other department heads serve the food.
Add some fun to the week’s celebration with games among the housekeeping staff. Games can be relevant to their daily work, such as which staff member can make the most beds in a certain time or who can fold the most towels. Puzzles, word games and baking contests are popular activities. Present the winners with chocolates, goodie baskets or candles.
Based in southern New Hampshire, Pamela Hodgdon started out as a newspaper reporter in 1984 before finding her niche as a features writer and photographer. She turned her passion for photojournalism into a wedding and portrait business and holds a bachelor's degree in liberal arts at Regents College in New York.