Would room stewards appreciate privacy cards?

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#41
Maine or at sea
13,931 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
I can only speak from my personal experiences on the crew side of this question. And while I was not in the housekeeping side of the operation, I naturally spoke with both front line employees and their supervisors, and observed their interaction during my day of supervising the maintenance of the front of house. While not turning down a few cabins twice a day, or skipping towel animals may save the stewards a few minutes of labor each day, do not think that they are free to go to their cabins or other crew public areas with this free time. If they are not found "on station" at the required times, they can be disciplined by their supervisor, so they will just tend to hang out in the crew stairwells by the linen lockers and chat. Some cruise lines have gone to time clocks on the ships, and while there are many clocks around the ship, clocking in or out at a location removed from their duty station raises a red flag as to the validity of the clock entry.
#42
Holland
1,001 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
So many replies.. Thanks everyone
I'll just reply to the one that leaves me puzzled most.

Originally posted by chengkp75
While not turning down a few cabins twice a day, or skipping towel animals may save the stewards a few minutes of labor each day, do not think that they are free to go to their cabins or other crew public areas with this free time. If they are not found "on station" at the required times, they can be disciplined by their supervisor, so they will just tend to hang out in the crew stairwells by the linen lockers and chat. Some cruise lines have gone to time clocks on the ships, and while there are many clocks around the ship, clocking in or out at a location removed from their duty station raises a red flag as to the validity of the clock entry.
Why would the ship want an employee at their station when the work is finished? They can't clock out before all cabins are done I guess? Which is probably checked by their superiors, comment cards, etc. I know nothing about the hospitality business, but how is the ship or the guest helped with cabin stewards chatting and looking at their watches instead of doing something or use their time to recharge for the next shift?

The only thing I can think of is that a guest suddenly removes a privacy card, but from what I saw nobody was using them. And even if so, a little light indicating you want or don't want your cabin served instead of a card, connected to a beeper would save a lot of time.
#43
Maine or at sea
13,931 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
The crew are not truly paid by the hour, but are required to put in a set number of hours for their salary. Therefore, they don't want to set precedents of allowing crew to leave their work stations early. If the crew are "idle" at their stations, they are available for their supervisors to assign any additional chore that is required. Sometimes this involves additional cleaning of stations or stocking additional supplies based on either the supervisor's daily inspections or a USPH type inspection by the senior management.
#44
Holland
1,001 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
Originally posted by chengkp75
The crew are not truly paid by the hour, but are required to put in a set number of hours for their salary. Therefore, they don't want to set precedents of allowing crew to leave their work stations early. If the crew are "idle" at their stations, they are available for their supervisors to assign any additional chore that is required. Sometimes this involves additional cleaning of stations or stocking additional supplies based on either the supervisor's daily inspections or a USPH type inspection by the senior management.
The way you put it sounds logical from a HR standpoint, but for a crew member it would be "You have cleaned all assigned cabins, today we checked two of those and again you got 100 points, yet you're still one hour short so just wait here doing nothing because we wouldn't want our crew to get used to relax after working faster than Excel thought you would. We also might suddenly think of a unplanned chore for which a 5 minute delay to get back here would put our operation in danger. Thank you so much and always remember there are 5000 applicants each week for your job."

Maybe that's just the only way the ships can operate, but I'm not sure I like it.
#45
SoCal
11,282 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by AmazedByCruising
The way you put it sounds logical from a HR standpoint, but for a crew member it would be "You have cleaned all assigned cabins, today we checked two of those and again you got 100 points, yet you're still one hour short so just wait here doing nothing because we wouldn't want our crew to get used to relax after working faster than Excel thought you would. We also might suddenly think of a unplanned chore for which a 5 minute delay to get back here would put our operation in danger. Thank you so much and always remember there are 5000 applicants each week for your job."

Maybe that's just the only way the ships can operate, but I'm not sure I like it.
I had a office job (behind a desk, not cleaning). I was required to be there 8 hours a day. I also had specific tasks to be done during those 8 hours. If I finished up my tasks before my 8 hour mark, I was assigned other tasks, or I found my own other work to do.

Not just "the only way ships can operate". That's a job.
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#46
Holland
1,001 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
Originally posted by Shmoo here
I had a office job (behind a desk, not cleaning). I was required to be there 8 hours a day. I also had specific tasks to be done during those 8 hours. If I finished up my tasks before my 8 hour mark, I was assigned other tasks, or I found my own other work to do.

Not just "the only way ships can operate". That's a job.
To quote the Chief:
"so they will just tend to hang out in the crew stairwells by the linen lockers and chat."

As a (small, about 20 people) employer myself, I think that's the fastest way to bring down morale.
#47
Canada
1,689 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Maybe that's just the only way the ships can operate, but I'm not sure I like it.
Perhaps you've never had a job that required you to work a specific number of hours per day. I have. Some days, I was lucky to have time for a meal break. Other days, if my patient load was light, I might actually have time for a cup of coffee and a chat with another nurse. On the very rare occasions when the patient load was very low, nurses didn't get to go home early. They were sent to other areas to help out, or were assigned other duties. I see no difference with the room stewards.

Just putting out a privacy card isn't going to free up much meaningful time for a steward. And as mentioned before, unless you had had a discussion with the steward and told him you didn't want service at all, he'd end up having to haunt your doorway to see whether that privacy sign was going to come down sometime that day. After all, he's not a mind reader.

Misplaced "compassion" is just as likely to screw up a well run routine - throwing a monkey wrench into the works.
#48
Holland
1,001 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
Originally posted by mom says
And as mentioned before, unless you had had a discussion with the steward and told him you didn't want service at all, he'd end up having to haunt your doorway to see whether that privacy sign was going to come down sometime that day. After all, he's not a mind reader.
I told him, of course.
I did have a lot of different jobs including some with clocks (which are not that common in Holland btw). Having employees doing nothing, on purpose, just because they hadn't reached the hours yet, well yes that's new to me.
#49
428 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by chengkp75
... While not turning down a few cabins twice a day, or skipping towel animals may save the stewards a few minutes of labor each day, do not think that they are free to go to their cabins or other crew public areas with this free time. If they are not found "on station" at the required times, they can be disciplined by their supervisor, so they will just tend to hang out in the crew stairwells by the linen lockers and chat. ...

Thanks for joining the thread. Maybe this will put to rest the silly notion that crew can just hop off the ship if they finish a few minutes early when it isn't their port day, or go take a nap in the middle of their shift.
#50
Cincinnati
3,886 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
Originally posted by AmazedByCruising
I told him, of course.

I did have a lot of different jobs including some with clocks (which are not that common in Holland btw). Having employees doing nothing, on purpose, just because they hadn't reached the hours yet, well yes that's new to me.


Oh, that's the American way . Every job I've ever worked required me to be there certain hours, regardless of whether or not any work needed done. At my job we are considered hourly even though we are paid like we are salaried. My standard base pay is considered on a 40 hour work week. I have to be there a minimum of 40 hours. If I work more I get paid more on an hourly basis. But to work less I have to use vacation days. Every hour has to be accounted for. So yes, if I get to a point when there is no work left to be done and no reason to anticipate anything new popping up; I can sit around doing nothing until my shift ends or I have to use vacation time to leave early. Usually people just choose to sit around and do nothing and save their vacation time.


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#51
Raleigh, N.C.
13,623 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
We try to make our cabin steward's job easy by letting him or her know what we don't need. For instance, on our cruise last month we let her know that we did not need ice in the ice bucket.
#52
Holland
1,001 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
Originally posted by sanger727
Oh, that's the American way . Every job I've ever worked required me to be there certain hours, regardless of whether or not any work needed done. At my job we are considered hourly even though we are paid like we are salaried. My standard base pay is considered on a 40 hour work week. I have to be there a minimum of 40 hours. If I work more I get paid more on an hourly basis. But to work less I have to use vacation days. Every hour has to be accounted for. So yes, if I get to a point when there is no work left to be done and no reason to anticipate anything new popping up; I can sit around doing nothing until my shift ends or I have to use vacation time to leave early. Usually people just choose to sit around and do nothing and save their vacation time.
Being salaried over here is based on hours as well, I think the basics are more or less the same. Except for getting paid for being there, working or not. That system is only used for civil servants
#53
United States
3,614 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
Putting out the privacy card does not give them more time off, it may give them less.

They may have a certain time (I talked with our steward last week) that they have to wait around to see if the privacy card is still out. I am not sure if they have to notify someone to let them know the room was not done due to the privacy card.

Better to not be so messy, and have them be able to do their job quickly and get DONE.
#54
Cincinnati
3,886 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
Originally posted by AmazedByCruising
Being salaried over here is based on hours as well, I think the basics are more or less the same. Except for getting paid for being there, working or not. That system is only used for civil servants


So, just out of curiosity then. Say you have 2 employees with the same job. One is better with computers and can get some tasks performed more quickly than the other. They get the same workload. One can finish it in 7 hours and one can finish it in 8. What happens to the last hour for the first one? Are they given additional duties, so essentially penalized for being efficient; or allowed to leave early?

That's the situation I have at work often. A majority of my peers lack typing skills and their computer skills are basic. On average I can finish a task twice as fast just due to having computer skills. But we both have to be there the same number of hours. So I tend to get a combination of more tasks and more time with nothing to do.


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#55
SoCal
11,282 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by sanger727
So, just out of curiosity then. Say you have 2 employees with the same job. One is better with computers and can get some tasks performed more quickly than the other. They get the same workload. One can finish it in 7 hours and one can finish it in 8. What happens to the last hour for the first one? Are they given additional duties, so essentially penalized for being efficient; or allowed to leave early?

That's the situation I have at work often. A majority of my peers lack typing skills and their computer skills are basic. On average I can finish a task twice as fast just due to having computer skills. But we both have to be there the same number of hours. So I tend to get a combination of more tasks and more time with nothing to do.


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The more efficient worker will either get additional tasks, or just sits and does nothing. But, typically, the "better" worker will also be the one in line for more promotions/bonuses.

You're being paid to be there. If you leave early, you don't get paid for the time you're not there.
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#56
Cincinnati
3,886 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
Originally posted by Shmoo here
The more efficient worker will either get additional tasks, or just sits and does nothing. But, typically, the "better" worker will also be the one in line for more promotions/bonuses.

You're being paid to be there. If you leave early, you don't get paid for the time you're not there.


Right, that's my point. Though, I'm union so while we gain in overall pay in benefits, we lose merit based incentives. So the better worker gets nothing except more time to do nothing.


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#57
Holland
1,001 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
Originally posted by sanger727
So, just out of curiosity then. Say you have 2 employees with the same job. One is better with computers and can get some tasks performed more quickly than the other. They get the same workload. One can finish it in 7 hours and one can finish it in 8. What happens to the last hour for the first one? Are they given additional duties, so essentially penalized for being efficient; or allowed to leave early?

That's the situation I have at work often. A majority of my peers lack typing skills and their computer skills are basic. On average I can finish a task twice as fast just due to having computer skills. But we both have to be there the same number of hours. So I tend to get a combination of more tasks and more time with nothing to do.
The good ones (most of them are programmers btw) are indeed penalized for being efficient, as we have an endless list of more things to do. In programming though, finishing a task fast may mean much more work a year later, so it's not really comparable to for instance cleaning cabins. The reward comes as higher salaries.

I'm not speaking for all employers, but I'm definitely more interested in production than having people work for me, even when they bide their time checking Facebook.
#58
Cincinnati
3,886 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
Originally posted by AmazedByCruising
The good ones (most of them are programmers btw) are indeed penalized for being efficient, as we have an endless list of more things to do. In programming though, finishing a task fast may mean much more work a year later, so it's not really comparable to for instance cleaning cabins. The reward comes as higher salaries.



I'm not speaking for all employers, but I'm definitely more interested in production than having people work for me, even when they bide their time checking Facebook.


Well, it's still the same idea though - finishing tasks faster doesn't lead to more time off or a 'break', just being assigned additional duties. So the idea that if your steward doesn't clean your room just translates to him re-stocking towels or vacuuming the common areas rather than time off isn't strange. I don't know that that's what happens but if they r due to work an 8 hour shift I doubt not cleaning 1 room changes that.


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#59
Maine or at sea
13,931 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
The other unique aspect of work on a ship is that the workplace is also the employee's home, so there would be more opportunity for abuse of the system if crew were allowed to wander away from their work stations whenever their assigned duties were done.
#60
Palm Harbor, FL
4,684 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
If we want to talk about work inequities, or getting paid for doing nothing, can I please be compensated for the 40,000 cigarette breaks I didn't take during my working years?

Seems to me that stewards and other similar type professions are "on duty" during their assigned working hours, whether they are actually doing anything, efficient or not.

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