The Story of Strainless Work
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The start of Strainless Work begins in housekeeping. So what is its housekeeping story about? It began with a physiotherapist had her first step into the doorway of housekeeping in a Hong Kong Hotel.
Q: Hello, I know that you are the founder of Strainless Work. Tell me, what is it Strainless Work about?
A: Strainless Work is meant for helping people to do their work easier, safer. Under Strainless Work, there is this first project – Happy Housekeeping tailored-made for housekeepers.
Q: Why housekeeping?
A: The story started around 10 years ago when I was fortunate enough to work in a hotel. My job was to help taking care of the health of housekeepers. When I first started, I didn’t have many cases visiting me. Soon, I gave up the idea of waiting for my colleagues to come over to my office, I chose to approach them directly on the guest floor. I was moved by their professionalism.
Q: What did you observe during the time staying in a housekeeping department?
A: They were all skillful in making a neat and tidy bed, as if they have a magic wand in hand, turning a check-out room into a spotless and minty room. However, on the other hand, when I talk with them, many of them are experiencing pain, tightness, and a very common phenomenon, they are all under high stress.
Q: So, how did you respond to what you saw?
A: Since I have plenty of time, I decide to learn how to make up a room.
Q: And how was your experience in housekeeping like?
A: My housekeeping life was draining. The first week after returning home. I went speechless and had no energy to speak or even to express my feelings and just want to lie down. There was no injury at all or any particular area I found is at high risk, but through the hands-on process, I have found many missing puzzles of how a housekeeper can get elbow pain, or why they found their backaches.
Q: Was making the bed the most difficult task in housekeeping?
A: To me, the most difficult task is to try to keep up with time. There was pressure to finish a room as soon as possible. And I was so absorbed in completing the task, there was the moment I ignore my body postures, or safety measures like wearing gloves, etc.
Q: I am sure all these experience helps you back when you carry out your duty when treating them right?
A: Definitely. It drew my concern, why shouldn’t we put forward a housekeeping safety training for everyone? Most of their symptoms are preventable. I started to see it would be much better to prevent all the injuries and accidents before something bad happens!
Q: So what did you do in housekeeping?
A: Yes, I tried introducing 5 minute daily safety sharing, with good stretching before they start work. Together with the experience, I learned through bed making, skills sharing from other housekeepers, I started to be able to combine the two, skills and medical knowledge, and implement them into a housekeeping safety training program.
A: Understanding is the key. This matters as the language used in the safety promotion is no longer about saying ‘oh you have done this the wrong way, you have had bad posture’.There should not be any penalty. I have realized the safety culture consists of, first, we have to respect housekeepers. When they choose a certain way, it’s always with a reason. Should I be the auditor just to give a CROSS on the assessment form? We have to look into the big picture. Was it the housekeeping management issue? or maybe a shortage of time? So, my way is to walk with them, to introduce them to the right ergonomic principle, so that they can execute their skills, their way.
Q: But may I say most housekeeping training teaches we have to keep our back straight, to have good posture. What is the difference between your course with another typical training course?
A: To be honest, I am not the best person in teaching how to make a bed, how to finish up a room in 30min. A housekeeper with more than a year of experience can show you various ways of cleaning up. So, strainless work focuses on actionable and practical tips that a housekeeper can apply in their job. We believe there might be various ways to complete a job, yet, within safety concern, there is always only one principle.
Q: What is the point of focus in your housekeeping safety training?
We look into ergonomics, exercise, and massage techniques, and lots of self-help tips, for example, to use a heating pad relieving muscle aches. And pick up those who fit for a housekeeper. So that the user can carry out on their own, lifelong, for the sake of their health.
Q: In 2021, what is the plan of Strainless Work?
A: 2020 was a terrible year for all of us. I am sure many friends in hospitality were affected. In 2021, here we want to open our arms to all friends from housekeeping all over the world, to give support despite up and downtimes. Strainless Work would like to walk with housekeepers who are feeling weary and pain, to pass through this time. Even though we are all unsure how the future will be like, let’s take this time to equip ourself for better health and safer work skill.