Business of Happiness

Business of Happiness

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TOK GEOK LAN

LINEN ATTENDANT

PARK AVENUE ROCHESTER

How long have you been in the industry? I’ve been working here for over five years.

Tell us about your career journey. I was a housewife before I joined the hotel. My children are all grown up, so I became bored staying alone at home for most of the day. Housekeeping seemed similar to what I did at my home, so it was like an automatic reflex to join the hotel housekeeping department.

I’ve been in the Linen Department of Housekeeping since I started working here. I was interested in joining this department because I like sewing. One of the requirements for this role is knowing how to sew. I love handling all kinds of fabrics, and checking the quality and make of the linen.

Tell us about your day-to-day duties. My daily tasks include sending guests’ laundry, our hotel uniforms and soiled linen to the laundry. And packing fresh linen into the linen trolleys to be delivered to the floors by the Robots.

Before, the Room Attendants and I would have to head down to the back of house and bring up the linen trolleys to the guest rooms floor by floor, which can take a long time. But with the help of Robbie, our Laundry Delivery Robot, it’s all done automatically. When the linen is ready, I can schedule the trolleys to come up and down in a more orderly manner. In the evening, Robbie brings up clean linen for each floor. In the morning, the Room Attendants can make the rooms and load the trolleys with used linen.

What was it like working with the robot at first? When I first used the robot, I was very confused, it was all new to me. I would sometimes accidentally mix things up and I’d ask the Programmer to help me restart the server. After a week of training, I got quite familiar with it. Now, I find it quite easy and simple to use since it’s all controlled by an iPad.

I also learned about WiFi. If the WiFi isn’t working, the robot and the lift won’t work. I learned how to operate and troubleshoot the robot. There were times when I ran into some technical issues. The Programmer and I will try finding solutions to help us get back on schedule. It’s always a learning process.

Would you encourage people to learn about this kind of technology? Yes, it’s very important. Mostly because there are people like me who are aging. Our health doesn’t allow us to do physical work that involves heavy lifting anymore. The robot is a helper, it reduces the strain of physical work. Even the government encourages us to learn IT and smart technology, and it’s great to see people my age wanting to learn how to use technology, and to do it competently. Learning about technology is useful for both work and personal use. For example, through learning about WiFi, I now know how to use Whatsapp to text my children.

When you work with new technology, you have to understand the concept behind it. I wasn’t scared when I first worked with the robot. Instead, I was quite curious about how it works, and decided that I wanted to learn more about it. I decided to take a short course, AI Robotic Operation Beginner, from Singapore Polytechnic last year. With the support and encouragement of my management, I took two days off to attend and complete the course. I liked it because it was a comprehensive hands-on learning experience.

How do you contribute to the guest’s Happiness during his or her stay here? I focus on the quality of the linen, making sure that it’s high-quality and is according to the hotel’s standards.

As for Robbie the robot, it helps reduce the frequency of the Room Attendants coming down and going back up, so that my colleagues and I have more time to focus on providing other services for our guests.

What do you enjoy most about your job? I like working with the Room Attendants, they’re very friendly. We’re like a family here and we all get along really well. When you work with people you like, you enjoy being at work and doing what you do.

I appreciate the challenge of learning something new. It is always a learning journey for me when it comes to handling new technology, as I have to constantly learn new skills to deal with the challenges that come with it. But I believe those new skills will always be useful in the future.

Any advice for someone who wants to join the industry? You must be very patient and have passion for the job because that’s how you’ll find satisfaction. Also, always be open to learning. There’s always something new and interesting to learn.

Watch Geok Lan's video here