Here’s one good reason why you should always consider a serviced apartment for your staff the next time you book them onto a business trip for more than a day or so. You see, sharing a hotel room is not good for the soul or the morale – and nor is it good if you want your staff to perform well. Two men (this seems to apply mostly to blokes), away from home and their loved ones, forced into a small, stuffy space, night after night, just doesn’t work.
It goes something like this:
You’ve been chosen as one of the team to attend a big industry conference and exhibition next month…….then the memories come flooding back.
12 months ago you set off for the exhibition, head held high, one of the elite team chosen to represent your company at this important event. The hotel wasn’t bad and the room pleasant enough – you’d never shared before but the guy from Bristol office seemed OK. So much for first impressions!
The next three nights were a living hell. After a day at the show, all you want is a couple of beers and a good night’s rest. He didn’t drink. He talked incessantly about his Mk 1 Cortina. He insisted on watching mindless American reality shows all night… and then he snored.
I really didn’t want to know how much his bottom ball joints had cost or how some poor woman from Philadelphia had a 36lb cyst removed from her little finger. But I did, desperately, want some sleep.
The snore would start as a rattle and then build through a high pitched whine to a full-on pneumatic drill. I think it even woke him a couple of times but, unlike me, he was back in the Land of Nod in seconds.
It was hot that year, the hotel room was stuffy and he had a personal odour problem. I can’t think why because he hogged the bathroom for at least an hour every night and again in the morning. By the time it was my turn, that small, enclosed space felt more like a Turkish bath, festooned with his huge shirts dripping-dry from the shower rail and socks draped like those shrivelled salamis you see hanging from the ceiling of a Spanish tapas bar. The smell was the same too.
I looked forward to escaping that hotel every morning and dreaded having to go back at night. Any brownie points I earned for my apparent enthusiasm for getting to the exhibition early each day was offset by several warnings from my boss not to fall asleep on the stand again.
It is easy to understand why businesses like to get their staff to share – there are substantial cost savings to be made. But if the result of sharing is exhausted, demotivated and under-performing staff, then a rethink is needed.
The solution is to share, but to share accommodation that is made for sharing.
Serviced apartments, like those managed by specialist Cotels in Northampton, Luton and Milton Keynes, come with one, two or three bedrooms, so each member of the team can have his own room and, in most cases, bathroom. There’s a fully-fitted and equipped kitchen – even a dishwasher and full laundry facilities. A comfortably furnished lounge has a large screen satellite TV and there’s a spacious dining area that doubles as a perfect meeting room. Some bedrooms have their own TV too. Of course there is full, free broadband, a reserved parking space and all the apartments are centrally located close to shops, restaurants and rail and bus terminals. It’s all designed to make a stay on business as stress-free, practical and pleasant as possible.
The savings are similar but the end result is rested and happy employees, who are motivated to perform well….and that’s got to be worth a lot!