Our Hostel Our Home
It isn’t easy living in a hostel, especially when you have to deal with other people’s different lifestyles and habits. This is especially so for foreign workers, who come from rural areas and may not be familiar with the ways of keeping their place clean and working together to do so. This makes it possible for hostels to be left in a mess, especially when left unchecked.
This was so for LH Plus in the beginning, when an audit was done by Walmart on the hostels here. “At the time the hostels, like most hostels, didn’t make the cut of being a clean and safe place to stay,” said CEO of LH Plus, Callum Chen. Upon realising the condition of these hostels, a plan was devised that would make everyone living in the hostels willingly clean up after themselves and for LH Plus’ management to provide for them in return.
That was when the Hostel Management Program was implemented, where an audit was created for the hostel residence to follow, achieve and score on. With each score, more challenges are presented to motivate residents to keep doing their best in keeping their hostels clean and comfortable to live in.
Safety – Every residence must have a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit and a smoke alarm installed. If the fire extinguisher levels are off or expired, or the first aid kit has run out of supplies, the management is to be informed.
Cleanliness – All floors and table tops must be kept clean, free of dust and residue. Sinks must be clean and dishes must also be washed. Insecticides were also provided to handle any possible pest issues.
Management – To make their residence more appealing, management has given them paints with colours of their choice, upon which they paint their hostel themselves with them. New beds, mattresses, sheets and covers were provided for. As such, clothes must be hang in proper areas, sheets must be changed and clean.
Once the basics have been given, a leader and an assistant is elected by the residence to be given the responsibility of keeping their residence clean and safe, ensuring that the residence themselves are communicating and looking out for each other to keep their place clean. “We have a schedule that we follow every day,” says Ambar from Production, leader of one of the Hostels. “We clean the place at least twice a day, once during the day and the other at night.”
Golam from OSH & 5S who is also a leader in another hostel says, “As leaders we make sure everyone does their part. But eventually everyone does what they can, regardless of the schedule.”
Check-ups were then done monthly and small prizes of basic necessities such as sugar or rice were given to those who scored well in the Hostel Management Program. As it progressed, the competition grew and in this way, the hostel became cleaner and more organised. In the next level, audits were still done monthly, but prizes were given quarterly to ensure a higher budget for bigger and better prizes so this included furniture, dining sets, fridge, TV and more. There are even certain hostels who hold the record of winning at least three times since the Hostel Management Program was implemented, and they have received these items that have made their hostel a lot more comfortable.
A trophy is also given for the winner of that quarter to hold on to for 3 months before given to another winner. This ensures that everyone has a chance to win and not just one hostel wins every time.
“When people are well rested and happy with the clean place they are living in, there will be less accidents, less absenteeism and less sickness. There will also be higher efficiency and they are more alert at the work place,” said Callum with pride. “This creates a culture where if they can keep the hostels clean, they can also keep the workplace clean as well.” As of now, the hostel residence have all reported their satisfaction with the program and are happy with the place that they are staying in now.