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Housekeeping by Design : Hotels and Labor (Paperback) (David Brody)

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A mattress, box spring, and duvet for a king-size hotel bed weighs in at 225 pounds. Imagine trying to wrestle with changing the sheets and getting the hospital corners just right; it is easy to see why hotel housekeepers experience back and shoulder injuries at increasing rates. David Brody got behind the scenes at the Chicago Hyatt Regency and the Starwood hotels in Hawaii, bypassing management and corporate press releases to interview the housekeeping staff directly. Given Brody’s expertise in architecture and design, his mission here is to help us understand service design” in hotels in order to situate the needs of hotel customers, housekeepers, and hotel management one relative to the other. What unfolds as a new perspective on hotels is designin terms of spaces, products, maintenance, and workflow systems. We get vivid examples of how a hotel room’s design encapsulates a highly orchestrated, hidden process of management and labor, where work is invisible and surface appearances are paramount to the guest’s sense of domestic comfort. (Turndown service” is one exampleroom light dimmed, drapes drawn, music on classical, turndown mat on floor, slippers in place, mint on pillow, etc.) Brody opts strongly for what he calls co-design, which means collaboration between workers and management on improving hotel design, and he is unabashedly partisan in taking sides with hotel workers and their unions. He also advocates for sustainability and green politics.

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