Two Marriott hotels in Thailand explore flexible arrangements for operational staff

General managers of two Marriott properties in Thailand are exploring flexible working arrangements for their staff – something unheard of before the pandemic.

Choo Leng Goh, general manager of The Athenee Hotel Bangkok – A Luxury Collection Hotel, told TTG Asia there are a “variety of options” for flexible working arrangements in the hotel industry, especially for operations and customer-facing roles.

Goh: flexible working arrangements may be the solution

“For instance, flexible hours – where operational staff may choose to reduce their core hours, go part time, or arrange seasonal hours due to personal demands. Another option is working a compressed week, by taking on more hours on the days they work.

“There’s also the option of adjusted working hours, which would allow associates to do a school run by starting a little earlier,” Goh explained.

Such policies could also “attract new talent” to Marriott, at a time when the company is on a growth trajectory in Asia-Pacific, she noted.

Tina Liu, general manager of W Bangkok, shared with TTG Asia that her property is also exploring “similar models of alternative work arrangements”.

While the various approaches could work for most positions, Liu said remote work would only apply to administrative roles.

Some benefits of an improved work-life balance include boosting staff engagement, higher productivity, lowering absenteeism and turnovers, reducing one’s carbon footprint due to less commuting, and ensuring an associate’s mental well-being is at its healthiest.

“This arrangement could also reignite interest in those who did not even consider a career in hospitality, or perhaps left the industry due to the lack of flexible working arrangements,” added Liu.

However, the first step is to “formalise this modern approach”, and “remove any stigma or guilt by having a structure and achieve higher retention”, Goh pointed out.

Goh opined: “It’s a shame to see wonderfully talented and skilled people leave their hotel jobs as it wasn’t able to fit into their lifestyles. This can have a negative effect and cause stress and anxiety for the associate who feels they need to leave or are not valued.

“Some of these flexible working arrangements may be the solution.”

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