This hotel treats its staff like guests

CHILL-OUT ROOM: The Chillax Lounge at the Royal Plaza on Scotts was created for staff to relax and unwind. The lounge, which opened in September last year, features massage chairs, a reading corner, a projector showing cable-TV shows and an aquarium tank.


    Oct 08, 2013

    This hotel treats its staff like guests

    AS A customer relations officer working in a hotel bar, Ms Shanalyn Garbo can spend more than eight hours moving about in her high heels.

    During her daily shift which starts in the late afternoon and extends past midnight, Ms Garbo, 27, will be taking orders, making cocktails and serving customers at the Royal Plaza on Scott's Heat Ultralounge.

    But while the work can be tiring, Ms Garbo, who is from the Philippines, is thankful that she has a staff lounge to retreat to during her break.

    There, away from the public eye, she can kick off her shoes, relax with a magazine on a sofa or bean bag, and chit-chat with co-workers.

    Occasionally, she unwinds in one of the three massage chairs cleverly placed in front of an aquarium.

    But for Ms Garbo, it is the ambience there that makes all the difference. At the aptly named staff-only Chillax Lounge, the lights are turned down and the windows surrounding the 80 sq m room are tinted, to prevent outsiders from peeking in.

    "I have more energy for work after a break in the lounge," she said.

    Unlike many company staff-relaxation areas, the Chillax Lounge is remarkably different. It also boasts a projector screen playing cable-TV programmes, as well as computers with Internet access.

    Costing some $70,000 to build, the lounge was launched in September last year.

    At more than 21/2 times the size of the previous lounge, the Chillax Lounge is a brand-new space created in the hotel's basement area.

    "We felt that we should treat our colleagues better than we treat our guests... Happy staff will make happy guests," said Ms Juliana Ong, the hotel's director of human resources.

    While the move to revamp the lounge started with the hotel's management, the general staff had a hand in suggesting the facilities it should have.

    The Chillax Lounge is just one of the many initiatives that the hotel has implemented to engage its employees. Regular staff activities include dance classes, and weekly open-door sessions with the general manager.

    Unlike at most hotels, the 400 staff at the Royal Plaza on Scotts do not have to clock in and out. They are also not required to submit medical certificates when they report sick.

    "It's our (hotel's) values - trust and respect. Even though this may sound cliched, our employees are our greatest asset," said Mr Patrick Fiat, the hotel's general manager and chief experience officer.

    "We call (our staff) the internal guests. The external guests are the ones who pay, while the internal guests are those we pay," he said.