The Room Key is LODGING’s advice column for hoteliers, managers, and team members at all levels of hospitality. Have a question for our experts? Submit it here.
Should hotel sales teams be allowed to work from home?
“I am a hotel sales manager and there is a constant debate between the sales and marketing manager and our executive management team—should we have the flexibility to work from home every now and then? There are so many job options out there, and most companies are giving their employees more flexibility. We are in sales and know what we need to do to hit our numbers, or what will happen if we don’t achieve our goals.
“We work long hours Monday through Friday and countless extended hours, but are not given the opportunity to get those hours back or work from home after a long day of sales calls or a late night with clients. Our bosses tend to tell us this is how it is in the hospitality industry. Is that true, or have you noticed more flexibility for managers in hotel sales and marketing?”
Providing a reasonable, flexible work environment is generally a good practice for the hotel industry. Yes, there are certain roles in our industry where working remotely is neither practical nor desirable. Yet in your scenario, I see no compelling reason why a sales or marketing leader—whose role entails being on property, participating in client meetings, and attending industry events—can’t have some flexibility with their schedule. That could mean working a half-day over extensive travel or taking a full-day to simply focus on tedious administrative responsibilities.
Let’s face it—today’s technology platforms can allow a sales or marketing manager to accomplish a lot when not on property. Hotel leaders who still believe that everything needs to be done in the office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. need to realize that this thinking is outdated in many business contexts today.
The desire for a flexible work schedule has been rapidly growing across many industries, and hotels must keep pace when this is feasible. By providing the occasional ‘work from home’ option, companies give their employees a sense of empowerment over their work-life balance. Studies have shown that this can lead to greater job fulfillment and, ultimately, increased levels of productivity. It also promotes a more desirable culture that benefits employers in attracting and retaining the most competitive talent.
The bottom line: The workplace is ever-changing and hotels need to constantly adapt. Only time will tell if this becomes the norm in our industry, at least for certain roles. However, all signs suggest that hotel companies are heading in that direction. Businesses that are ahead of the curve with their employee benefits will continue to have the advantage.
Answered by Andrew Hazelton, managing director of AETHOS Consulting Group’s Philadelphia office.