Qooco Opinion

Future Tall Buildings

Should hotels require fitness tests for employees?

September 1, 2016

One of the more interesting comparisons are those of hotel sizes, yesterday, today and tomorrow. This image from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) shows the eye-watering increase in height of hotels, including future properties that are forecast to reach a nausea-inducing 3,281 feet (the Kingdom Tower, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia). For the employees expected to serve their no-doubt demanding guests, they should expect long walks – or runs, depending on the urgency.

Granted, no one is expecting employees to take the stairs to reach the penthouse, it takes the lift in the Burj Khalifa, Dubai, just 1 minute 22 seconds to reach the highest floor from the ground level, and technology continues to shrink distance and do jobs previously reserved for humans. Yet given the ever-increasing size and height of hotels, perhaps it is time for minimum fitness standards to be incorporated into hotel training programs.

  • Research has shown that fitness has many benefits beyond healthier heart, blood pressure and physique, and these benefits directly impact job performance. Studies have shown that by maintaining a regular exercise regimen, you are able to improve your mental capability significantly. This includes better concentration and memory (ideal for waiters taking orders, and butlers juggling numerous requests), an ability to learn faster, and lower stress.
  • Improved fitness actually increases productivity. A study by Leeds Metropolitan University showed that employees who went to the gym were more satisfied, had better interactions with their colleagues, displayed better time management and were generally more productive. In a busy hotel, where one employee is dealing with multiple jobs at once, improving productivity even marginally can have major benefits for customer service.
  • It is no secret that fitness improves confidence. Flick through any men’s fitness magazines and there will be regular stories on how skinny guys bulked up and suddenly found a new sense of self-esteem. On a professional level, having a group of hotel employees who are individually confident in themselves and their own abilities will instantly rub off on their guests, resulting in more trust and better service.

No one expects a military-style fitness regimen when they join a hotel, but HR departments should start to think of ways to incorporate regular group exercise into their training schedules, alongside language and vocational skills learning. Having said that, perhaps a more relevant challenge for future hotel managers is a fear of heights among their new staff…