Educate and elevate – 4 areas for focus

4 April 2022

They say it takes a village to raise a child – but for most of us, the village no longer exists. Or if it does, it may be a very different place from where we end up as adults. Skills and knowledge needed to ‘do life’ can sometimes be missed – so it is best to assume not everyone has the same level of know-how and to spend some time to “educate and elevate”!

It’s easy to forget, particularly with the ‘simple stuff’ in life, that we all learned things for the first time at some stage. Sometimes it was a parent, or older sibling. Sometimes it was a friend. Other times it was simple trial and error. To make sure products and furnishings are well looked after, it is important to be thorough with onboarding staff training, and to find out where the knowledge gaps lie.

1. Looking after bedding

Yes, mattresses are expensive items to outlay.  But once purchased they can last for many years – providedthey are well looked after. A waterproof mattress protector will prevent unsightly stains and watermarks from forming on the mattress. It will also absorb body oils and dust, so the mattress doesn’t become unhygienic or smelly. The same goes for pillows. When housed in a pillow protector topped with a normal pillow case, the lifespan of the pillow will be hugely extended.

If staff oversee looking after their own bedding in worker accommodation, set a reminder for when it should be changed and supply clear instructions on how and when to do so, just in case they are needed.

While sheets and pillowcases should be washed weekly, the protective garments need only be washed every two months. Washing these protectors is far easier than washing the items themselves – and keeping them clean will mean the items within stay fresh too.

2. Cooking competently

When it comes to using the kitchen and cooking, different cultures and upbringings expect different things from their children. Add to this the possibility of cooking equipment being different from what they are used to, and you could have a staff member who – through no fault of their own – has no idea what to do with an electric stove or how to open a can of beans, and it would do you well to educate.

This lack of knowledge and skill can result in personal injury, or it may see your appliances ruined by misuse. We have heard of meat being cooked directly on the elements of a stovetop, for example, and food being eaten raw because of a lack of knowledge.

For many, asking for help in these areas is embarrassing. So, make sure each piece of equipment comes with clear instructions for use. When a staff member is new, it can be helpful to stay close to the kitchen at mealtimes and offer a hand when needed.

3. Knowing how each piece of equipment is used

You will probably have heard horror stories of visitors using jugs to clean socks and underwear. Occasionally too microwaves have been used to dry clothes, sometimes with disastrous consequences (think metal buttons and zips).

Without prior experience many appliances can seem like mysterious machines, and their misuse can be dangerous. Good training, either through shadowing an experienced staff member or via explicit instruction, will ensure your equipment (and potentially your establishment) isn’t lost because of a lack of knowledge.

Slow cookers can be great for making large meals and are often used for staff dinners, but they must be switched off when not in use. The inner pot should be lifted out to clean, without submerging the base. Some foods, such as dairy or pasta, will not cook well in a slow cooker, resulting in a ruined meal at the end of the day. These simple instructions could save a life, prevent a fire or avert the obvious challenges that comes with a hangry workforce.

Similarly, an electric blanket can be excellent in cool climates for making a bed cosy and inviting to get into after a long day, but they must be switched off before sleep and should never be left on during the day. A little education can go a long way here.

4. Using cleaning products correctly

When it comes to cleaning, it is immensely important – especially in current climes – to ensure protective gear is used properly. Rubber gloves should be worn to prevent infections and to protect the skin from being exposed to harsh cleaning chemicals.

In a more general sense, cleaning staff should be well versed in how to keep cleaning cloths for different areas separate, and how to safely empty bins and dispose of rubbish, without putting themselves at risk, or spreading germs.

The use of cleaning machinery such as vacuums may require specific instructions, especially if they are to be used efficiently. Don’t forget about instructions for changing the filters and dust bags. There is little more frustrating than a vacuum cleaner that is not suctioning!

There are a million things you’re meant to know in adult life. And a few you really should know. Don’t take for granted that your workers have the specialist knowledge required to operate important tools, and make a point to educate and elevate!

If you’d like to discuss further how to deliver the right product fit for your unique situation, we have expert consultants ready to chat. Get in touch with us today

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