Of the many different tasks a housekeeper must do during the day, getting the pillow into its case can be overlooked. The end result is always discussed: how the ends are tucked, is it fluffed, is it covered, and even the location on the bed. However, how the pillow gets into the case can be minimalized in the overall room servicing process. To evaluate the performance expectations when encasing a pillow, consider safety, quality, and productivity. Or sanitation and injury prevention, first impression impact, and time.
One common way to encase a pillow is using 2 hands and a chin. Holding the end of the pillow squeezed between the chin and chest, while sliding the case up and around the pillow with both hands. While this method is relatively fast and helps to keep the case wrinkle free, it is considered unsanitary and places undue stress on the neck and shoulders. This process often ends with the housekeeper holding the case with the pillow inside and “shaking” or “snapping” the pillow down into the corners, which adds stress to the shoulders and wrists.
Another method is to grasp the pillow in one hand and the case in the other, then push the pillow into the case while pulling the case onto the pillow. Depending on the size of the pillow and case, this can often means pulling the pillow or case up to the housekeeper’s arm pit. This can also be unsanitary and cause repeated stress on the shoulders, elbows and wrist.
Yet one more method is to grasp the pillow near the end and slide it into the case without folding or bending. While a sanitary, safe, and quick way to encase a pillow, pillows that are new or overstuffed will cause frustration and add time to smooth out the wrinkles.
There are 2 recommended methods that address all three performance considerations.
First is the squeeze, slide and shake method. Squeeze the pillow down on the bed like an accordion. Then hold the side seams of the case and pull it down around the pillow. Once the case is around the pillow, invert the case, still holding the side seams, and shake gently to set the pillow into the case corners. This method is quick and sanitary, but can have a tendency to wrinkle the case and cause stress to the wrists while setting the pillow.
The second and preferred method which works for just about any pillow regardless of age and size, is the fold and slide. First fold the pillow in half down its length. Then, while holding the case open on the bed, slide the folded pillow into the case with the other hand in one smooth movement. When the pillow is released, it will open into the case and, if needed, the corners can be set with a light shake or by reaching into the case. With practice, a housekeeper can become proficient. This method address safety, quality, and productivity by eliminating contact with the chin or armpit, keeping the case from wrinkling, relieving stress on the neck and shoulders, and allowing the housekeeper to switch hands.
While neither method is perfect, both provide the housekeeper with ways to meet or exceed daily performance expectations for quality, safety, and productivity.