Hands-on hotel management

The InterContinental Dubai provides its staff with a new level of employee benefits

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By  Sarah Campbell Published  March 15, 2006

InterContinental Dubai has a new initiative in March that takes employee well-being to a new level. The hotel has teamed up with reflexology and massage specialist, Feet First, to offer foot, head, neck and shoulder massages to its entire staff. The InterContinental hopes this month-long trial run will help employees that suffer from problems such as eyestrain, headaches, fatigue, insomnia and stress, all of which contribute to employee absenteeism and under-performance. By using techniques such as reflexology, deep tissue massage and stress-relieving massage the team aims to deliver a happier, more productive workforce. Part of the Planet Nutrition Group, Feet First’s expertise is provided by the London-based Formosa Centre, a specialist in the areas of reflexology and acupressure. “Modern life is stressful enough for our people. When you add to that the pressures of working in the hospitality industry, it is no surprise that employers like us are trying to find ways to help staff cope. If there is anything we can do to make our people happier in their work, we owe it to them to do it,” said Jorgen Jorgensen, general manager, InterContinental Dubai. Trials in Europe using reflexology and massage techniques on employees have seen drastic reductions in the number of sick days taken. In some cases a 13% drop in absenteeism has been witnessed, resulting in substantial savings for companies. The key benefits of massage therapy go far deeper than relaxation and stress relief. Under the right conditions, massage can ease tension, reduce stiffness, relieve pain, improve breathing and enhance blood circulation throughout the entire body. The net result to the recipient is a greater sense of well-being on all levels, from the physical and mental, to the spiritual. All 650 Intercontinental employees will be involved in the trial and detailed questionnaires will be used to monitor performance and measure the effectiveness of the service. “If we can see results, this will become an integral part of our human resource management practices,” said human resources manager, Anita Russell. “Traditionally, employers have offered staff rewards to perform better. In this case, it is the other way round. We are making the first move. I think we will see excellent results,” she added.

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