Laura, Housekeeping Manager, Premier Inn
Getting back into the working world after a while, or embarking on something new later in life can be daunting. Fear, self doubt and questioning whether it’s even possible is holding people back from starting a new chapter in their life. At Whitbread, we want to turn around the negatives and help you change your story – both the stories you tell yourself about lack of confidence, ability or employability, and your future ambitions too. You’re at the best place to #ChangeYourStory, with the UK’s leading hospitality business.
“Thirteen years ago my life moved 150 miles from one end of the country to the other. My boyfriend and I came back to his home city of Liverpool from Gloucester and I joined Premier Inn as a Receptionist.
“I felt at home at the hotel straight away and, as well as the front desk, I also picked up Housekeeping shifts on and off and enjoyed being part of that team. When a chance to move to the Housekeeping department full time came up after two years, I was up for the challenge. The role suited me and I became a Team Leader - so I was in charge of the team’s rotas and making sure the rooms were done to our brand standards – a really vital part of meeting our guests’ expectations. You know when your room's a Premier Inn room!
“Progression is something that's spoken about quite a lot in the business and within Whitbread there’s always been a really clear structure to get ahead if you want to develop – and that’s from any department. Personally, my time here has taken in several different roles and that exposure has helped me develop my understanding of what goes into running a hotel of this size, tick.
“Life changed forever in 2013 when I had the first of my two children and, from a practical point of view, work were great. I had my son and made the decision to return to work but, if you ask any working mum, the guilt you feel of leaving your child to get back into work can be overwhelming. My mindset was I didn’t want to leave my son, but I wanted to get back to work and I knew I was doing the right thing.
“Having set days at work helped, for sure. It gave my week a structure and the team were really helpful with any appointments I had outside of work with my baby. I rejoined the Housekeeping team two days a week but there was still the option to pick up more and more responsibility.
“I began to get ahead and opportunities started presenting themselves when, in 2015, I became Housekeeping Manager. It meant looking after a team of 18 and balancing the needs of my family at home. It’s undoubtedly a juggling act, being a Mum and a Manager. But, with lots of us in the team working mums, we look after each other. We respect one another and understand everyone’s commitments outside of the hotel.
“We are a real team; my Hotel Manager, Assistant Hotel Manager and me make it work between the three of us. Advance notice certainly helps when we all need particular dates or times off and it’s always tricky around half terms – it’s just what goes with being a working mum!
“But I’d say to anyone looking to return to work – come and give it a go at Premier Inn. We have flexible hours to suit anyone and we’ll train you up. Housekeeping’s rewarding and it’s hard work. Sometimes people apply thinking ‘I like a clean house’ but it’s more physical than you think and it’s cleaning to a professional standard. The work we do keeps Premier Inn the nation’s favourite and that's a title my team are not giving up easily!"