Why cheap isn’t always best, particularly in service industries (Part 1)

Part 1 – Employee welfare and company duty of care

It is said that you tend to get what you pay for, and that the cheapest is not always the best – although, this is not to say that the opposite is always necessarily true either!

A product such as cheap toilet paper most certainly won’t be the best, often containing thinner and fewer sheets than its quality counterpart, thus needing far more product to do the job properly, although to be fair, this applies to most budget bathroom and kitchen products.

On the other hand, you may pay a fortune for designer clothes, but often, a shirt costing an eye-watering several hundred pounds in a London arcade boutique might not necessarily be any better in quality than one from that well known own-brand store with a saint as its mascot!

However, when it comes to the service industry, cheap is invariably not always the best, because to be cheap, it has to use cheap. And using cheap can mean corners are cut and fine detail ignored.

In the case of an extended stays, long-term lets and serviced apartment rentals in the course of work or for a relocation, company procurement departments have a duty of care to undertake due diligence when choosing accommodation for their employees – a duty of care that should be embedded in their organisational strategy and company culture. And cheap simply doesn’t work!

In the case of a relocation in particular, eligibility criteria have to be implicitly laid out for any qualifying employees far in advance of any relocation taking place. It shouldn’t be left up to the employee to have to sort out the fine detail when they arrive in their destination country.

Home sale and purchase issue management, removals and the all-important temporary accommodation are all intertwined, and it is unacceptable for companies to leave these elements as the sole responsibility of the employee who has to work for a living at the same time in what is a strange country.

It is quite unacceptable that procurement divisions take the risk of shopping for temporary accommodation based simply on price alone. It can so easily become a case of caveat emptor – or, “let the buyer beware”! And as the employee is not the buyer, it shouldn’t be left to them to discover this when they take possession of the key to their temporary home. Precautions have to be taken in advance through care in the procurement stage.

It is not acceptable that because the worker is away from the main contracted premises of employment there is an excuse for abandoning the corporate duty of care – a “not in my backyard” attitude towards workers just doesn’t hold water!

The simplest way employers can overcome this is to use established serviced apartment providers. And if it means paying that little bit more to obtain the added peace of mind for the assured welfare of the employee, then so be it. After all, the company expects to receive back productive working time from its employee.

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