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Taking on the trusted role of a Housekeeper is one which comes with a great deal of responsibility. To be taken into the home of your employers means they have sought a professional member of staff who they feel is honest, able to keep matters they see and hear about confidential and to manage competently the required tasks and responsibilities which accompany the role.
Working as a Housekeeper may mean being part of a team within a household or they may be solely in charge of the running of the accommodation of the owners. Either way, this is a position for someone who is committed to working hard, being able to manage their time and be organised and work to a schedule.
Setting out the ground rules
When you first start in your new role, it’s important that both you and the homeowners have clear guidelines set out as to your responsibilities. It’s easy for confusion to set in if you aren’t sure the levels of task you need to complete, for example any household management to organise and extra tasks you may be asked to complete on an ad hoc basis such as shopping.
Agree an initial probationary period so you and your employer can get to know each other: 2-4 weeks is a good timetable to work by. After this time, you can meet and discuss how things are working out and any issues which need to be sorted in any way. It’s best that a solution is found to small things at the outset rather than them growing as the months go by.
Keep to the rules of housekeeping etiquette and you won’t go far wrong:
- Close it if you open it
- Put it back if you move it
- Confess and apologise if you break it
- Remove shoes on entry to the home unless advised otherwise
Minimise conversation with your employer if they are at home unless they want to have a conversation with you; remember that you are there to work for them
When you start a specific cleaning task, ensure you organise your cleaning products and equipment so it’s easier to move from room to room.
The order you clean the house is either your choice or one to be agreed by the home owner. A popular order of rooms is to start with the bathroom and then move to the kitchen (classed as wet rooms) and then the living and reception rooms and bedrooms (the dry rooms). This is because the ‘wet’ rooms take longer to clean and so should be tackled first.
Working with your employer
It will take time to build up a relationship with the family you are employed by as you need to get to know each other and to recognise and respect the boundaries between you with regards to the work to be done and the levels of deference. Be clear in all your communications and always be honest. Your time-keeping must be exemplary – it’s a given attribute for all professional Housekeepers to arrive on time and keep to a set timetable so that the home remains organised and calm. If there are special jobs or requests which are made of you, discuss them so you are fully aware of the task and then complete them to the highest standards possible; this will give even more confidence in your levels of capability.
There’s every possibility that you’ll be asked to take on tasks outside your regular schedule. These may be added on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Your employer may only want basic cleaning from you in your role, or you could be asked to pick up shopping or plan and cook meals for the family. It’s important that you remain within your skillset so that you don’t find that you’re struggling – if it isn’t something you can do, then talk about this to find an alternative solution or a compromise.
Being a Housekeeper is a job of great responsibility and only suits those who are willing to respect privacy, not pass on information regarding things they have heard or seen and are there to support the family in whatever way is expected of them. It’s a position which requires discretion, excellent cleaning abilities and top planning and organisation skills so that everything runs smoothly and to a great extent that nobody even realises that you’re there. The absolute cream of the crop of those in this position keep the home pristine, the day planned and the extra tasks completed and then let the family relax in peace and privacy as they return home from a long day at work.