How to manage a home when employed as a Housekeeper5 November 2014
Why employ a Housekeeper?4 December 2014
If your life is so busy you don’t have time to keep your home as clean and tidy as you’d really like it to, or you need extra help with other jobs around the home, you would really benefit from employing a Housekeeper.
Decide what you need from a Housekeeper
The first thing to decide is whether you need a Housekeeper to be a permanent and daily part of your life; to be available to clean every day and to perhaps take on extra responsibilities such as cook meals or to go shopping for you or whether you need help perhaps once or twice a week to clean and perhaps do the ironing but don’t need them seven days a week.
This thinking through of your situation will lead you to be able to decide if you are looking for a Live-In Housekeeper or a Live-Out Housekeeper and the skills and attributes which accompany someone who works in this role.
A Live-In Housekeeper
A Live-In Housekeeper will be part of the dynamic of the household and so one of the most important elements overall will be compatibility of personalities and working relationship. Communication, trust and honesty will be key factors as you will be welcoming a stranger to live with you and so you need to employ someone who is highly recommended and has had their qualifications and experience checked out prior to them starting employment with you.
A Live-Out Housekeeper
If you don’t need someone to live with you and your family but still need some cleaning work and perhaps ad hoc jobs carrying out, a Live-Out Housekeeper is the answer. They will travel to you for an agreed number of hours per week to carry out the tasks of a Live-In Housekeeper, but with a smaller workload.
Skills, experience and qualifications
The best Housekeepers have a range of relevant qualifications as well as work experience which can be fully referenced. It doesn’t matter if they will be living in your home or visiting for a small number of hours each week, you need to have someone who knows what they are doing and that you can trust them with the tasks needed to be completed. Using a recruitment agency will mean that all of this can be checked out for you before they start so it isn’t something you need to worry about.
At the time of agreeing the terms of the post, it’s sensible to agree to a trial period. This is a time for both the employer and the Housekeeper to see if the arrangement works for both sides and if there are any issues which arise which are easily to solve. Start with a 2-4 week trial for a fair assessment of the relationship and after this, meet to talk about how things are progressing. Obviously ways of working can be discussed before this, but set a timeframe up so everyone knows where they stand.
Expectations and Boundaries
The most important personal attributes to look for in a Housekeeper are that they are honest, trustworthy, can keep information confidential and are very organised. You’ll need a clear idea of the jobs they will need to be carrying out when they start their employment with you and it would be a good induction idea to co-create a list of the cleaning tasks as this would give an understanding of your requirements and the Housekeeper can share their experience with their own input.
Boundaries of behaviour will need to be discussed at the outset such as the use of your television, stereo or computer when you aren’t at home. If you don’t want them to be used, this should be clearly indicated so there’s no future confusion.
Employing a Housekeeper frees up time for you to carry on with your busy life but to then come home and know that your home is clean and tidy and all the small jobs you can’t fit into the day have been completed for you.
A Housekeeper is an invaluable employee and finding one who is committed and focused will change the life of you and your family to such an extent that you’ll soon wonder how you ever coped before.