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Is hiring a domestic couple the right choice for my family?

Often times a family will find themselves in need of household help that requires duties to be performed that are beyond the scope of what a single housekeeper can offer. If hiring a couple is something that you

and your family have been considering, here are a few of the benefits that come along with employing two people to care for your home.

When you hire a couple, you get the benefit of their combined skills. They will become a professional team that works harmoniously together to ensure the smooth running of your household. In most cases, the couple will live on the property. Often they are husband and wife with years of domestic experience. Their children have grown and they are looking to spend the second part of their lives working together. This means that you will not be a stepping stone in their careers, but will have their complete devotion to your family for the long haul.

In most cases, the woman performs the typical housekeeping duties such as cleaning, cooking, laundry and ironing, and the man takes on the tasks of property maintenance, handyman, chauffer, and butler. Additionally, they will be able to join forces whenever necessary to help with added responsibilities such as shopping, stocking, organizing, party planning and serving.

A domestic couple is an excellent choice for larger homes, estates and vacation homes. They can work in the primary residence, secondary residence, or both. They will be dedicated solely to you and your family and can take on any and all responsibilities required to keep the household and property well-run and properly maintained.

The Employer/Housekeeper Relationship

Whether you have a full time or part-time housekeeper, some simple guidelines can help you get the most out of the person who is caring for your home.

Discussing expectations when you initially hire someone is the easiest way to pave the road for a smooth employer/employee relationship. However, even if someone has been working for you for many years, it is never too late to have a conversation with your employee.

Being open and upfront with topics such as job description, vacation time, and rules inside the home can help alleviate confusion and frustration.

It is important to decide what you hope your housekeeper will accomplish in the hours they spend caring for your home. Be clear about what you want to be completed each week and understand that your vision needs to be realistic for the number of hours they work for you. If you only have someone coming in once or twice a week for a limited amount of time, getting a deep clean throughout the house can be challenging if they need to spend the first few hours searching for the dirt underneath the clutter. A quick pickup of items before they arrive will allow easier access to the floors and countertops so they may be properly scrubbed, dusted and vacuumed.

To remove guesswork on both sides, come up with a list of the days off your employee will be given. Which holidays do they get, will they have a set amount of paid sick or snow days, or do you expect them to make up the work they have missed? Do you want your housekeeper to take their vacation time when you are away, or would you like them to come to work and do special projects while the house is empty so they have extra time and space to take everything out of the cabinets or reorganize messy closets? Remember to give your employee as much notice as possible about when they should take their vacation so they can also plan for their much earned time off.

In today’s world, it seems like many of us are on our phones more often than we are not. You have to decide what policy you want to implement in your home. Many families choose not to allow any electronics during work hours. This is perfectly acceptable, but should be discussed during the interview process or if they are already working for you, take a moment to sit down and explain what is expected in your household. You may want to consider allowing phone time during lunch breaks if it won’t disturb you. Again, each situation is different; you just need to clearly relay the guidelines you wish to be followed. On a personal note, in addition to having a housekeeper I also employ a laundress. One day I went downstairs into the laundry room and had a moment of clarity. I realized that the lady who does my laundry was standing in silence in a small room for hours on end folding, washing, and ironing our clothes. It occurred to me that there was no reason why she could not have music playing or talk on her phone while she was working, so long as both of her hands were free to properly do their job and I couldn’t hear anything from upstairs. Now, every once in a while when I walk by the laundry room, I see her happily singing or swaying to the music. This small bit of daily entertainment has made her a better worker and a happier employee.

I think it is important to understand that we are all human. We all have good days and bad days. Not every day is going to be perfect, but if your employee knows what is expected of them and you treat them with kindness and respect they will always try to do their best for you. Open communication is the key to a positive employer/employee relationship.