Preparing for Arrival
Once your helper arrives, you're going to have to make necessary adjustments as you live with a new person in your home.
Write your helper a simple job description. If you don't have a written job description, you have NO basis for doing a job performance evaluation. Here are 5 elements of a good job description:
Tell your helper briefly why you hired her. You hired her to make your life better by:
- removing the burden of housework, laundry and cooking from your shoulders so that you can devote more time to your kids, friends, work, etc.
- enabling you to entertain guests more frequently
- someone to look after the home so you can travel, etc.
Explain what your priorities for her are:
- entertaining etc.
List the major tasks you expect her to do as part of her work.
- housework: room by room cleaning list
- marketing: including record keeping,
- cooking: who makes the menus, recipes, etc
- laundry: machine, handwash, etc.
- auto care
- pet care
Write a weekly schedule, including morning, afternoon and evening activities.
Your helper needs to receive specific feedback about what she is doing well and what you'd like improved. Your expectations need to be clear and specific. Positive feedback is also a great motivator.
- "If my children are clean, fed, out the door on time, safe and generally happy - that is winning for me."
- "If my house is clean and tidy (not spotless) and meals are nutritious and reasonably tasty, that is a win for me."
- "If my clothes are clean, ironed and where they are supposed to be when I need them - that is a win for me."
Taking time to write a simple job description will help both you and your helper to get off to a good start.
Your helper needs a written timetable to help her learn her job and adjust to your family. Below is a general timetable. Please adapt and prepare your own timetable. Keep in mind that your helper needs time everyday for her personal needs: bathing, time to check her Facebook, talk to her kids, etc. She also needs a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
- Wake up: 06:30
- On Duty: 07:00
- Off Duty : 21:30
- Breakfast: 06:45
- Lunch time: 12:30
- Tea break: 15:45
- Family dinner: 19:30
- Wash the clothes by washing machine
- Prepare breakfast
- Hang the clothes
- Go to the market
- Prepare lunch, wash all dishes & utensils after lunch
- Sweep & wipe the floors with wet towels(both sitting room & bedrooms)
- Tidy up kids bedroom
- General dusting sitting room & kids’ bedroom
- Clean the toilet, wash basin
- Do weekly routine work
- Tidy up master room when sir wake up
- Collect clothes if they are dry enough, fold them, iron clothes(all school uniforms, sir’s shirts must be ironed properly)
- Prepare dinner, wash all dishes, utensils after dinner
- Clean up the kitchen
- Clean the bath tub & toilet after your bath
Weekly Routine Work
- Monday: clean all doors & gate, outside balcony
- Tuesday: clean all windows
- Wednesday: clean & wash all bed sheet, pillow cover for the whole family
- Thursday: clean all electric fans & exhaust fans
- Friday: clean air conditioning filter
- Saturday: Nail cutting for kids’ fingers, feet
- Sunday: Day Off
+ Family Briefing
Families are complicated. Before your helper arrives, sit down with your family and prepare them for the arrival of your helper. Here are some issues to think through:
- Who will the helper report to?
- What is the role of grandparents when you are at work?
- What should grandparents do if they are having trouble communicating with the helper?
- If you have Elementary or Secondary age children, how should they address the helper? How should they treat her?
If your elder parent (grandma or grandpa)...
- doesn't understand English
- is impatient and quick to anger
- is strict in how things MUST be done
- Involve them in the interview and selection process
- Make sure they attend Arrow's "Employer Orientation" class
If you don't include them in the interview AND have them attend the EO class, your helper will have a high probability of resigning and you will have wasted a lot of money.
If your elder parents are kind and easy-going then it is not essential that they attend, but they will gain a lot from the orientation and your adjustment to your new helper will go more smoothly.
+ Sleeping Arrangements
Where will your helper sleep? Where will she store her belongings?
Sharing a Room and Bedtimes
If she is sharing a room with a child or elder parent, what time do they normally go to bed? When will your helper be able to go to bed?
If sharing a room with a child, does the child have a set bedtime, or a bedtime routine? Some parents allow their children to stay up late and the helper can't go to bed until the child does. This will cause your helper to become exhausted and she will probably resign.
If she wants some privacy to talk to her family back in the Philippines what should she do?
By Hong Kong law, employers are required to purchase Employer's Liability Insurance. Most companies provide an insurance product that includes medical and other benefits specially designed for families with domestic helpers.
When Arrow books your air ticket for your helper, we will remind you to purchase insurance for her. The coverage should start on the day she arrives in Hong Kong.
The best plans cost less than $1300 for 2 years, so we recommend purchasing a good product and studying the benefits.
Below are trusted Insurance Providers:
- Manulife, Gabriel Shum Siu-Kuen
- Groveland Insurance Brokers, Brandon Hui
- Prudential Insurance, Simon Cheung
You don't need a big welcome for your helper, but do plan to welcome her. She has left her family and culture to come and serve you. She is worried that you won't like her or accept her. A warm welcome will do a lot to alleviate her fears.
A simple family dinner or a small welcome basket with some sample hotel size shampoos, soaps, washcloths, etc.will make her feel wanted and accepted.
+ Dealing with Emotional Baggage
In our training in the Philippines we have a session called "What's in your luggage?" The goal of this session is to bring to the surface the past hurts and experiences of applicants. It is important to deal with these issues, otherwise the helper will likely quit or end up being terminated.
Employers also have a lot of emotional baggage that they bring into the new relationship. If your last helper stole from you, you may lack trust. You might have security cameras, or every time you leave the house you insist the helper leave too. You might not give her a key to the home, or ask her to sleep with her door open. This kind of fear and lack of trust will push your helper to leave.
Some employers have emotional baggage from their own parents. If they were constantly berated and criticized at home, they may treat their helper the same way. "Are you stupid?" "You're a liar!" "Is this the way you do your job?!" Most helpers will quit if their employer constantly accuses and criticizes them.
The single most important thing you can do to find and keep a good helper is to take a hard look at your own emotions. Feel the pain from past hurts and betrayals. Extend forgiveness and move on. If you bring that into your new relationship, you will find yourself in a vicious cycle of constantly trying to find a new helper and spending $1000s of dollars each time. It’s better to deal with your own issues first, so that you can enjoy having someone to help and support you in your home.