My Favourite Housekeeper Just Quit!

by Kathy Green

One of the nightmares of a busy family is finding excellent help and then when you are completely dependent on their support, having them quit.

Our first reaction is ofter anger, "how dare they!" Then a sense of loss sets in and hopefully some reflection as to why they left. Although we do not like to accept responsibility, often there are things that we could have done or not done that could have avoided the situation.   

Here are some of the top pet peeves of house keepers that may have caused your situation. And remember, it is not one bad day on the part of the employer that will push an employee to quit, but usually repeated thoughtless behaviour over time.

  • The house is a disorganized mess making it very hard to clean. Pick up toys, piles of papers, and clutter from surfaces so that they can actually get to them.
  • Repeatedly not having the cleaning equipment that is needed is very inconsiderate. For example, forgetting to get a mop to wash the floors, necessitating the house keeper to wash the floor on their hands and knees with a cloth is actually demeaning.
  • Do not try to save money by asking the impossible of your house keeper, for example cleaning a five-bedroom house in two hours.  Enough time must be given to clean everything properly.
  • Have a clear understanding of who will be suppling the cleaning products and what type. These are usually supplied by the home owner, and not having them ready for use is very frustrating for the person trying to clean your house.
  • When work has to be re-done it can be very annoying. Sometimes a freshly washed floor is dirtied immediately by kids, dogs or owners necessitating a re-do. It happens occasionally by mistake and this is no problem. But if it happens often it shows disregard for the person cleaning.
  • A lack of clear direction can be the cause of bad feelings. The people who are helping you often appreciate a list of the things you would like them to do, as well as giving verbal instructions, to ensure nothing is forgotten.
  • Another pet peeve of house keepers seems counter intuitive, but the home owner actually cleans his house before the employee arrives! It just makes the job harder, because they had to try to figure out what was clean and what was dirty.
  • Sometimes the job is just too overwhelming. Leaving a filthy home, one in which you do nothing between the visits of your house keeper, is just too much. No one likes to tackle a mess like that week after week. 
  • Probably one of the most common reasons for someone leaving your employment is a lack of appreciation on your part coupled with a lack of kindness. Maybe because of haste, or just a lack of thoughtfulness, you never take a moment to engage in personal conversation, express thanks, or even leave a small token of appreciation.

The key to being a good employer is to treat your employees with the respect they deserve. There is no hierarchy here. These are intelligent hardworking people providing a service that you need and should appreciate. If you take the time to be mindful of this, making sure that your provide what they need, have reasonable expectations and recognize a job well done, your will enjoy having them in your employ for years to come.