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The Role of A Housekeeper

Traditionally, we all think of the Housekeeper as the one who behind the scenes is keeping everything going! They are the ones who ensure that a busy household always runs smoothly, like clockwork with everything seamlessly on time whilst simultaneously making sure that all the needs of the family and their guests are taken care of.

Whilst essentially this is still true of course, the role has evolved significantly over the years and now covers a much wider variety of skills and responsibilities that provide the employer/family with the help and support they need, designed uniquely and specifically to them. Undoubtedly we lead much busier, more demanding and much more complex lives now, so it is easy to see how the Housekeeper role has expanded to fit the clients’ needs, with the requirement for enhanced skills, added flexibility and the ability to take on many more duties.

Alongside the everyday tasks & duties one would expect a Housekeeper to perform, there may also be an additional requirement for help with the family’s children as well. In this instance, a Housekeeper/Nanny would be sought to provide the ideal solution.

Another role that has become increasingly popular is that of a Housekeeper/Cook – which has a requirement for the candidate to have experience of more than just basic cooking.

The role of a Housekeeper/Companion is also relevant today as we are all living longer and many people wish to remain independent and stay in their own home. Eden has also seen a rise in the role of a ‘Houseman’ which will be looked at in more detail later in this article.

So, what can you expect a Housekeeper to do?

Here is a snapshot of their typical duties and the different responsibilities for each type of Housekeeper:

In general and as previously mentioned, the Housekeeper will ensure that the household runs efficiently and smoothly in accordance with the homeowner’s wishes. This will include everything from overseeing/undertaking cleaning, laundry and cooking plus running errands (post office/dry cleaning). Every household is of course very different, so there will be specific duties and responsibilities that would need to be discussed at interview stage.

Housekeeper/Nanny

A Housekeeper/Nanny will be employed when the duties involve looking after a child/children as well as the house/household.

Housekeeper Cook - Perfect Clean Kitchen

So, the duties of a Nanny/Housekeeper are the same as those of a general Housekeeper but will also include:

  • Preparing snacks/cooking for the children and helping in the kitchen
  • Childcare/babysitting
  • Doing the school run/taking the children to activity clubs/parties/appointments

Housekeeper/Cook

A Housekeeper/Cook will also have the same responsibilities as a general Housekeeper but with the extra responsibility of preparing all the meals for the household. They should have good experience & knowledge of preparing meals & putting together menus and a keen interest in cooking is helpful. Meal choices will be selected after consultation with the employer, perhaps with special focus being given to serving nutritious and healthy family meals Some households could also seek a Housekeeper/Cook who has knowledge of preparing foods and menus for special /restricted diets or allergies or the employer could be seeking a more experienced cook so they can also cook for dinner parties and when the family are entertaining.

Housekeeper/Companion

A Housekeeper/Companion is a great asset to any home where an individual or an elderly couple require someone with them during the day or night to assist with everyday tasks and also provide companionship.

Some Housekeeper/Companions are employed on a full-time, live-in basis as this provides peace of mind and reassurance for help required during the night. Other options are also available such as a temporary Housekeeper/Companion (perhaps providing cover during the short-term absence of a family member or following illness/surgery) or a part-time Housekeeper/Companion (helping an elderly person maintain their independence at home).

Specific duties for this role will include:

  • Shopping for weekly essentials and running general errandsLaundry Housekeeper
  • Accompanying on regular or special appointments and outings
  • Cooking and sharing meals
  • Light domestic support such as cleaning, laundry and maybe some pet care
  • Light gardening duties
  • Participating in & helping with hobbies and interests
  • Helping with travel arrangements
  • Assisting with correspondence and paperwork

It should be noted that Housekeeper/Companions are not necessarily qualified carers or nurses and therefore not all of them will be expected to administer medication. However, should that be required, those with the right qualifications can be sourced in order to assist with all types of medication.

Similarly, if a household needs specialist nurses or carers for young children/young adults a Housekeeper/Companion can work well alongside them, giving the right all round support to the client.

A Houseman

A Houseman can be a versatile solution for many households as they will specifically ensure the general upkeep and maintenance of your home and can often fit in well working alongside other household staff.

A Houseman will have responsibility for cleaning and maintenance of the house and also some of the external features of the property (such as a swimming pool/hot tub/tennis court) and often if they are employed on a full-time basis, they can also provide additional security.

We find that many Housemen come to us from a military background (such as the Ghurkhas) which means they are hardworking, reliable, highly trained and offer a very diverse skill set.

A Houseman’s duties will depend on the home and needs of the employer, but as a guide will generally include:

  • Assisting with housekeeping, deep cleaning carpets and upholstery, polishing brass, mirrors, glass, light fixtures and chandeliers
  • Waxing/cleaning floors, cleaning and laying fireplaces, restocking wood, emptying bins
  • Changing light bulbs & fuses, checking security and alarm systems and performing minor household repairs
  • General assistance with laundry and ironing, cooking, shopping, laying/clearing tables
  • Helping with the care of children and pets
  • Maintaining gardens, mowing, watering plants
  • General maintenance of exterior walls, sills, paths, steps, cleaning windows and outdoor furniture
  • Valeting cars, driving to meetings, running errands, airport and school runs
  • Upkeep of swimming pools, saunas, gyms and hot tubs

As can be seen, there are a number of possibilities for combining the Housekeeper role with other important areas of responsibility and each of them offer clients a good deal of flexibility.

If employing a Housekeeper is of interest to you and you feel they would be a great asset to your home, please speak to the Eden Household Team on 020 7471 6000. They will provide you with advice & information about all the Housekeeping roles.d Square

January 27, 2024

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