Your home has not felt the same since your domestic helper has been working for you. What are the common causes and what can you do about to improve both your own privacy and your domestic helper’s one?
Maintaining privacy with a live-in domestic helper is not easy. When your domestic helper first started working for you, the issue of privacy may not have been so pronounced. But over time, you may start to feel less and less comfortable having her around all the time. This can even lead to you considering to not have a domestic helper at all despite all the benefits she brings your household and family.
Feelings of privacy invasion
The concept of privacy is personal and subjective. You may sense an invasion of privacy, but your children or partner may not. It is important to note that your domestic helper may very well feel the same way: both that she has little privacy and that she is invading yours simply by doing her job properly.
Situation 1: You may, for example, be watching TV with your partner, when your domestic helper requests to join as it is her free time.
Situation 2: You want to spend the Saturday with your children, but your domestic helper insists on also accompanying them to the playground and giving them lunch. As the employer, you may appreciate her for her dedication, but as a parent you might want some alone time with your kids.
Situation 3: Your apartment is so small that, despite your domestic helper having her own room, you feel she is always in the same space as you are. Your kitchen and living room may be open space so when your domestic helper is doing the dishes, she might be disturbing everyone else.
Yes, with staff at home, a certain level of privacy will always be lost. However, with a few simple tricks and hacks, you can minimise this and feel at ease in your home again.
1) Create a schedule: Have you given your domestic helper a detailed schedule with times when she is needed and when she can enjoy her time off? For some employers and domestic helpers this can greatly help in setting boundaries. For example, on Saturday morning, you can give her time off so that you can have breakfast alone with your children. Or let her finish her workday after she has finished cooking at 6 or 7 pm so that you can have the kitchen and living room to yourself.
2) Get her a TV, a small laptop or an iPad: Your domestic helper may well be bored when she goes to her room if she has no form of entertainment. Some employers provide their domestic helpers with a TV, DVD player and even laptops. Your domestic helper will very likely want to contact her family or friends, so make sure she has access to your wifi!
3) Cultivate mutual respect for each other’s private space: Both you and your domestic helper should respect each other’s free time and private space. Allow her to enjoy her time off without imposing, and in turn, she should allow you to enjoy alone time with your family.
4) Give her something to do outside: Sometimes you may want the apartment completely for yourself. In this case you could ask her to run an errand or take the children to the playground.
5) Be clear: You may just be lucky and have the most helpful domestic worker in the world. In this case, you will have to tell her clearly when you don’t need her assistance with something. The rule of the thumb is to be honest, but kind.
Remember: your domestic helper will also be keen on her own privacy. Respect this and don’t barge into her room without knocking and approval first. If you give her space, she will also give you yours in return knowing how important it is for you.