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helper's working hours

  1. #1
    lollipops is offline Registered User
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    helper's working hours

    Hi, is there any sort of "standard" working hours for helpers?

    Mine starts the day around 7.30-8am, and goes to her room by 9-9.30pm. We're usually out during the day (husband at work, I'm out with baby) so she doesn't need to cook for us nor take care of baby. Her duties (household cleaning) doesn't take all day so she has plenty of time during the day to spare - and I've caught her taking naps before, which is fine apart from the fact that she complained that she feels her current work day is too long & that she used to be able to go to her room by 7.30-8pm in her last job.

    Hence my dilemma. I want her to help out with grocery shopping and also more with baby-minding (including feeding, bathing etc) which I'm doing right now and which I've told her about before. But given that she's already unhappy with her current workload, and that I know she had no intention of coming to HK in the first place (just couldn't get a visa for somewhere else), what should I do? The other night she said goodnight to me and went to bed while I was feeding baby dinner (she usually does the dishes and cleans up) - I didn't think and just reacted by saying "huh?", which she ignored and walked past me anyway. What should I have done at the time? And what should I do now, going forward?

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    it sounds like you really need to consider what work there is to do.
    right now, you have her putting in 12-14 hour days (i am assuming 6 days/week). that is a lot of work time, no matter what the job.

    when our current helper started with us, i made a list of everything that i expected to be done and how often. for example, we have 4 bathrooms in our house. i told her that one of them was never used, so it would only need a going over once/week. but the one in the master suite is used daily by 4 people as is the "guest bathroom" that she uses, so those would need more frequent and thorough cleaning. the 4th bathroom, our male helper cleans as only he uses it.

    i wrote down everything that i considered would "clean" each room. ie) ceiling fans, air cons, curtains, floors, dusting, washing the floors, moving furniture to clean under/behind etc.

    then i gave her the list and asked her to go around the house and come up with a schedule for herself as to what she would do and when.

    the two of us then went over it together and made adjustments to it. i don't expect each of our bathrooms to be cleaned top to bottom every day. i expect a very thorough cleaning once/week and then a "going over" every day. (bathtub once/week, but mirror everyday---that type of thing).

    our helper is up early with our kids (both early risers) around 6:30am. but the kids leave for school with daddy at 7:30am. so from 7:30am-5pm, there are no kids around. i told her from the very beginning, that if the work was done, she could do whatever she wanted, watch tv, sleep, play on her computer.. whatever. we have an early dinner around 5:30pm and the kids go to bed at 7:30pm (hubby and i usually put them to bed), so, in essence, our helper finishes around 6:30pm after doing the dishes. it is still a 12 hour day, but she really does relax in the middle of the day. i'm home 3 days/week and she is ok going for a nap when i am at home, which i think is great. also, she finishes at 6:30pm, so while she may be putting in close to the same hours as your helper, she still has personal time at the end of the day. i think what your helper is missing is hte personal time at the end of the day. if she is finishing at 9-9:30pm, that doesn't giver her much time to relax in the evening.

    so far, our helper is doing a great job and meeting my expectations. i think you need to figure out exactly what your expectations are and then decide if you can compromise if yours and hers don't match.
    lollipops and southside852 like this.

  3. #3
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
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    Hi, I don't think that's a long work day. Most helpers are up by 6:30-7am, and are done by 8:00-9pm. With a couple of hrs during the day to relax.


    Make up a schedule with her, with a list of daily, weekly monthly tasks. If she doesn't agree to the schedule, then I would look for another helper.
    lollipops and lesliefu like this.
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  4. #4
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    i must say that i think a 14 hour work day once in a while may be ok, but 6 days/week would be exhausting for anyone. but i don't think that the problem is the length of the day, rather that it is the fact that the finish time is so late. it eliminates or at the very least greatly reduces any "me" time that she might have.

    is there a reason why she needs to work so late? ie) if she is waiting for the dinner dishes so she can wash them... could she do them the next morning instead?

  5. #5
    lollipops is offline Registered User
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    thanks for the replies! We don't have a definite schedule, I've told her basically what needs to be done/how often and she decides when to do the chores ,but I think it'd be better to really sit down with her and go through the details together

    It seems like 14hr/6days, but actually she doesn't work nonstop during those hours. Apart from her meals (obviously), she has plenty of time to rest in the afternoon, around 3-6pm she is pretty much always free, unless I leave baby at home and she needs to keep an eye on him. We don't have a very big house and I don't require her to clean top to bottom everyday so she usually finishes the cleaning before lunchtime.

    I am ok with her finishing the day by 9/9.30pm, and it's only if we're home for dinner that she may need to work til that time. Otherwise there's not much to do in the evening anyway.

    So it's the in-betweens that I need to work out now - she's only doing basic cleaning and I need her to do grocery shopping plus child-minding, which I thought would be quite 'normal' for helpers to do yet she seems to only want to be responsible for one (ie, either household chores or taking care of the baby, but not both) ... ?

    Let me figure out the schedule further and perhaps then it'll be clear whether there's room for the extra work.

  6. #6
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    yes, perhaps it is just a schedule that she needs.

    it is not onerous to ask her to watch your baby and go to the market, too.

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