Hiring a maid has long been a common practice in Singapore. However, the ever-increasing amount of time that locals spend at work has made it difficult for more locals to take care of their homes. Many Singaporeans find that between working, sleeping, and spending time with their families, they have almost no time left to do even basic household chores.
As Singaporeans grow ever busier, more families than ever are considering hiring a maid to help keep their homes in order. Today, the vast majority of maids and other domestic helpers are foreign, mostly from surrounding Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, and Myanmar. Filipino and Indonesian maids, in particular, are much sought after by Singaporean families due to their close cultural fit with most local households.
However, it takes more than cultural compatibility to build a good working relationship with your maid. It involves being hands-on in their training as well. While maids sourced from agencies will have advanced housekeeping skills, chances are that you will want some things done in a certain way. Given this, training your new maid properly is essential for a smooth relationship and ensuring that she can meet your expectations. Here are some tips on how to train your new maid for a positive working relationship:
As mentioned earlier, most maids in Singapore come from foreign countries. While many of them are highly educated, quite a few of them also come from disadvantaged backgrounds and were unfortunately denied a quality education as a result. Most will also come from their home country’s working class, which may add yet another cultural divide, particularly if you have a white-collar job. Additionally, they may have a different level of proficiency in your preferred language. It’s important to account for all of these factors so that you can communicate and understand her needs and potential limitations.
A lot of maid-employer relationships don’t work out because the employers failed to communicate what it is they want the maid to do. While most helpers in Singapore do have some prior training and experience, every household is different and employers need to be able to show their maids how they want things done. In addition, employers should set clear expectations for their new maid job scope and their working hours.
Most maids in Singapore will have some advanced housekeeping skills. Almost all of them will know how to clean your home and do the laundry. However, it can’t be helped that we’d like some things done in a certain way.
For example, if you want your new maid to prepare Singaporean dishes, you’ll probably need to teach her how to make them. Additionally, if she has to use cleaning equipment, chemicals, and appliances you’ll have to closely supervise her for the first few times she uses them to ensure safety and efficiency. By being proactive in teaching her your preferences and the ins and outs of your home, you can guarantee a better experience for everyone involved.
Many Singaporeans hire maids specifically to help with childcare. If your new maid is responsible for taking care of your children, you have to ensure that they have, at the very least, basic childcare skills. In addition, you’ll want to teach them the specifics of the task, such as feeding, bathing, and supervising your children.
Again, it’s important to set expectations. Before you let them supervise your children, provide your maid with clear guidelines on discipline, safety, and hygiene to ensure that your children are properly cared for.
Communication is key to all successful relationships. These days, most maids in Singapore will have some grasp of English. However, this is not a guarantee by any means, particularly if they come from a country where English is not widely used.
If you like how your maid works but you have a tough time communicating with her, consider teaching her important bits of your preferred language or paying for language lessons. If possible, use widely available online dictionaries and translation tools to learn a bit of her language as well. This process can also be a great time to get to know your maid a bit better, helping lead to a positive relationship.
Providing regular feedback on your maid’s performance can help her improve her skills. However, you should be mindful to include positive feedback in addition to critiques of her work, as this is important for morale and also indicates to her that she is doing certain tasks to your satisfaction.
If your maid is new to Singapore, it’s your responsibility to provide her with support and resources to help her adjust to her new environment. This will help ease some of the anxieties of being away from home, and it may also help her focus on her duties. Be sure to provide a list of emergency contacts, and teach her how to use local transportation. If you want to work with her for a long time, you should also consider paying for language classes and vocational training.
Training your new maid helps set the foundation for a long and productive working relationship. Taking your maid’s background into consideration, being specific in your expectations, and teaching her how to perform housekeeping and childcare tasks the way you need them are just a few of the important things you have to consider. While there’s always the possibility that the maid you get won’t be a good fit, keeping these tips in mind will help increase the chances of a happy and harmonious household.
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