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Domestic Staff Etiquette(2)

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By Janet Adetu

Domestic Staff Etiquette Strategies….continued

Last week I started with my strategies that I believe will help you overcome any domestic staff palava you may be experiencing. As I mentioned I have had two of my staff for over 17years still working diligently. I have always been asked to share my secret. Well hope you read the first few strategies in part 1. Let me continue with more strategies enjoy your read.

Etiquette for Training Domestic Staff

Lay Down Guided Rules

Try to avoid any form of open door policy or guide your open door with huge caution. It is very important to state exactly what you want and how you want it. My cook came with 10years experience, so she said at the time of interviewing her. This did not in any way deter me from telling her inspite of her years of experience how I want certain things prepared. The kitchen is a woman’s haven. It should be run your way only. You will allow for self-initiative and expression of thought but this must be properly guided. Your staff should be able to follow suite, if not my rule is “shape up or ship out”.

Health & Hygiene

Personally I do not subscribe to domestic staff wearing anything they want, I am an advocate of uniforms where possible. I try to avoid anything that can sabotage a good image that may also curtail all forms of possible bad image. Uniforms also promote good hygiene, neatness and good presentation, with this there will be no need to scold and frown at unacceptable wear. However it is important today to spell out what you will accept at the onset. Be clear from top to toe to include foot wear, hair and daily grooming routine. Where you believe strong body odour is a challenge do not overlook it, address it immediately. Remember not everybody has the privilege of exposure, you can be of benefit by assisting in the purchase of toiletries where necessary.

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Some people I understand prefer that their domestic staff eat whatever they eat and that is perfectly fine. On the other hand others would prefer to give a stipend as allowance for food. The staff are at liberty to bring what they desire at their own discretion. It is not out of place to give remaining food to domestic staff but avoid making this a practise and a meal ticket. If your domestic staff are foreigners encourage them to eat local food and provide their own local dish too. Let me emphasise here though that it is not compulsory you provide meals for all domestic staff. This depends on position, ranking and your personal policy.

Day Off

I personally cherish my home environs, I like to have that opportunity to go around my home and see what is going on. A day off for my staff once a week is mandatory. I allow my staff to sort out their own personal life and home, time off for themselves too. Incidentally, I learnt that many years ago living abroad that it is part of the labour laws and industry standard to do so. Everyone needs time to relax or this can be quite detrimental to health.

Male Staff

This is a very sensitive place to be, when it comes to gender, some people have a particular preference towards one gender. I would say that for me you need to look at a few things first.

  1. Do you have children at home?
  2. What are the ages of your kids at home?

Iii. What is the gender of your kids at home?

Do not put too much trust on anyone especially your domestic staff, have an extra pair of eyes and eyes solidly on the ground.


Many times you may appear desperate for aid and assistance at home, so much so you could settle for anyone, most especially when it comes from a person you know or through high recommendation. This is where double caution must take place. Inspite of any recommendation please take time to try this person out first; see if you are satisfied yourself. Again this is the time to say, do not hire the person you cannot fire, there are no sentiments where this exercise is concerned.

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Impact Lives of Staff

Yes, inspite of the fact that your domestic staff are there to serve you and make life easier for you, I believe you have an obligation it does not matter how small, it is good to reward  when necessary, scold where required and teach them new things. The act of buying and giving is not out of place but this is at your own discretion. It is also not uncommon to sponsor the education of your wards child or children. Ultimately do what place your conscience in the right place, again this not compulsory or required, it is your personal decision based on your capacity. One good deed deserves another.

Wishing you all the best!

Please share your experience with me I am keen to listen to you

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