Large households with multiple moving parts can be tricky to coordinate and time-consuming to keep on top of. If you run a substantial household, the easiest way to ensure that nothing slips through the gaps is to compile a comprehensive household manual.
It can take time to put together a household manual, but once done, it will save you so much time and energy in the future, you will wonder how you survived without it before.
A household manual
A household manual will document the workings of your home. It will detail the daily routine of everyone who lives there and as such, it will increase the efficiency of your entire family. And if you have processes in place should unexpected crises occur, you will be well placed to tackle every issue that might arise.
Best of all, having a household manual in place when you hire new staff, even temporary staff, from a butler to a private chef, will make their onboarding far easier, as you will have everything they need to know to hand, and all the information is consistent for each new induction – nothing is left out.
One point to note, if you already have a housekeeper or butler, it might be worthwhile writing your household manual in conjunction with them, because they will be familiar with the ins and outs of how your household runs.
Laying out your household manual
How you wish to format your document is entirely up to you, you can draw one up yourself, or use our suggestions below. Sections you could find useful and therefore wish to include might be:
- Everyone’s contact details
- Everyone’s schedules – your family’s weekday and weekend schedules, staff schedules
- Daily household procedures
- Household supplies
- Dietary and medical requirements
- Security protocols
- How-tos/best practice/troubleshooting
1. Everyone’s contact details
A contact list with all of your details is essential, both for your family and your staff. Include mobile phone numbers, email numbers and next of kin details, potentially include birthdays and spouse or partner details too.
Include everyone from the doctor to the lawyer, the vet to local handymen such as plumbers or electricians that you know and trust.
If you have children in the house, make sure you have their school’s contact details, any private tutors, nanny or babysitter details as well. It might be helpful to include a list of people you trust to look after your child in an emergency, just in case.
And don’t forget to include any contracted security company details, if you use one.
2. Everyone’s schedules
Having everyone’s regular schedules in one place so that you can see, at a glance, where anyone is and what they’re supposed to be doing, will make coordinating everyone much easier and make sure that nothing is missed.
Planning schedules in advance, including weekly and monthly events and activities, means everyone knows what is coming up and what is expected of them. This section might be better in calendar form.
3. Daily household procedures
This is likely to be the most comprehensive section of your household manual as it will break every aspect of your household down into its constituent parts, detailing how they run and fit together.
You could include here a section on laundry, on cleaning, gardening, dog walking, for example. You might also have specific instructions for handling valuables, or for nanny’s with regards children’s homework.
Include checklists that need completing every day, to make sure nothing is missed.
4. Household supplies
This is where you can keep shopping lists with favoured brands, this helps with stock management and ensures cupboards never run low.
If you have silverware, arts, antiques or linens etc that you need looking after, make sure you create an inventory of them and assign someone the task of going through it regularly.
6. Dietary and medical information
Having a guide for everyone’s dietary requirements and pertinent medical information is sensible, particularly if medication is required for children, for example.
You could include everything from allergies to food preferences here. This is vital for temporary staff who may not be privy to this pertinent information.
7. Security protocols
Making sure everyone, including staff, knows how to keep your home secure is essential, not just for your security, but theirs too. Include a walkthrough guide to locking your house properly and detail key management so that none are misplaced.
Make sure this document is kept somewhere safe and that everyone knows it isn’t for public consumption. Ensure all staff know that they are accountable for your security.
8. How-tos/best practice/troubleshooting
Include in this section the solution to any potential issues that you’re aware of, including any emergency protocols that should be enacted should a situation arise. This could be anything from resetting the boiler, to your burglar alarm going off, to what to do in the event of a fire, a medical emergency or a threat to your life.
Hiring a household staff through Blues Agency
Blues Agency London has over 40 years of experience placing highly qualified and experienced private household staff in VIP and HNW households. We know what our clients need and pride ourselves on delivering a personal service in a specialist market, time and again.