Covid lockdown will be lifted soon, but what does that mean for your private household, which may have been without staff for the last few weeks? And what can you do now to plan for your future staffing requirements?
Maintaining social distancing and abiding by the government’s guidelines once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, is paramount to staying safe. And while you may not have a full roster of staff working at the moment, the chances are you’ll want to get your household back up to full speed as soon as possible. You can achieve this smooth transition by using the time now to plan ahead.
While lockdown will lift (eventually), life, as we knew it before, won’t return instantly. There will still be a modicum of social distancing we’ll have to adhere to. Staff will need (and want to) maintain a safe working distance from each other, so you’ll need to have a think about how you’ll handle safe working practices, manage your resources and build your household team’s morale.
What do you need?
First off, assess your levels of risk. Check whether your family falls into the categories as defined by the NHS for being high risk. Ask your household staff to carry out the same risk assessment for them and their family. You don’t want to place anyone at undue risk and jeopardise either their or your health.
Secondly, assess your needs. Do you and your family need a full roster of staff immediately? Could you rely more on delivery services or online services, for example? Or could you ask certain key staff members to cover extra roles, for the time being, to save introducing another person into the house?
Remember, as an employer, you are obliged to provide a safe place of work for your staff. It’s up to both you and them to ensure that they adhere to your health and safety policies, as well as the government guidance.
1. Managing your employees.
If you have a large number of the household staff, you’ll need to consider what measures you’ll put in place to prevent the risk of spreading or contracting coronavirus. This will be critical to maintaining the health of your staff.
Have a think about what your most pressing needs are and perhaps don’t have everyone resume their duties all at once – you could stagger their return to work. If you don’t need a full spectrum of household staff immediately, perhaps have only your essential employees like your private chef, or a butler cover the work. Or have employees work in shifts rather than a set 9-5, if you can be flexible.
Encourage all of your staff to maintain a distance from each other of at least 2 metres, observe good hygiene practices such as washing their hands frequently with soap and water, and following a rigorous cleaning schedule including wiping down all surfaces they touch regularly – the coronavirus can live on surfaces for several hours. Discourage employee gatherings i.e. eating meals together or taking a break together, if they can’t maintain a 2-metre separation.
2. Limit visitors
Think about repairs and maintenance – if it isn’t essential, consider delaying it. If you don’t have to have a workman or a visitor inside your house, don’t.
Discourage delivery people from stepping inside, and anyone who does need to enter your house or building, carry out a mandatory temperature check and don’t be shy about asking them about their recent health history, prior to letting them enter your property.
Remember, it’s not just you at risk, you’re potentially putting your employees at risk too. So err on the side of caution.
3. Think about how to boost morale
The chances are your staff will have been away from work for quite a few weeks – they might be experiencing a range of emotions from being thrilled to be getting back to it, to feeling low that some of their colleagues aren’t returning, or they may be worried about the risk of interacting with other people again.
Don’t expect too much from your employees straight off the bat. They’ll need time to adjust to their new normal – returning to work can be unsettling for everyone.
It’s important to motivate your workforce, to rebuild your team’s morale. Be open and honest with them, acknowledge any concerns and address any low spirits. And be sensitive to any new operating environments you may have implemented.
Acknowledge hard work, promote your staff’s achievements, and share your vision for the future so that everyone feels included once more.
Hire household staff through Blues Agency
If you’re looking to hire household staff, get in touch with Blues Agency. Blues Agency London is the leading hospitality and chef agency with over 40 years’ experience recruiting the most highly qualified and experienced household staff.