Think you only need household staff if you have a large household? Think again.
You don’t have to be famous to need help with running your home. And no, hiring staff to help run your house isn’t like an episode of Downton Abbey. The truth is, the requirement for domestic staff is on the up and up because of several factors, namely, the days of the simple 9-5 pm are no more.
For most people, if you want to earn more money, you have to put more time in. So you need to get to the office earlier and leave it later. You could rethink how you work and spend more time working from home, but just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you’re able to dedicate time to running your house, cook up a delicious dinner, make sure the children have done their homework or even clean a bathroom.
Time is a precious resource, and seeing as we aren’t given an infinite amount of it, you need to be selective with how you spend yours. So free up the hours that you would otherwise spend running your household by hiring in essential household staff.
But just who or what jobs fall under the essential household staff remit?
Essential household staff
If you want your house to run as smoothly as the office, there are a few support positions that you will need to fill to ensure that operations run seamlessly.
Less of a bowing Jeeves and more of a senior household project manager, a butler is capable of providing hands-on service when required. Saying that a butler is a formal position, knowledgeable in household etiquette, formal service and fine wines. Typically responsible for the overall management of large numbers of staff, both domestically and abroad. They usually report directly to the principal of the house.
A butler is integral to long-range planning and can oversee the management of multiple properties to ensure continuity of services and provisions between locations. Usually involved in ensuring ancillary elements are in order such as stables or your golf course, the butler will also have oversight of silver, china and antiques and storage of collectables. They may also be the Personal Assistant to the household principle.
What to look for in a butler
Someone with household management is essential, business management experience is desirable. A butler should have working knowledge of etiquette and household protocol and formal training in fine food, wine and silver service. With a demonstrable dedication to ensuring the maintenance of high standards of service.
They should possess valeting skills, an eye for detail and an innate ability to understand what is required or predict what will be required. They will be a good people person with strong emotional intelligence, capable of being discreet and unobtrusive in presence, thoughtful and confidential in manner.
A private chef is responsible for purchasing all food and store cupboard essentials. They will plan menus, cook meals and present food, ensuring the smooth running of the kitchen and that all food preparation areas and utensils are kept clean and in good working order. Depending on the size of the household staff, the private chef can also be responsible for dining service, set up and clearing of table settings. Sometimes they will be required to maintain the wine cellar.
What to look for in a private chef
A private chef must have formal chef training and adequate cheffing experience to provide you with the requisite cuisine and style you require. They will be able to adapt to dietary requirements, understand wine, have demonstrable experience in social and household entertaining. They will be unflappable under pressure, have great timekeeping, and be a team player.
A cook will generally be able to provide all of the above but doesn’t usually possess formal training.
The housekeeper is responsible for the day to day running of your house. They provide a supervisory role for house cleaners and assistants, but are able to step in and carry out the tasks or functions when required themselves. In larger or more formal properties the housekeeper will report to the butler or the principal of the house.
Generally, a housekeeper has oversight of the entire house in smaller properties, but in larger properties will be in charge of household cleanliness including laundering of clothes and linens. Their duties may expand to include preparing meals for the children, running errands or guest reception.
What to look for in a housekeeper
Someone with knowledge of running a formal household is essential, with cleaning and maintenance experience. In larger properties, project management experience is desirable.
How to find domestic staff
Blues Agency London is the UK’s leading London chef agency and employment agency for cooks, chefs, butlers and waiting staff. So if you require domestic staff to help manage or work in your household, we have over 40 years supplying staff to top city firms, Royal Households and leading private schools.
We take the time to fully understand your situation in order to meet your requirements, providing your staff with the requisite skills and experience you need. We can source you, staff, for both permanent and temporary positions, at home and abroad, so get in touch and let us handle your household management burden.