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Ask Andreas: Why Silencing your Helper is a Bad Idea

ExpertsPost Category - ExpertsExpertsFamily LifePost Category - Family LifeFamily Life - Post Category - Domestic HelpersDomestic Helpers


Amazingly, there are many employers out there that forbid their helpers from speaking with anyone other than the employers themselves. There are even employers who don’t let their two helpers talk to each other while working together in the same apartment. Why is this? Are they afraid of the helpers comparing notes about their employers? Or do they think a little chat while chopping tomatoes might distract them from doing a good job?

Just like in any workplace – be it a household or an office – employees like to be trusted and listened to when they have ideas, both good and bad. I often find that the more people I speak to, the greater the probability that I will find the solution to a problem. By discussing issues with your helper and by letting her share her ideas with you and others, chances are that you’ll find someone that has been in a similar situation before. It can be something as simple as finding a good recipe for tonight’s dinner, or something more complex like how to handle a child whose friends have been mean to him at school.

If your helper is not a good worker, no amount of restrictions on conversation will improve her performance. Such a person will always find a way to slack off. The way to encourage the less-than-stellar worker is to encourage initiative and to motivate, counting on her to respond by trying to exceed your expectations.

As human beings, we are dependent on social interaction. We need that little chat, that little greeting, that feeling that we are connected to the people around us. If we don’t have it, we become unhappy, and our work performance suffers.

Read more from Andreas by picking up a copy of his indispensible guide, Hiring and Managing Domestic Help right here!


Rosboch Family 599wideAndreas Rosboch was born and raised in Sweden by an Italian father and a Swedish mother. He has been an expat for more than ten years and plans to keep it that way. He has spent most of his career in the information technology field, handling everything from brand management to customer support. He is the author of one of our most-recommended books Hiring & Managing Domestic Help – an absolute must-have for Singapore mamas (psst – you can buy it here). He lives in Hong Kong with his wife, two children and dog.

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