In this guest blog by Lucy Challenger founder of Polo and Tweed, we learn about the different roles staff can play in a domestic household.
The domestic staffing industry is a busy one! Now families, large estates and properties around the world, have the benefit of choice - a way to ensure that the property and its inhabitants are cared for, to the highest degree. From professional working families just needing an extra pair of hands, through to large estates needing multi-layered staffing solutions. So, what are the different types of staff required in a household?
Many properties and families will look to have a part time or full-time housekeeper. Not to be confused with a cleaner, a housekeeper is someone whom will care for the property to the highest degree. They may also be happy to help in other areas including cooking, shopping, pet care and even light childcare.
For any family with children (from babies through to older children), a nanny is a vital part of family life. A nanny can work part time hours, or full-time hours depending on the needs of the job. This person becomes an integral member of family life, helping care for, and stimulate the children in their care. It allows the family members flexibility around their own work and personal diaries, and complete peace of mind that the children are being well cared for.
Nanny/Housekeeper is a great combination role, for a family (whose children are perhaps older) and require support for their children and home. The individual will typically care for the house when the children are at school. Depending on the needs of the family they can work part time hours, or full-time hours. A very popular choice, allowing families to have complete support with their children, pets and home.
The Domestic Couple
Hiring a Domestic Couple is a wonderful option, which is popular in large properties, both in London and in the home counties, this is a role where two people (not always husband and wife, sisters, brothers, or same sex couples), perform a dual role together in a household. Here the duties can split between the house and garden. For example, caring for the gardens, driving, cooking, housekeeping, pet care, childcare and security for when the property is empty.
For properties, families and individuals needing more support in the kitchen, a Chef is a perfect option. A professional with food, they can cook exactly what is needed - be it specific dietary requirements, calorie-controlled diets, or cater for high end dinner parties - whatever you need. A Chef can be employed full time or part time, dependent on the level of support required.
The Personal Assistant
Busy individuals or families may choose to engage a personal assistant who can support the household with all admin, organisation and paperwork. They can run errands and provide a high level of support for the household day to day activities. They can also give support in both personal and business admin tasks if required. A domestic personal assistant can work part time or full time and be based remotely or work in the property itself if required.
A Chauffeur for individuals who need greater support in driving - both for personal and business reasons, is an invaluable member of the household staff. They can provide round the clock driving support, ensuring that any business meeting, airport run, or school drop off is never missed.
The Maternity Nurse
Families who are expecting a new family member, my choose to engage a maternity nurse, a professional baby specialist who comes into the family and supports the newborn. This can be 24 hours a day, or just daytime or solely overnight. Typically, the maternity nurse will stay with the family for 2 weeks or up to 6 months, and then handover to a maternity nanny or nanny who takes over from them when they leave. The maternity nurse gets the baby into a great routine and supports the family with all the emotional journey newborn babies might bring!
For vulnerable adults, either the elderly or with disabilities, a carer is a wonderful choice rather than using commercial care homes. This causes less distress for the individual being cared for, as they don’t have to leave their own home, and they can be looked after in their own space. From housekeeping, errands, companionship, cooking and specific medical support, the carer, can be part time, full time, live in or live out - depending on what the individual(s) need.
The House Manager
This is suited to properties who have more than one member of staff, as the house manager will manage other staff, whilst performing their own duties within the property. They will get fully involved in the running of the household, and step in to assist should other staff members be absent from the property. They will be flexible to step into other roles, such as PA, or even Butler duties should the need arise! Ensuring the smooth running of the home.
The Estate Manager
Is similar to a house manager but will be more experienced at running larger estates and properties. They may also have additional skills such as accounting or bookkeeping and will be highly skilled in admin and organisational aspects including schedules and rotas. An estate manager will be in charge of large estates and palaces, or multi-property residences portfolios.
A traditional role in the household, the modern butler has evolved to be all encompassing. Depending on if the household is formal or informal, the Butler will be the head of the household staff, undertaking service directly to the principals of the properties. No longer limited to food and table service, the modern Butler is expected to step into any aspect of the household, providing the highest level of care for the property, the principals and its visitors
The Lady’s Maid
A lady's maid is a female version of the Butler, made famous by the British royal family - the Queen for example has many lady’s maids in her employ? They will also be particularly favored by Middle Eastern families, whose households are split by gender. Like the butler, the lady’s maid will give specific attention to the female principal of the property and encompass many household duties as part of their daily routines.
Often known as a gentleman's gentleman, this is a role similar to the Butler, but focused more around the wardrobe, dressing and clothing care for a distinguished gentleman. Again, found in the Royal Household, this traditional role has evolved in recent years, and many high net worth individuals, or families involved in fashion, or travel will look to employ a valet.
How to recruit household staff?
There are many ways you can recruit household staff. You can self-recruit, use your own network, or work with a professional agency. Agencies like Polo & Tweed work with clients around the world, sourcing and placing specific domestic staff in positions which match the client’s needs. Take your time to find a good agency, explain what you are looking for, and find your perfect household staff!