There are millions of people who wake up everyday and always have to give their brains a pep talk on why they need to show up in their offices that day. Human Resources departments in offices always try to look out for different ways to advocate and ensure enthusiasm is always high within the work environment such that people can always look forward to the next working day.
People who are in routinous jobs more often than not find themselves in this deflated position. A secretary, cleaner and security man, may fall into this category. Housekeeping also ticks all the boxes of a routinous job, There is nothing new to look forward to on the job of a housekeeper. All the chores to be done are already known. Your maid can probably recite in one minute, everything she does from morning till night according to order. Housekeeping activities are indoors most of the time, causing minimal interactions.
Lack of enthusiasm on the job will cause tiredness and boredom. Your maid is just tired for no reason in particular. You may have found yourself asking questions like “What have you done today that you are tired?”. “What do you want that I have not done?” Her tiredness isn’t necessarily physical, but mental. She just cannot bring herself to do the next chore. Boredom on its part, will lead to idleness. And when your maid’s mind is idle, she is prone to giving in to other things that most likely would not sit well with you. She will begin to seek adventure at all costs or create the adventure for herself. For example, trying on your clothes, going out or staying out late without informing you, lying e.t.c.
Though you may be tempted to get angry and take actions that haven’t been well thought out on her, what would work is to find a way to get her occupied, increase her enthusiasm for the job and give her something to look forward to every other day. The best of us once in a while need some time to refresh and get re-energized for the work that we do.
So, how do we cultivate enthusiasm in our maids? I identify some simple and easy-to-do steps below.
- EMBRACE HER PERSONALITY
Some of us might we aware of the four personality types that exist; Sanguine, Melancholy, Choleric and Phlegmatic. I am not going to get into the details of each personality, but what I want to point out is that we often forget that our maids are individuals with fully formed personalities. As individuals, we see, approach and accomplish tasks based on our personalities. While a melancholy may want to follow the steps outlined in a manual, a sanguine would want to start first then try to figure out the steps along the way. At the end of the day, they both would get the job done, plying different routes. Bringing it down to our maids, when there is a task to be accomplished in your home, your maid may not just understand the way you insist on it being done. She might try, but she ends up being slow, tired and exhausted from trying to figure it out. She would always dread doing that particular chore because you have insisted on a certain way it should be done. Make it a practice to ask for if she can figure out a way to do that thing she finds difficult. It would make think and increase her confidence and enthusiasm especially when she is able to get the result you desired her own way.
- EXPRESS THAT YOU VALUE HER OPINION/CONTRIBUTIONS
We all like to stay where we are valued. If she is truly adding value, don’t take it for granted. Valuing her has nothing to do with treating her like your daughter or sister, or by just saying “Feel comfortable”. It comes by saying “I noticed you did this. Good job”. or by saying “You have really improved in this area”. It comes by saying “My friends speak so well of you. They say you are very neat and respectful”. What about the old-fashioned but very relevant “Thank you”? How many times has a visitor complimented you on how tidy and well-arranged your home is, but you never considered passing across the message/praise to your maid. A maid that is valued and is aware that she is will always look for ways to go the extra mile. You might value your maid, but if it is not expressed, it is as good as though you don’t.
- TEACH AND ENCOURAGE A SKILL
Many of us are cautious when it comes to allowing our maids go out to learn a skill. We are scared of the interactions they might make when outside. However there are so many skills that can be practiced indoors that will provide the much-needed “work break”. Baking, Making of drinks, Knitting, Bead making, Plaiting of hair and so on. Buy ingredients, write out a recipe and ask your maid to try preparing it, discuss how what she made can be improved, make her see that when she is able to get it right consistently, she can commercialize it. Do that for a period of time and watch her self-esteem and enthusiasm go up.
- EXPOSE TO THE OUTDOORS
Staying within the four walls of the house can be boring. Exposure to the outdoors or pictures of the outdoors encourages the mind to dream and paint beautiful pictures. It I understand why we should be bothered about letting our maids be too exposed to outside world, but I assure you that keeping her indoors does not guarantee your safety either. What are some of the things you can do in this area?
a.Introduce her to healthy relationships. E.g Can be a friend in church or your favorite hair dresser.
b.Be open to sending her on errands outside your locality.
c.Show her places and things when you go out together. E.g “This is Silverbird cinemas where they watch movies.” “This is African shine where Fela used to perform.” “See this beautiful mansion or car.”
These things look so simple, yet are very effective.
- MAKE AND KEEP YOUR PROMISES
As simple as promising to give her a gift when she does something right or “just because” and keeping that promise is, it is a major key to increasing enthusiasm. If your maid has worked with you for more than one year and you have not found one reason to get her a gift, no matter how small, then you may need to improve in that area or maybe she is not adding any value to you.
This has been a very long read, but isn’t it amazing that the things needed to drive enthusiasm are as simple as these. What this means is that you can get to work right away and watch your maid go from 0 to 100 real quick.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments. If there is anything that has worked for you, kindly share in the comments so other mamas can benefit.
Your Maid Whisperer.
Picture Credit: Getty Images