When the Workplace is a Home

7236f-dontcrossthelineRespecting Professional Boundaries for Nannies and Parents

Nannies are in a unique position because their workplace is their employer’s home. This often creates a difficult balancing act for both nannies and families. Both parties must keep in mind that while families like to relax when at home, nannies are working in the home.

Nannies shouldn’t snoop. But, parents shouldn’t assume their domestic employers won’t see personal information if it is not filed away. To protect themselves, parents should never leave their personal bank statements, pay stubs, cash, or any information they would not want their nannies to see, simply laying on the kitchen counter.

Cleaning and tidying the house often creates contention for nannies. In-home caregivers resent working hard to keep bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and the children’s play areas tidy and organized, while the family doesn’t adhere to those same cleaning standards. It is essential for nannies to realize that children and parents want to relax and play when at home. Just because the family members forget to clean up all the toys or unload the dishwasher doesn’t mean they are intentionally disrespecting their domestic staff.

Parents should also understand that caregivers often resent when the kids don’t chip-in by cleaning up after themselves or if parents leave their dirty dishes from the weekend for nannies to clean on Monday morning. Nannies work hard to tidy homes and feel disrespected when kids and parents don’t make any effort, leaving the work for their childcare providers to do.

As employees, live-in caregivers should expect to clean their own bedrooms and bathrooms even if a housekeeper is hired to clean the rest of the home.

Kids and parents must respect live-in nannies time-off. Employers shouldn’t ask caregivers to just watch the children for a few minutes so they can run a quick errands when their caregivers aren’t on-the-clock. Kids shouldn’t knock on nannies bedroom doors to talk or play when they have time-off.

Maintaining professional boundaries regarding privacy is always essential. Parents don’t want nannies gossiping about their marriage or parenting choices. Having nannies sign a confidentially agreement can help reduce gossip by domestic employees.

In the same regard, nannies don’t want their employers telling others how much they make or discuss the issues they are having with them. Both employers and employees must remember the only real way to deal with problems in the workplace is to go to the source, rather than bad mouth one another to friends or family.

People have different styles and live differently. Although families may walk around naked, or use the bathrooms with open doors, when other people are working in their house, family members should respect their employees may be uncomfortable having family members walk around the home without clothes or not closing doors when using bathrooms.

The issues that can rise when a home is the workplace are limitless. If employers and nannies make a purposeful effort to understand the others’ perspective and to respect boundaries, issues can be reduced dramatically.

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