Household staffing advice from Irving Scott during the coronavirus era

At Irving Scott we are used to fielding questions from our clients and providing them with practical support. Over recent months we have answered several queries concerning how to handle fluid local lockdown situations and what planning can be undertaken to mitigate staffing disruptions for the duration of the pandemic.  Putting aside the crystal ball for a second, managing director Paloma Irving sat down to compile this handy list of tips for recruiting and maintaining household staff during the coronavirus era. 

Assess your staffing requirements

Old habits may die hard, but recent months have shown how quickly principals and their loyal members of staff adapt to change. Not long ago families with multiple residences across the UK and abroad recruited flexible teams of chefs, nannies, housekeepers and chauffeurs to travel with them from destination to destination. However, 2020 has seen estate and manor property owners assessing their staffing requirements and making strategic decisions to ensure disruptions caused by Covid-19 measures are kept to a minimum. The rise in demand for domestic couples has been exponential. Our clients now employ less staff per household, but those employees stay where they are. 

Make wise decisions about key staff members

Live-in staff pose less risk to the household as they remain within the bubble and do not travel on public transport, where exposure to Covid-19 is increased. Several of our clients have asked their key members of staff, successfully recruited from Irving Scott, to expand their roles and have been awarded pay increases accordingly. Those households that still employ live-out staff have taken proactive steps to mitigate risk. These steps include having frank conversations with employees about expectations: in the same way that homeowners, as employers, are under a duty to provide a safe place of work, so are employees under a moral obligation to reduce the level of exposure to the virus that any outdoor movements might place on the family who employs them. 

Consider employing an extra nanny 

Families with nannies have increased their duty of care towards their employees to ensure the place of work is safe. Hand sanitisers, tissues, face masks and clean daily uniforms to change into when not a live-in nanny are just some of the practical steps taken by Irving Scott’s clients. However, even though these measures have been successful in keeping nannies on the front line despite the pandemic, Covid-19 unfortunately still creates circumstances when a nanny has been prevented from working. These circumstances include quarantine measures, self-isolation and local lockdowns. Also, the decrease in afterschool activities, homework clubs and social events that children can attend means that children require care for more hours during the week and on the weekends. Talk to us today about your childcare requirements and we will come up with a sensible Covid-19 plan to ensure all stakeholders are satisfied. Happy children with well-prepared nannies in a properly staffed household make for a successful pandemic experience. 

Work with employees to find suitable solutions

Turn to Irving Scott for advice on how to table discussions with household staff about their future. Apart from providing practical pointers on options such as requesting domestic employees take annual leave, unpaid leave or furlough, we are also offering the opportunity to dialogue about new training opportunities or job sharing. 

With a mix of optimism and pragmatism, Irving Scott is maintaining strong relationships with candidates, clients and relevant third parties throughout the Covid-19 crisis. Households keep running successfully with our help. Contact us today for more information. We are happy to help!