What is Basic Housekeeping?

To be employable as a housekeeper, there are a number of skills and a level of knowledge that you must possess. Job descriptions commonly list 'basic housekeeping' as a key responsibility, so it is vital to understand what this entails and requires of you specifically. Alongside ‘childcare duties’, this vague terminology can be confusing to prospective housekeepers and can lead employers to struggle with narrowing down their search to the specialised housekeeper employees that they are looking for.

In the following guide, the team at Nannies Matter explain what skills and qualities professional housekeepers must possess to help prevent any confusion you may be facing and to ensure both employers and housekeepers are getting the results they desire.

What are the main responsibilities of a housekeeper?

Housekeeping roles can vary across different employers, meaning your responsibilities will also differ from house to house. They can vary depending on a number of factors, from the type of property you are working in to the flexibility of your employers. It may be that your responsibilities are simply to clean and tidy, or you may be required to organise things for your employer, acting closer to a personal assistant. Your employer should be transparent about these responsibilities via the job description or in the interview process.

Some of the main responsibilities of a housekeeper may include, but are not limited to:

  • Cleaning the areas of the residence
  • Preparing food
  • Supervising children or pets
  • Accepting deliveries
  • Shopping for food
  • Arranging maintenance

What qualifications should a private housekeeper possess?

You do not need a specific formal degree to work in a housekeeping job, however, there are a small number of online courses in specific skills, such as health and safety, hygiene and fire safety, that may help you to understand and prepare for the key responsibilities you will be faced with and to help you stand out when applying for positions. Housekeepers who work around children will also need to pass a DBS check.

In many cases, having experience in other housekeeping roles is more important than displaying qualifications. This is because it shows you have already utilised the practical skills needed, and doing so to a high standard can allow you to get a strong reference from your previous employer.

However, if you are applying for entry-level housekeeping roles, you may have past experience. In such cases, you should consider finding unpaid work experience placements. Other roles, such as nannying, can offerhousekeeping experience through educational courses. If you undertake a nannying course you may be able to find a work experience role that will likely require you to explore and develop housekeeping skills, and you will be rewarded with a qualification at the end.

You may be able to gain further housekeeping experience by thinking outside of the box - seek experience through other job roles or courses. Some examples of how you may be able to gain these skills include hygiene training as part of a food-service role or the general upkeep of rooms of the house learned through hospitality training, which may come with a hotel or cleaning role. Employers are more likely to hire housekeepers with additional skills and experience under their belt, especially if it shows they can work flexibly and complete a variety of different responsibilities.

What qualities do employers look for in housekeepers?

Homeowners employ housekeepers to make life more convenient and to remove the stress of coming home and having to clean, tidy and conduct maintenance and administration. Therefore, a housekeeper must have qualities that align with these needs.

Housekeepers must be flexible, able to manage their time effectively and plan well in order to carry out their responsibilities to a high degree and relieve any additional stress their employer may face. In addition, housekeepers must have good attention to detail in order to spot issues within the house and leave the property organised and clean.

Housekeepers who are required to prepare food as part of their role must be proactive and competent multitaskers in order to organise their timings and ensure they complete any other responsibilities as well. Similarly, those who care for children must make sure they are able to monitor them effectively while also conducting their other duties.

What are the different housekeeping specialisations?

While each housekeeping role may differ slightly, there are more specialised, concrete job roles that can be allocated to housekeepers whose responsibilities may be more specific.

Housekeeping manager

A housekeeping manager role places extra emphasis on the arranging and planning of the employer's schedule, acting more as a personal assistant with extra cleaning and tidying duties. The primary function of a housekeeping manager may be to ensure their employer's personal and professional life goes smoothly to reduce stress and make sure their employer meets all of their deadlines. A housekeeping manager may need to arrange maintenance for the house, order shopping, manage other housekeepers and book appointments for their employer.

Housekeeping manager roles are typically higher-paid than housekeepers who do not need to conduct these responsibilities because of their additional task-planning and scheduling skill requirements.

Nanny housekeeper

A nanny housekeeper will be responsible for supervising children. Their duties may include food preparation, entertaining the children, transporting them and arranging activities for them. Nanny housekeepers who work with children under the age of four will be required to hold an Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework qualification.

Housekeepers for animals - housekeeper groom

Some of the more specific and niche housekeeping roles include those who may have to have experience with animals. For example, Nannies Matter deals with housekeeper grooms which is a role specifically designed to deal with homes that have horses. A housekeeper groom can be a housekeeper primarily with groom responsibilities second, or vice versa.

Nannies Matter offers services to help those who are looking to employ a housekeeper and those looking to be hired as a housekeeper. For expert advice on the skills you should be looking for, call us today and we will help you to find a housekeeper or an employer who is right for you. Speak to us at 0800 121 4881, or fill out an online contact form and we will return your call at a time suitable for you.

Read more about the housekeeping services Nannies Matter offers here.

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