Today was hilarious! I witnessed my team in an almost "Charlie Chaplin" like mode when our Boss rang the bell to signal that they were ready to go out of the house. Five of my staff ran to different directions like headless chickens scampering to all directions in order to have all the items that need to get in the car - one assembling the lunch boxes, one hurrying to put iced water on Ma'am's water bottle, one to open the door, two to assist the Ma'am and Sir with their bags and probably get last minute instructions.. Everything happened fast while the employer walks from family room towards the car. I had to re enact for them what happened to see how terrible funny they looked. And the reason for this is a lack of preparation: moral lesson - "failure in preparation is preparation to fail". (See Qualities of a Good Home Manager).
Most especially, one of my young housekeepers, Flora, easily falls into panic mode. And she is so contagious.. One meal time, the lady asked for the dessert after the courses were completed, and she runs to the kitchen repeating " dessert, dessert, dessert in an audible panicky voice, I am sure you can almost imagine how it gets into everyone's nerves.
I think - and the employer feels the same way too - that she gets self conscious that she focuses on how her performance impresses the Boss and others rather than focusing on how to do well the job at hand. I spoke to her today after the employer called my attention because it seems that whenever this girl finds herself in close encounter with the employers in any part of the house, she turns rigid as if wishing she were a furniture, what the... Apart from shyness, I also found out later that she sleeps late either watching late night shows on TV or at times waiting for employers at night - this makes her forgetful, light headed almost feeling mentally blank at work.
The task- dishwashing, making the bed, etc - is so damn easy, one can do it with eyes closed, you don't even need to think at all!! In these above situations- incident with the entire staff and this staff behavior - manifest mental distraction or dissipation while at work. Sometimes I feel pity, when I obeserve my staff working and living enough to survive each day moving like robots and unfortunately busy themselves with sms, romantic relationships, body aches, misunderstanding with coworkers, fear of committing mistakes or causing displeasure, tiredness, routine; in general a lack of mental preparedness thinking that domestic work does not require it at all. As a consequence they become negligent and of course end up being panicky, jumpy robots when they fail. How I wish to put some spring on their feet and love and respect for their work that they will exert effort, concentrate and yes, use checklists!!
Effort and concentration make manual tasks almost flawlessly perfect precisely because they are not very complicated tasks, only cyclical which make it hard. So we need to have checklists and to read checklist when we start work and to double check checklists after each completed tasks- task schedule, packing list, weekly menu chart, shopping list, inspection checklist, cleaning calendars, etc. A staff, as young and as inexperienced as Flora need to be trained to work with effort, concentration and checklist and I can almost imagine what a wonderful housekeeper she will grow to be..