With a live-in domestic helper, one of the biggest challenges is security. It is a natural feeling — very elemental — as a stranger is living within the same premises and under the same roof for 24-hours. More than any threat, it is in the best interest of the welfare and the safety of the family and belongings, that the domestic employer should exercise caution and implement certain best practices for maintaining the safety and security of the place.
Some of the best practices have been mentioned here:
- Take precaution and remedial measures
- the adage goes, ‘Prevention is always better than cure’ implies the essence of this. At the onset itself, before the live-in helper joins to ensure that you bring in realistic adaptations to your living space so that there are minimal, or zero chances of your safety being compromised by any outsider. Being lackadaisical in the context of safety and security can cost you dearly. Hence, it is best to take undertake steps to safeguard and protect the health and wealth of your family members. When you hire a new live-in helper to ensure that you screen the background of the new person thoroughly, whether you hire direct or through a maid placement agency. Screening the background should not be highlighted in a negative sense — it helps the employer get to know his new hire while ensuring that there is no reason to doubt or suspect his integrity and character. Such verifications are a common thing when a new tenant moves into your apartment or when a new employee is hired by a corporate. The maid background check should also be treated at par with such checks.
- Another aspect of best practices is that if and when there is any reason for suspicion, it is best to go in for remedial measures. Ignoring such incidents will only make matters worse and put the life of your family members at stake. If there is doubt, ensure that as a domestic employer you clarify with your helper and take appropriate steps so that it is not repeated in the future. From firing to training the person from making your house infrastructure protected, many remedial steps can be taken to prevent such situations from repeating.
- Safety of Members & Valuables
- an unknown person in your house, day and night, two aspects are vulnerable — one, the physical safety of your family members and second, your valuable belongings like ornaments, cash, etc. To ensure the safety of your family members, only background checks must be conducted during hiring, but also precautionary steps like the installation of securer locks and CCTV cameras are undertaken. It means that the domestic employer needs to invest in advanced technical aids to make his place safe and secure.
- valuables, it is best that costly and expensive items like ornaments and cash are kept in bank lockers — away from home. Also, cupboards and almirahs should have a proper lock system and should be always locked. Access to the new person to such private places should be limited. Family members should also abstain from discussing their valuables in front of the maid.
- Solutions like CCTV Cameras
- thanks to technological advancement, there are varied high-end CCTV and security camera solutions that can be installed with ease at your home with real-life feed into your smartphones and laptops. Installing such cameras at places that are frequented by the maid or the helper is a good way to monitor the person’s activity, especially in the absence of the employer. Even offices these days have CCTV cameras to keep a watch on employees — so there is no harm or anything illegal in keeping a watch on the live-in maid’s movements.
- Locking Key Home Areas / Wardrobes / Rooms
- is a precautionary measure. It is best to install technically advanced lock-and-key systems in your house. In the best interest of all, it is good to keep your wardrobes and cupboards locked when not required. The helper should have limited access to your rooms, private and other key areas. Understandably this is not always possible as the live-in helper might need to enter your rooms for cleaning purposes in your absence. During such times, the CCTV or security camera can be used to monitor the movement.
- Following Residential Complex Security Norms
- It is always good to follow the safety norms of the apartment, society or neighbourhood where the employer lives. For example, if the apartment has a policy that all live-in helpers need to register with them offering their IDs and permanent address or they need to wear an ID card within the society, then the domestic employer should ensure that his helper follows the same without fail. It only helps enhance the security of your family and belongings.
- Valid Identity Check / Verification and Background
- check and verification is a must and all domestic employers need to get this done. It is a vital step towards securing the life and safety of his family. There are different types of checks that employers can get done before hiring to be doubly sure that the new helper is the right person for the job. Things like a valid government ID should be stressed upon to further validate the choice. There is police verification too that employers should get done to cross-check the details provided by the helper.
- Keeping Neighbourhood Informed
- can work together to make the entire neighbourhood a safer place to live in. All residents should mandatorily keep their neighbours and the resident association office informed about the hiring of a live-in helper. In case neighbours notice any untoward activity outside the house, they can immediately inform the domestic employer and the association office. Informing neighbours is a good way to have a back-up to keep checking behind your back. For example, if the employer is travelling out, immediate neighbours can be asked to keep a watch on visitors coming to the premises.
- Training and Setting Expectations with Helpers in initial few Days
- of the forward-looking methods is to set the expectations in the initial days and inform the new hire about the same. If certain places are out of their bounds and should never be accessed without anyone around, the same should be told to the new hire directly and in clear words. Any kind of such instructions should be part of the induction and training process that many domestic employers engage in, during the initial days.
Domestic employers need to understand that the safety and security of their family members and valuables are in their hands. They need to use a number of these ways mentioned here to attain that perfect balance where the live-in helper can work properly, and the employer can go about doing his or her work with complete peace of mind.