By February 4, 2014 Read More →

Would you employ a cleaner?

Is it OK to employ a cleaner when you work from home?

Employ a cleaner - Jane BinnionJane Binnion has written for us before about working from home as a disabled or chronically ill entrepreneur. In today’s guest post she describes a dilemma you might share.

In my last blog Work in progress I wrote about my plans to employ a cleaner.
 Working from home was meant to make the house keeping easier, but who wants to use every coffee and lunch break doing house work?

Being dyspraxic I am a bit of a disaster around the house – don’t get me started on how often I can trip over the vacuum cleaner cable. It takes me an hour to clean one room or I just wander off and do something more interesting half way through!

But it’s one of my biggest stress points because it’s really important that the house is tidy so that I can find things and don’t trip too often.

To employ a cleaner makes total sense. I regularly outsource various aspects of my work that other people can do better and quicker than me. I have no emotional issues about hiring an accountant, a bookkeeper and someone to do my newsletters. I have a milk man and a window cleaner.

All of those are perfectly rational decisions and I like supporting local traders.

And yet this has left me feeling uneasy. WHY do I feel weird about a cleaner when in 2.5 hours Leanne can clean my house top to bottom?

I’ve spoken to many women juggling life and entrepreneurship*. Most said that the thing that would make life easier would be to employ a cleaner – and yet none of us had one!

So what gets in the way of that happening? Is it about feminine identity? Is being good at housework the same as being a good woman/mum/wife?

If I compare myself to my mum who raised four children and did her own cleaning, I should be able to manage with just one child, shouldn’t I? And I don’t even have to scrub the front door step. 

So is it just me? I put out a tweet last week to check how other people feel about it. Those that replied said that having a cleaner was a good thing to do, freeing up time and creating local employment.

All totally rational, then I remembered that my grandma was sold into service as a young girl to clean the ‘big house’ and I realised that politically I have a problem with poor people cleaning rich people’s houses.

The notion of being too good to do your own cleaning is a theme that I must have inherited. Have I betrayed my grandma? Do I think I’m too good to clean up after myself? As I am not rich am I getting above myself? Worse still, am I lazy? That’s the accusation regularly thrown at dyspraxics!

It may take me a little while to overcome the deeper issues, but things are different now and I see women, just like me, running cleaning businesses catering for women just like me!

The decider came last week. Friday I went to London leaving a very neglected house and came back Saturday evening to a lovely clean, tidy home. That’s a serious stress buster.

And I’m buying myself time to be with my girlie, or go for a walk, or just have a lie down if I need it.

With regards to my dyspraxia, Leanne helps to put a structure in place for me which has a knock-on effect, so that over the weeks that the house has got much tidier above and beyond what she does.

So, yep, I employ a cleaner, and I intend to keep her!

Is this an issue for you too? I’d love to hear your stories

PS As for my grandma, being in service meant she met my granddad as he delivered the bread to the ‘big house’. She spotted him coming up the drive and set her sights on him. The poor man didn’t stand a chance 🙂

work from home secrets

Jane is a Lancashire-based, award-winning social media and ethical sales trainer. *She interviewed 26 women juggling family commitments and business for her ebook The Super Women of Lancashire.

Posted in: Routine

7 Comments on "Would you employ a cleaner?"

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  1. Great article and this has clarified a few similar issues for me, thank you (off to find a local cleaner for my new house now!)

    Much appreciated,

  2. Hey Roberta, thanks for the feedback, and that’s great that it helped you with your thinking too. Enjoy! X

  3. Cherry says:

    I have similar struggles and have not yet taken action. my concern is not just deciding to hire a cleaner, but then how on earth do you choose one?!

  4. Lisa says:

    Great blog post! I have a wonderful Shelly who works magic on my house every week and I never ever want to let her go. And yet, like the writer, I struggle with this decision and I’m embarrassed to admit to my friends that I have help at home. People assume that because I work from home I must be able to clean between conference calls! My advise to others is ask for recommendations (from friends, neighbours) of good cleaners just like you would with any professional you employ/outsource too.

    • People assume all sorts of strange things about working from home! The only time cleaning gets done in this house during work time is when I’m stuck and need to unblock my brain!