Creating a Successful Working Environment in your Home
When someone you employ also lives in your home, navigating work and personal time; managing expectations and setting boundaries can be a challenge. We have supported families and carers as they navigate these challenges for some time, here are some tips to help make this easier.
Set expectations early
By setting clear goals and providing a detailed list and written plan of what’s expected of each person in the employer/employee (host family/care professional) relationship, you are able to refer back to these documents as problems start to appear to resolve these quickly. Some of the areas you may want to include are:
- Provide a clear job description, including a detailed list of expected duties
- Write a detailed employment contract, which will form the basis of your employment relationship with your support worker
- Discuss the expectations of their role as a roommate and as a member of your family
- Create a clear schedule that is displayed in a common area
- Discuss how you expect to communicate with each other
Put in place a process for communication
Open and honest communication is the foundation of any relationship, especially one as emotional as the one of a family employing a live-in carer. Think about how you can make this process a smooth process.
- Provide a ‘communication book’ in which you and your carer can reflect on what has and hasn’t worked at the end of each shift
- Organise and attend regular weekly meetings. Make these a priority
- Encourage open feedback on what is and is not working
Expectation of involvement in family activities
Be clear from the get-go how much involvement you would like from your care professional in ‘extracurricular’ family activities. Even though they are your employee, the fact that they are living with you will mean that the lines between ‘work time’ and ‘personal time’ can be blurred.
- If it is voluntary then it most likely would not be considered working time
- If it is required, it may be considered working time
- If they are expected to care for your child/ren, then it would be considered working time
At the end of the day, you are receiving a professional into your home, to support you, provide flexibility and stability for yourself and your family. With a good foundation: clear instructions, an employment contract, and open communication throughout your time together, even if there are issues, you will be able to iron them out quicker if you have the right processes in place.
Need help deciding what’s important in the host family/care professional relationship? Contact us on 1800 854 262 or via firstname.lastname@example.org