With the lockdown easing in phases, you may be eager to call all your house help back for duty. Your maid, cook, driver, nanny, etc may also be keen to resume work after such an extended leave. These precautionary tips will help you do so while also ensuring everyone’s safety.
Why Do You Need to Take Precautions In The First Place?
All through the lockdown, your home sheltered only those whose health and whereabouts were known to you. Your house help would be coming from different parts of the city, having met people whose health you don’t know about, having travelled using public transport, etc. Hence, it is better to take some hygiene measures that ensure house help don’t unwittingly bring germs and infections into your home.
Here are some simple tips for the safety of your family and the help.
1) Wear a Face Mask
Remind your house help to wear a face mask, covering their nose and mouth, the entire time they are working at your home. If they do not have a face covering, consider providing them with one. Also ensure they know the correct use of face covering i.e. not to keep touching it, how to remove it, etc. If you intend to ask them to replace the face covering they wore from home with a fresh one that you give them at the entrance, do teach them how to wash or dispose off their face mask correctly.
2) Encouraging Personal Hygiene
When help arrives, first ask them to wash their hands thoroughly using soap and water for 20 seconds. Ensure they are washing their hands correctly as explained here.
Thereafter, every time they finish a task, ask them to wash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser such as those available from Lifebuoy. Encourage hand washing before and after coming, leaving, using the washroom, eating, serving, cooking, helping, cleaning, washing, etc.
It would be great to provide single-use hand towels or paper towels for drying hands so that they do not share a towel. Also place tissues at multiple places for better hygiene.
Teach them respiratory hygiene i.e. covering their nose and mouth during a sneeze or cough with a tissue or elbow and discarding the tissue immediately after in a closed bin.
3) Teaching New Hygienic Ways to Do Old Tasks
Whatever the task assigned to the help, be it house cleaning, cooking, helping with kids or driving, ensure that thorough washing, cleaning and disinfecting are a part of it. Before lockdown, they must have done their tasks in a certain way. But now, for better protection against germs and infections, they need to learn new steps for each task. This is essential because, as you may be aware, germs can travel up to several feet after a sneeze or cough and come to rest on nearby surfaces, clothes, etc.
For example, earlier while daily dusting, they may have only dusted different surfaces. But now, for better hygiene, they may follow up dusting with cleaning of high touch surfaces such as door handles, tables, chairs, countertops, flush handles, etc with soap and water and end it with disinfection using a suitable disinfectant spray such as Domex Multi-Purpose Disinfectant Spray, which kills germs. Always test on a small hidden area and read the instructions on the pack for usage and compatible surfaces.
It may also help to explain to them the difference between cleaning and disinfection so that they remember to do both. Cleaning removes dust, dirt, organic matter and thus reduces germs. Disinfection kills them.
They also need to be reminded to wash their hands thoroughly before and after each task.
4) Teaching Correct Preparation and Usage of Cleaning Supplies
Teach them the correct preparation and use of cleaning supplies. Incorrect dose or usage may render them ineffective or even harmful to the surfaces and people.
For example, you may want to explain that for cleaning and disinfecting high touch surface such as the floor, they should use a suitable disinfectant floor cleaner, like a sodium-hypochlorite based product such as Domex Floor Cleaner. Follow instructions on the pack for usage and compatible surfaces and always test on an inconspicuous area first.
With these precautionary tips, you can finally have help again at home!
Remind the help to wear disposable gloves when taking out the trash and cleaning with cleaning supplies and wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds after removing the gloves.