As human beings, it is important for us to maintain our dignity and self-respect. Whilst working in a team, if one or more member is affected negatively, it demotivates us. Over time, such treatment results in resentment. Our domestic help is no different. They are often seen as inferior individuals, especially in Pakistan. As with any other professions, being treated disrespectfully results in the inability to perform their tasks whole-heartedly. Even in the most educated homes, the domestic staff, which includes maids and drivers, is often neglected or treated poorly.
We need to treat our domestic help the same way that we would like to be treated by our own seniors at work—with respect, kindness and consideration. If we witness any inappropriate or unacceptable behavior directed towards our help from others, we should stop it immediately and make sure the same mistake is not repeated moving forward. There might be times when due to lack of training, the domestic staff doesn’t perform well. At such times, it is important to communicate the issue with them in a manner which does not hurt their self-respect. Majority of the women that work in the domestic help sector have not gone through formal training to understand the expectation of their work.
A friendly attitude with compassion and understanding towards your domestic help will always result in a positive response. For instance, if they approach you for help, make an effort to support them in overcoming their difficulties, instead of being negligent to their problems. Secondly, if they are performing well, make sure to show appreciation towards them, so that they feel motivated to work harder and more sincerely in the future. Appreciation can be conveyed in any form, including speech, or a gesture, which could help boost any helper’s morale. Think of how motivated you feel when your senior appreciates your hard work, the same principles apply to domestic help.
TAFF-VTI’s ‘Cooking and Housekeeping’ course aims to formalize the informal domestic help sector. Our students go through 15 weeks of training in not only cooking and housekeeping but also ethics and professionalism where they are taught communication skills, work ethic, team work and most importantly how to manage their work. After the training they are placed into contractual employment through the TAFF-VTI placement centre. Not only do we expect our graduates to uphold their professional values after being employed but we also expect the employers to treat them with respect as professionals.