Managing Your Domestic Helper’s Smartphone Use
Smartphones and social media have made it much easier for all of us, including domestic helpers who are away from their home, to be connected with their families and friends, but some employers see this as a big problem if not manage properly.
To be honest, it is alright for your helper to keep their phone on (turn off notifications and on silent mode) during the day, but refrain from using it excessively, especially when she still has to complete her assigned tasks. Our domestic helpers are humans and deserves to be happy too, they are not machines.
However, a clear line must be drawn right at the beginning and make clear to your helper that phone usage needs to be controlled. For example, if she is supposed to look after your kids and/or elderly, she should not be distracted by what is on her phone. Similarly, excess or spends too much time on their smartphone instead of having adequate rest, it is a matter of concern too.
How can you better manage maid’s phone usage and help her overcome this addiction by using social media? Here are some ideas to keep cell phones at bay, the right way!
1. Give Stipulated Phone Usage Windows
Be reasonable and set a time window during which they are allowed to use their phones.
Giving your helper a clear time during which she CAN use her phone will help her focus on not using her phone during the proper working hours.
A good rule of thumb to follow is:
- 30 minutes during lunch
- 30 minutes during dinner
- Any time after 9pm (but at most 1hr only so that she can have a good night rest)
- Additional time windows at your discretion
2. Phone Usage Purposes
Using the smartphone is not an issue if her tasks are completed but if she uses the phone when taking care of kids, elderly parents or in the kitchen whilst cooking is wrong, unprofessional and unethical. If your maid does any of these, be sure to correct here and stop her from doing this else your housework and/or the kids will be at a mess. Safety of your family is the most important! Your domestic helper needs to be sincere and only use her phone during break time or for emergency purposes only. To be safe, set some strict rules such as the following:
- No phone usage during work, except for breaks, so your helper will only focus on her work.
- Occasional phone calls or WhatsApp messages during working hours, provided the domestic helper does her work in the allotted time.
- Helper cannot be on the phone while taking care of your kids or elderly parents. This may not be applicable if you prefer your helper send you photos of your children attending activities like play dates. However, remind your helper that she should not post any photos of your family members on social media without your permission.
3. Control The WIFI Network Password
It is up to you whether you prefer to give them your WIFI Network password because internet usage without the WIFI can be costly. However, the good thing is that you can choose to restrict access to the WIFI to limit WIFI usage for her device to certain hours.
Here are the step-by-step instructions to doing so:
- Type 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 in the address line of an Internet browser.
- Enter your username and password when prompted and you will have access to the router setup menus. (This is usually “admin” and “admin” by default)
- Depending on your router, find the menu for either Router Access Restrictions or Parental Controls.
- Within this menu, you can set time frames to allow or disable Internet access for each device. For example, if you want to disable your user’s Internet access on weekdays after 8:00 PM, simply select your user’s device and set the access restrictions for the time you want.
Set A Good Example Yourself
How should you enforce these rules? What you can do is make use of CCTV at home to monitor randomly how much time she is on her phone when you are not at home.
In any case, if you want your maid to take good care of your children or parents and don’t overuse your phone, you must set a good example and do it first. Let them know that an occasional WhatsApp or FB messenger is okay but the overindulgence in the social media will not be tolerated at any cost.
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