When English is your Housekeepers Second Language

Over the years, it has been our pleasure to represent housekeepers from nearly 20 different countries. Often times, they have been well-educated: doctors, lawyers, bank administrators, teachers, and so forth. However, their English speaking skills were not good enough to pursue their former careers. Without exception, we have found them to be conscientious, dedicated, and willing workers!

When dealing with housekeepers who do not speak English it can be a little frustrating. So here are some tips to make communications a little bit easier:

  • Speak slowly and clearly. Avoid the temptation to raise your voice or talk to them as though they are a child.
  • Ensure that you are understood. Most of us feel a little embarrassed when we don’t understand what someone is saying. So, you should just ask if they understand in order to avoid confusion.
  • Provide written instructions. That way, they can have a place to double check that they are doing the right thing.
  • Avoid Slang or Idioms. One of the most difficult things about learning English – aside from the crazy spelling – is that English slang has words that are unable to be translated.

Overall, although the communications gap can be difficult to over come, treat your housekeeper with kindness and understanding, as they truly are doing their best to please you and meet all your needs.

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