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Do I Need a Family Assistant?

Posted on by admin | in Housekeeping

As parents get busier and busier, it can become more and more difficult to keep up with all of the daily tasks involved with managing work, family, home and community commitments. This constant juggling act isn’t just stressful; it often means important details fall through the cracks. If this sounds like your family, hiring a family assistant might be the perfect solution for your situation.

A family assistant is a Jill of All Trades. She can provide great childcare, take on light housekeeping duties, help with household management tasks, provide family meals, jump in as personal assistant to Mom and Dad and even work as an office helper in a home or small business. Basically, a family assistant is someone who has a broad skill set and is able to help parents fill in the gaps wherever they may be. This is especially helpful to parents who need help, but not enough of one type to justify a full- or part-time employee. If this seems like a good option for you, here are some questions to ask yourself.

Do I need a specialized skill set in any one area? Family assistants are great at lots of different things. However, they don’t usually have an advanced skill set in any one area. Most people with advanced skills are looking for a position where they can fully use their skills and continue to grow in their specialty.  So if you need a nanny that has a lot of experience with children with autism, chances are she won’t want to do the other tasks you need. If you need a gourmet-level chef, it will be a very hard sell to get him to take on childcare or light housekeeping tasks. Before you decide on a family assistant, look closely at what your needs are exactly.

Do I have a clear understanding of my needs? Before you can hire the right person, you have to know what you’re hiring her to do. Not all family assistant positions are the same. Some require more childcare, while others require more housekeeping, cooking or personal assistant duties. Each assistant will decide if the job is right for her depending on several factors, including the breakdown of the job duties. So before you jump into search mode, take some time to really think about what you want this person to do. Create a detailed list and clearly outline your expectations. This will help you identify the right person and determine a fair and competitive wage. Be careful not to pile on too many duties. Your assistant may be a Jill of All Trades, but she can still only accomplish so much.

Am I willing to put in the time to train a family assistant? Every family and household runs differently. Even if your new assistant is great at adapting to new situations quickly, she’ll still need focused and detailed instructions around the different areas of her job. If you’ve had someone already working in that position, that person can provide the training and get the new assistant up to date. If she’s taking over things you’ve been doing, you’ll need to devote some time to training her. It’s always a good idea to create a detailed job description that outlines her duties, all necessary deadlines and your expectations. The more clearly you can outline your needs, the better your family assistant will be able to meet those needs. Talk with your new employee and see how you can best support her as she makes the transition into your job. She may find task lists or detailed notes helpful. Once your assistant has been with you for a while, she’ll get to know your tastes, your preferences and your way of doing things. As her job description goes through normal changes and adjustments, she won’t require as much instruction from you and she’ll learn to predict your wants and needs. However, remember to always keep the lines of communication open, that way if she does need guidance, she knows you’re available.

Am I paying a competitive rate? Because she’s responsible for a wide variety of duties, a family assistant usually makes more than a traditional nanny or housekeeper. The exact wage depends on her education, experience, skills, your location and the exact job description. The ability to successfully juggle the many different types of responsibilities is a stand-alone skill that is valuable to many employers, so expect to pay competitively for a skilled family assistant. To get a better idea of what family assistants are making in your local area, talk to those currently working in a similar position or call your local household staffing placement agency.

A family assistant can be the answer to many of the challenges you face in trying to get it all done. The right person can help you find a more balanced and stress-free lifestyle.

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