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Cleaner issues

(33 Posts)
LancashirePudding Fri 11-Mar-16 17:18:45

I'm wondering if you can give me some advice about some problems I'm having with my cleaner at the moment. I really don’t know how to sort it out without causing upset.

I realise that this is probably the opposite problem that most people have, but my cleaner is supposed to clean the house for a set number of hours each week and is staying for far longer than I am paying her for- often staying for up to an hour or more over the time she is paid for. I dislike this because it effectively means that her hourly rate becomes lower, which I am very uncomfortable with. Also, if I am at home when she comes it's a bit difficult because it means I'm stuck in one room for longer in order to keep out of her way (she has previously spoken to me for quite some time about personal problems which, whilst I am sympathetic, I was finding myself getting more drawn into her personal life more than I felt comfortable with so I have consciously tried to take a step back).

I have spoken to her a number of times in person when I am there, and also by leaving notes, to ask her not to stay longer than the agreed number of hours. E.g. on a few occasions I have gone to whichever room she’s in and (nicely and with a big smile) reminded her that she's been here for X amount of time and to make sure that she heads off soon. I understand that on occasion she may want to stay for an extra five minutes or so to finish a particular job off so I have never done this at the exact point it's time for her to leave; I've always waited at least 15 mins after the time she's due to finish before doing this. She'll often still stay for quite a bit longer.

I’ve made it clear several times that I want her to leave after the set number of hours, regardless of whether she's done all of the usual cleaning jobs. I've suggested that she just clean some of the (infrequently used, so don't get very dirty) rooms every other week or stop cleaning some rooms altogether to reduce her workload to make it manageable in the set number of hours. I don't really know what else to do.

To be honest, I can't understand why she is staying for so long in the first place. I used to clean for a living myself so I do feel I have a realistic idea of how long it takes to clean the rooms. Sometimes she will take it upon herself to start cleaning rooms that she's never been supposed to clean. I have found this irritating and, at times, intrusive e.g. I once found that she'd been in the study and tidied away all of my private paperwork, including bank statements. She has never been due to clean that room (for the very reason that it contains private paperwork) and had never done so previously. The same thing happened with another room and I kept leaving notes saying please do not clean that room, but she kept doing so. In the end I had to leave quite a blunt note saying please do not ever go in that room at all. She replied to say that she'd only been doing a quick tidy in there, which was missing the point but has at least stopped cleaning that room since then.

If I don't already sound horrible and critical, I also feel like she's spending time doing unnecessary tasks e.g. going in my husband's (closed) chest of drawers and folding all the socks and underwear in there shock, re-arranging throws that are already folded neatly, artfully arranging magazines that were in a tidy pile so that they are fanned out etc. Yet sometimes (not always) bits of the cleaning will have been missed e.g. parts of the worktop or floor won't have been cleaned.

I suppose what I'm wondering is how I can politely make sure that she stops staying for longer than she is supposed to, and isn't wasting time faffing about on jobs that look pretty but aren't actually cleaning.

InvictusVersinium Fri 11-Mar-16 18:10:45

It sounds like you have really tried to give her guidance and feedback on what you need and that she hasn't responded.

Is there a reason that you don't want to let her go and find another cleaner?

NattyTile Fri 11-Mar-16 18:14:11

Is she deliberately slowing down so that she can have a good chat and offload about her personal stuff?

Do you know for sure she's arriving at the right time and not simply tweaking the times a bit?

LancashirePudding Fri 11-Mar-16 18:46:33

Invictus I guess because it would feel very harsh to get rid of her when she hasn't done anything awful, it's just a bit of a frustration. and Im getting a bit fed up of banging my head against a brick wall.

Natty when I'm at home on her cleaning days I can hear her arrive and leave so she's not lying about how long she's here. I do wonder if she's hanging around waiting for a chat, however she's all stayed a long time when just my husband's been home and doesn't talk to him.

Footle Fri 11-Mar-16 19:06:41

She doesn't want to go home.

LancashirePudding Fri 11-Mar-16 19:13:39

What makes you say that Footle?

joeythenutter Fri 11-Mar-16 19:28:20

It does sound like she is avoiding going home. She seems to be trying to do anything that will keep her there. I would suggest when finish time comes you go to wherever she is working and politely say ok you can leave the rest and start with i the next time. Sort of usher her out the door, nicely.

Whatdoiknow31 Sat 12-Mar-16 19:29:39

I could have written this my self!

Our cleaner is behaving in almost the same way. I too have asked her to stay out of the new office as she kept messing the computers up where they were before. I have had to ask 3 times, then on the 4th she came in there whilst I was working (started dusting round the computers whilst I sat there) and I had to tell her.

We also have personal things in there and as she started asking me questions about our personal finances eg who paid for that etc she's also said things which have made me think how the hell did you know that? Meaning she's gone through our personal stuff. I now have to lock the room when I'm out - which makes me feel horrible. Unfortunately I have to do this as she still went in there once when the doors were shut (not locked) and then shut them again after, as if she hadn't been in there. Then admitted she'd been in there but lied about the reason - things had been moved as if she'd cleaned, when I said I'd wet dusted the night before she said dust must had blown in!

Unfortunately I have no proof other than gut feeling/funny things she's said and not moral to ask her to leave on that so I have to manage the situation.

No advice other than managing her. I have had to be tougher, it's my home I will not be controlled in it.

Have you tried asking her why she stays longer? Say your concerned that she's staying longer that she's getting paid for etc

Footle Sat 12-Mar-16 23:01:59

It seems obvious , OP.

LancashirePudding Sun 13-Mar-16 13:03:30

Footle I'm afraid that you've lost me. Could you explain why you think that?

WhatDoIKnow sorry to hear that you are also having problems. A while back I did ask her and she said it's a big house and there's lots to do. Which doesn't really fit because she is not cleaning the whole house, e.g she only cleans one bedroom, and the only thing she is does in that bedroom is vacuum it and dust it.

Since she last came I have found a cleaning cloth in the study that she's not supposed to clean and I am wondering why she has been in there. I think I'm going to have to leave a very clear note reiterating which rooms are to be cleaned and to leave all other rooms completely alone. And a reminder to not stay past X number of hours and to leave any jobs/rooms that are not done in that time. It's a bit tricky because I don't want to get her back up when she is regularly in my home but not sure what else to do.

LancashirePudding Sun 13-Mar-16 13:06:19

WhatDoIKnow oh and I've said that I'm not comfortable with her staying longer because it essentially means she's being underpaid, however she doesn't seem to see this as an issue. I pay her a little extra than the amount specified by the agency as I didn't feel that it was a fair amount. But I have always been crystal clear to her that I was paying her a slightly higher hourly wage rather than paying her to stay longer.

recklessgran Sun 13-Mar-16 21:58:17

It sounds as though you have tried really hard to sort this out but I would definitely let her go. Could you not tell the agency and ask them to send someone else? I really would not like somebody poking around in my private papers - really unacceptable. If you want to avoid any upset you could just tell the agency that your circumstances have changed and you won't be needing their services any more and then approach another agency for a new cleaner and hope you are luckier with the next one.

Pannacott Sun 13-Mar-16 22:16:47

I agree with Footle. She prefers being at your home than hers. It is obvious. Maybe her home is too small, too cluttered, got too many people in it, she doesn't get on with her family / partner, she's lonely, doesn't want to pay for heating, yours smells nicer, she likes you, she finds your nicknacks interesting... Could be anything. People go to work for more than just money.

I'd suggest that you and Whatdoiknow let these cleaners go, you have given them very clear guidance about your expectations and they are working to their own agendas! These are people working for you, going into private areas, lying about it - the boundaries are seriously messed up here. This is very unsafe. It will be uncomfortable to let them go but they have breached your trust, why are you letting them into your homes?

PotOfYoghurt Sun 13-Mar-16 23:13:32

I think staying over her paid hours and going into rooms she isn't supposed to are two very different issues.

The first could be any number of things, ie what footle suggested or something else, but the latter is repeatedly ignoring your instructions and doing something she has been told several times not to do. And that is something I wouldn't accept from any employee.

mylife123 Tue 15-Mar-16 13:31:09

All of you think only of your concern but never think about a problem may happen with cleaner. The things is your dirt (mess) for today not the same dirt as next week. It sometimes takes longer to clean even you put certain rule that she has to live home let's say 2 hours, your matter is you don't want to pay her more money or you don't know why she stay longer in your place.
It might be your place is very dirty than last time she was there OR she found something dirty it may takes her longer to do it.
It doesn't mean that she doesn't want to go home or whatever but she faces some kind of problem in the place that she has to deal with let's say place is dirty, lots of things to do which maybe she won't finish it in the exact time that this woman tell her, ... Sorry to say but you are not nice because she only come to your place let's say once a week and you complain even the way you have to stay longer in one room to wait for her to finish in the other room think about the place is not her place but she only come to help you and you are complaining about that. Sorry but some people is bizarre.

InvictusVersinium Tue 15-Mar-16 13:43:49

mylife I can see from your other posts that you are a cleaner. Perhaps you've had clients who have dealt with you unfairly in the past and are projecting that here?

The OP has taken the time to post on an internet forum to get feedback in order to deal fairly with her cleaner. OP has tried to communicate clearly and has given her cleaner lots of chances to rectify the problems. The OP does not want to fire the cleaner and is trying to find a workable solution, surely this all very level handed and fair?

No one posting here is being bizarre. The cleaner is being bizarre by doing things that her client has specifically asked her not to do!

starfishmummy Tue 15-Mar-16 13:56:37

Perhaps there is a reason why she prefers to leave later - I am thinking something like getting to her next job or picking kids up from school; leaving on time she would be early and would rather wait in a nice house than on street corner.

As for the magazines being moved, things refolded surely this is classic cleaners behaviour so you know they have cleaned under them?

InvictusVersinium Tue 15-Mar-16 14:48:41

Starfish If that is the case then the cleaner needs to adjust her working schedule so that her cleaning shift ends at the time she needs to leave. It is unreasonable of the cleaner to expect to stay at her client's home past the time of her shift because it is convenient for her.

I have offered for my cleaner to stay late if it is raining heavily or whatever but that is exceptional, not the rule and if she asked as a one off, of course that would be fine.

As for the magazines, no, the OP was making a point that "artfully" arranging magazines is a waste of time when there is other obvious cleaning that has not been done.

mylife123 Tue 15-Mar-16 14:52:22

InvictusVersinium > I am in here just to be in the place of cleaner cause the reason is everybody knows that cleaner is working hard to help you even 2 hours you feel tired. First of all, cleaner has to finish lots of work in only 2 hours, she has to do the job very quick to finish on time,...
It might be i am too direct to deal with OP but think about she is complaining even she is waiting the cleaner longer in the other room which is for me this kind of character is bizarre cause she may stay longer in one place because she has lots of things to do and have to stay more longer why she is complaining about this little things which even her cleaner only stay 2 hours in her place not even more than 3 hours. So, how to rectify the problems if let's say she expect her cleaner to finish lots of things in only 2hours as i said it might be her place is dirty than before. So, if she want a workable solution first of all for me she has to deal it nicely say ok if you stay longer i am sorry i can't pay more than 20 pounds and it's depends on her cleaner if she want to stay longer or not. But in the mean time she has to think about the amount of work she is expecting the cleaner do it because 2hours it's not enough to finish lots of things in one time go so if it's that the case she should reduce the amount of work that she expects the cleaner do it.
Why do you think she is bizarre let's say you are at home you see all of her gestures the way she is working, her movement,... and you blame your cleaner bizarre for me it's OP is bizarre not a cleaner cause as i said above even she is moaning for a little things that her cleaner does or her cleaner only stay 2 hours in her place. LOL
So why she is not talking nicely with her cleaner then ask why she stay longer in one place or ask if she need more time to finish the job???

LancashirePudding Wed 16-Mar-16 07:10:48

mylife I don't find your views too direct but I don't agree with them and I think your are projecting your own experiences. The cleaner doesn't "only come to help". She isn't cleaning my home as a favour, it is a job and, like other jobs, one that she is paid for.

If you read my posts you'll see that I have tried to speak to the cleaner about this. I have worked as a cleaner myself and I am always considerate about how I leave the house before she comes.

The arrangement that has been in place since the start is that she cleans for X number of hours and that whatever is not done after that time should be left. You'll see that I've suggested she vary which work she does in different weeks or cut some jobs/rooms out altogether in order to finish within the set time. I don't know how I can be clearer to her that she shouldn't be staying past X number of hours.

No, I don't want to pay her additional money because I have arranged the number of hours for her to come around what I can comfortably afford. Most of us who are contracted a certain number of hours wouldn't then expect to work over those hours and be paid extra without prior agreement from our boss.

Let me ask you a question- do you think it's ok that she has been going in rooms that she's not supposed to be cleaning? Do you not find it strange that, if there's too much work to do in the set number of hours, one week she takes it upon herself to go into a (closed) set of drawers and start folding my husband's underwear? When she has never been asked to do that and has never done that before?

Starfish she varies what time she arrives so she could arrange her start time to tie in with the next job if she wanted to.

Thank you Invictus, I am absolutely trying to be fair.

TheoriginalLEM Wed 16-Mar-16 07:26:02

honestly. This seems like a no brainer to me. get another cleaner. why would you pay to feel uncomfortable in your own home?

Keeptrudging Wed 16-Mar-16 07:34:26

No, get a new cleaner. Your priority when you've got a cleaner for a set amount of time is that she cleans the worst of it, not indulges in random stuff. I would be very annoyed if our cleaner was rearranging drawers/paperwork etc. It's invasive. It's not ok that she keeps going in rooms that she's been asked not to. You should have a good relationship with your cleaner, and you should feel that you trust her. I wouldn't want somebody cleaning my house who I didn't trust.

BurstMyBubbles Wed 16-Mar-16 07:41:44

I wonder if because you pay her a little extra she feels she has to work a little extra?

CorporeSarnie Wed 16-Mar-16 07:42:24

This is probably obvious, but have you got a checklist for her? Some cleaners will have a weekly list of what they will always do (e.g vacuum, bathrooms and kitchen, broken down a bit better), then a list of more occasional tasks, e.g. wiping skirting boards, cleaning mirrors or window insides, which they do on a rotating basis when and where there is time. A list of tasks they are not expected to do at all (e.g office in your case) is probably also advisable. I think you have been fair with her but need to be crystal clear about the jobs you wish her to do (and to leave out).

ArgyMargy Wed 16-Mar-16 08:05:59

You're being far far too nice about this. She's not doing what she's been asked to do. If it was me I would let her go.

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