Most of our customers are couples expecting their first or second child and they naturally want to hire a woman who is "married" and "has kids". So it is no surprise that most of Arrow's helpers have children under 18 years of age. I conducted a short poll on our webpage and more than 90% of the respondents have children under 18 years of age. Our poll targeted mothers, so pure singles did not respond. Still, we know that great majority of helpers deploying through Arrow are mothers. I began thinking more about this after one of our helpers resigned her job. Her employer liked her very much and she also liked her employer. She resigned because she had lost touch with her 12-year-old daughter and felt that she had to go home and check to make sure her daughter was okay. I began to ask myself "what effect does the Hong Kong work schedule have on mothers who have left children behind in the Philippines? Is there anything an employer might do to help them keep their family ties strong? Have you ever thought "My helper is also a mother - when does she talk to her children?" "How does she keep her family ties strong?" Here's what we've learned -
How often do you speak with your kids?
Exactly 1/2 of respondents connect with their kids every day. They use Facebook messenger, Skype, Viber, etc. Some ladies I know get up at 4 a.m. daily to talk to their kids before they leave for school. They then go back to bed for a while and arise again to take care of their employers' children. Their commitment is amazing. The fact that 1/2 of respondents can contact their kids every day is, I hope, an indication that we have customers who are sensitive to the needs of their helpers and flexible enough to give them time each day to call their children. I wish I had asked the question "How often would you like to speak to your children?" I wonder about the other 50% - would they speak to their kids more if they could?
What is the best time of day to contact your children?
Most respondents (87%) told us that the best time to contact their kids is between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Only 13% would prefer to talk to their children from 10 p.m. - 6 p.m. Unfortunately the prime times for helpers to contact their children are also busy times for employers and their children. The helper who takes good care of her employer's children may end up losing touch with her own kids.
What should I do?
The best time for your helper to talk to her children is during work hours... so what should you do? If you are super strict and won't let her contact her kids during work hours then she may lose touch with them. If she loses the connection with her kids - the chances of her resigning will increase. So what should you do?
Talk to her about her family needs
Discuss this issue with your helper? Ask her "When is the best time for you to talk to your kids? 2nd best time? 3rd? How long do you need to talk to your kids every day? 15 min? 1/2 hour? etc. Tell her what will and what won't work for you. If you agree to a time during work hours then make a clear agreement with her about when she will talk to her family and for how long. Afterwards occasionally monitor the situation and if you find she is not keeping to the agreement remind her about the agreement she made and tell her you that you expect her to abide by your agreement.
If your helper is able to keep strong ties to her family, then she will feel confident to continue working here in Hong Kong. If she has an employer who remembers that she too is a parent who loves and needs to stay in touch with her kids, then she will stay loyal and will hopefully continue to serve your family for many years.