9 Tips When House Sitters Oversee Staff

5 Sep, 2023

9 Tips When House Sitters Oversee Staff

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Veteran house sitter Jill Shelton spills her secrets for when house sitters oversee staff. Read her fascinating blog drawn from extensive personal experience to learn her top tips for other housesitters.

9 Tips When House Sitters Oversee Staff

One of the more unique experiences I’ve had house sitting during the last 12 years, is where house sitters oversee staff. Like me, you might come across a house sit where the homeowners have employed staff to look after their property, which may include pool maintenance, garden care, house cleaning and even cooking.

Home owners may also have engaged the services of a dog walker, dog groomer or dog trainer. This is more common in Latin America, South East Asia and more affluent households in the United Kingdom and the United States.

What is important when house sitters oversee staff?

When we are house sitters who oversee staff, we feel it’s important to understand our role.

House sitters who oversee staff
The trainer was very skilled and patient and a pleasure to deal with, and both the dog and I enjoyed his sessions.
Photo by Gavin Merritt

I was fortunate to experience working with a dog trainer during one of our house sits in Mexico. The homeowner left the trainer’s contact details and money for payment with me, so as I could organise weekly training for her rescue dog.

Overseeing staff requires effective communication, clear expectations and respect for their roles. Here are some tips if you are on a house sit where house sitters oversee staff:

Clear communication

Before you begin the house sit, communicate with the homeowners to understand their expectations of you as house sitters overseeing staff and about the staff’s routines.

Clarify the days and times the staff attends the property and specific tasks they do. You will need to know what your responsibilities will be in relation to their roles. Ask whether you need to be present to let in the workers or whether they have keys. Ways to enhance communication.

Cultural differences

There may be cultural differences you need to be aware of. For example, the homeowners of a house sit in Mexico told me that their staff weren’t always on time, as they didn’t maintain a strict time frame.

So we were prepared for their working hours to be a bit flexible. There are also many religious and celebratory holidays in Mexico when staff will take the day off, and this might be relevant in other countries as well. So knowing this in advance can avoid confusion or misunderstandings.

House sitters oversee staff when there are language barriers

Each week I would buy a bunch of roses for the housekeeper from the local seller who came door to door, as a gesture of my appreciation, and also a bunch for myself, to support the local seller.
Photo by Jill Shelton

You also might encounter language barriers when house sitters oversee staff, which can prove challenging. I used the Google translate app for face-to-face communication and also to translate text messages. Everyone seems to have a mobile phone these days so that’s a good solution.

Create a schedule

Based on the information the homeowners provide, create a written schedule or set up notes on your phone, so as you know exactly which days and times each of the staff will be in attendance at the property.

Then you will be there to let them in if necessary. Having a clear schedule helps plan your days and prevent misunderstandings. I used to enjoy walking into town for a coffee while the housekeeper cleaned, in order to stay out of her way.

Provide contact information

Share your contact information with the staff and ask them to contact you if they have any change of plans and can’t attend on their designated days and/or times, or have any questions or concerns.

Likewise, obtain their contact details so you can communicate with them if needed. This is really critical for house sitters overseeing staff.

Clarify how the staff will be paid

When homeowners have regular house cleaners engaged, they might give you the option of having them continue their scheduled work during your housesit, or cancelling them during that time.

When house sitters oversee staff they or you might even be asked to pay for the house cleaning. If you choose to have them continue while you’re in the role. It’s important to have this discussed and decided before you agree to be a house sitter overseeing staff.

House sitters oversee staff in Mexico

In Mexico, during all my house sits, the staff continued with their duties for the entire period of the house sit, at the homeowners request. The owners organised money in envelopes for me to pay the staff every week.

At another one of my house sits in Mexico, the housekeeper prepared meals for the homeowners, so I decided to continue her cooking services while we were house sitting and paid cash for that service. It was was well worth it to enjoy delicious authentic Mexican meals!

Maintain respect when house sitters oversee staff

Just as you’d want your privacy respected, do the same for the staff. Avoid unnecessary intrusion into their workspace by arranging your activities to stay out of the areas they are working in. For example, avoid trying to use the kitchen while they are cooking, or remove yourself from the areas where the floor is being washed.

Problem resolution

House sitters who oversee staff
The local bakery produced a large variety of delicious cakes and pastries which we bought for the staff’s afternoon tea, as well as enjoying some ourselves.
Photo by Fani Toli

Problems can be avoided when house sitters oversee staff by addressing any issues that arise promptly and professionally by approaching the situation with a willingness to find a solution, without having to involve the homeowners.

For example, while housesitting in Mexico, we had a house cleaner and a gardener who were employed by the homeowners, and we found that on the days they were both there the house cleaner would spend a lot of time chatting with the gardener, which meant neither of them were getting their tasks completed.

Our solution was to provide them with a nice afternoon tea after their work was completed, when they were free to relax and chat.

 Appreciation and gratitude

When house sitters oversee staff it is important to show appreciation for the house staff’s efforts by expressing gratitude and acknowledging their hard work, as this will help to create a positive atmosphere and a good working relationship.

Each week, I bought a bunch of roses for the housekeeper from the local seller who came door to door, as a gesture of my appreciation and also to support the local seller

Final thoughts on when house sitters oversee staff

In summary, effective communication and mutual respect are key to overseeing house staff while house sitting. Approach the role with a collaborative mindset, and you’re more likely to have a successful and harmonious experience.

Jill Shelton has been house sitting and pet sitting with her partner Gavin for 12 years, giving her the opportunity to travel all around her home country of Australia and to experience many international destinations.

Her love of animals also led her to volunteering in South Africa caring for lions and tigers.

In addition to international house sitting and pet sitting, Jill has walked 2 Caminos – The Via Francigena from Switzerland to Rome, and the Camino de Santiago in Spain. You can find out more about these adventures on her website: jillgavhousesitters.com


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At Housesitmatch.com we like to share useful blogs and practical advice about house sitters, housesitting and pet sitting. We hope you find this small selection of our blogs on house sitters and house sitting in London useful.

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