Don’t under-estimate the importance of house rules for maids. All employees work best with a clear job description and ground rules for behavior and interaction with people around them. Maids are no different. Give your maid a schedule, and let her know the hours you want her to work, and the rules of the house. It’s easier to relax the rules later than institute new rules after something has gone wrong.
Like children, parameters provide maids with clear guidelines and security. They know what they can do or not do. While they are still adjusting to the Singapore way of life, it is important that you quickly establish the standards of behavior and performance that you require of her.
Having done so, do not become lax and fail to enforce your own rules. If you do choose to be more lax as you get more comfortable with the maid, do discuss and establish a new set of rules. For example, if you say that the maid must be back home by 7pm on her Sunday off-day, do not “close one eye” when she comes back after 7pm (do allow some flexibility of course). If she comes back, say, at 8pm and you are agreeable to this, then re-establish the rule that she can come back by 8pm. Do not let the standard slip. If the agreed time has changed, that’s because you have agreed to it and have communicated as such to the maid.
Communicate clearly to your maid the consequences of breaking the house rules. You might want to calibrate your disincentives to the gravity of the situation. For example, dishonesty will result in immediate dismissal. But coming home late once in a while on Sundays may result in the withdrawal of privileges.
Never threaten to send the maid back for every small offence or failure to obey instruction. This will only discourage her. Sending her back should be your last resort, reserved for the most serious of offences or bad behaviour.