Sunday 04 December 2022

Make light work of working from home: hire a cleaner!

Is working from home a permanent part of your job, but are you still dealing with domestic duties? This might be the right time to take the plunge and find a cleaner.

‘There are many nicer things to do than spend your time cleaning,’ says Michelle van Os, managing director of Helpling, an online marketplace which has been connecting households in the Netherlands with reputable cleaners for eight years now.

The user-friendly platform allows households to browse cleaners in their area, read any reviews, and check their availability and rates. ‘You can make a proper choice about which person you would like to invite into your home,’ explains Michelle. ‘It’s very transparent.’

Finding a cleaner is easy

Cleaners can be contacted directly through the platform – handy if you have questions – and all payment is online. Rescheduling an appointment, skipping a clean while you are on holiday, or trying someone new are all at the touch of a button.

For hard-working expats who would rather spend their weekends exploring their new surroundings, Helpling is particularly useful. ‘Newcomers don’t usually have the network that the locals do, and it can be hard to find a cleaner,’ explains Michelle. ‘Helpling makes it easy. Five clicks and you’ve booked someone in.’

Helpling contacts all cleaners to discuss their experience and motivation as part of their screening process and encourages them to add a VOG (certificate of good conduct) to their profiles. All cleaners are insured for major damage and customers can phone or email the advice centre with any questions or issues.

How do the Dutch clean?

Helpling is active in eight different countries, including Singapore, where it is common to have help with cleaning. Bringing the concept to the Netherlands, with its Calvinist work ethic, has been more challenging. ‘I don’t think Dutch people find it easy to let someone else do their cleaning,’ says Michelle, whose clients tell her that they often clean before the cleaner comes.

The Dutch are less inclined to leave instructions, too. ‘The cleaners really need to figure out what needs to be done,’ says Michelle. This may also be because many Dutch clients speak to the cleaner in person. ‘With Dutch households, it’s very common that the customer is home,’ she says. ‘And it’s super common, as well, that the client offers the cleaner some coffee and has a chat.’

Little extras

Most Dutch people, she’s noticed, want basic cleaning: bathroom, kitchen, vacuuming and mopping; or a one-off clean after a big party. ‘All those little extra things that are not specifically part of a standard clean, that’s much more common with international clients,’ she reveals. Ironing and changing bed linen are two domestic chores international workers are keen to farm out!

Newcomers to the Netherlands may find it surprising that Dutch people tend not to hide their homes behind blinds and net curtains.

‘You walk around the streets and you can literally look into every home,’ says Michelle, who admits that this doesn’t mean that the Dutch are less nosy than other cultures. ‘In general, people are quite curious,’ she says. ‘People do observe their neighbours; they do look into the windows.’

To find out more about Helpling, visit their website or get in touch by email. You can also download the app via Google of the Apple store.

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