Working on a large estate usually means there’s plenty going on, so it’s rare to experience any downtime, let alone time to catch up on admin.
We’ve put together a list of tasks that are ideally suited to those occasions when the family is out of town for a period of time. If there’s anything that can be done to minimize the disruption to your Principal and/or family’s experience of the estate, so much the better. These are the jobs that you might not need to complete more than once a year if that. On completion though, you’ll have a stunning, organized and welcoming residence for your Principal to return home to.
These renovations might include light paintwork and touch-ups to spaces that have started to look tired. Let the tradesmen know how much time they have to complete the tasks at hand, inviting them to review the space ahead of time. It might not hurt to give false deadlines (just in case) and could be worth checking that they have a suitably-sized team available who can complete the task within the set time-frame. Ensure you complete your due diligence and contact referees to check off these queries too.
When your Principal returns they’ll marvel at how fresh everything looks. Our hot tip is to freshen the home with stunning Jo Malone scented candles to remove any residual fresh paint odors.
Strip, wax and buff the floors
Your Principal won’t want to see this while they’re at home. The process can create toxic fumes, appear unsightly, produce noise and take a long time if you have a lot of surface to cover. By organizing it while the house is empty, you can be sure of doing a great job without the worry of interrupting the day-to-day lives of the family.
Conduct staff appraisals
When your Principal is away, take the time to prepare your reviews and meet with staff. Unfortunately, many private households are guilty of not doing this enough, but we’d love to see more private employers encourage career progression and opportunities within their teams. This can result in improved productivity, a drive to succeed and enhanced morale. It will also make you a more attractive employer to prospective candidates.
Estate Managers and house managers hold highly diverse roles, and while you might think that you’re doing a great job (you probably are), there’s always room to up-skill to ensure you’re making the most of the latest available technology. If you haven’t done so for a while, write out your job description and consider how technology or training in certain areas might help you to perform even better.
Take time off
If all the above are taken care of, pat yourself on the back and take a couple of weeks off! There’s no better time to take your annual leave and refresh yourself.
About the author: Laura Glendenning is Head of Tiger Private, a London-based consultancy specializing in private staff support recruitment for private individuals and family offices. Prior to joining Tiger, Laura held Private PA and Chief of Staff roles for over ten years. Tiger Private is part of the Tiger Recruitment Group which also focuses on secretarial recruitment in London.