Is it OK to Text Nannies After Hours?

7 Mar

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Lately I have been reading quite a few blogs on whether or not it is ok for a boss to contact a nanny in their off hours.

 

Since I am a bit conflicted myself about doing that with our own staff, I have been trying to put myself in the shoes of both parties and to come up with a general consensus on what is appropriate. While being a nanny technically has a starting and ending point (when a nanny goes home each evening), being a mom or dad does not, and this can be tough when a family needs to ask a nanny a question.

 

Not only do I work for the family I care for, but I also consider the mother to be one of my best friends. We often text each other during  “off” hours about our work-outs, recipes, or just funny jokes, and I enjoy it. To be honest, I actually love it when I get a message on my off days with a picture of the kids or a funny joke, because I miss them.

 

However, I know another nanny who gets messages non-stop during the late evening hours and early morning hours, so here is the question I would like to ask, “Under what circumstances should an employer contact their employee outside of work hours?”

 

This answer can be a slippery slope.

 

Since nannies often become a part of the family, the lines between employee/friend can often be blurred. Naturally I did some additional reading through nanny support groups to see what I found other nannies to be saying, and here are some general rules I came up with:

 

When it is ok:

  1. Schedule changes: Always give your nanny as much heads up as possible if you are going to ask them to stay later or come in earlier. Nannies also need to remember that sometimes the answer has to be “no”, but giving the family that response as soon as possible helps with any scheduling conflicts and ensuring the family has back-up care.
  2. If the family can’t find something that could avoid a potential child breakdown, but only AFTER the family has searched themselves (ie: missing a blankie or stuffed animal before bedtime)
  3. Sending an occasional message with a cute picture of the kids or something funny that they did. This always makes my day (but some nannies may want to leave work at work).

 

When it is not ok:

  1. Telling a nanny you’d like them to do something different, or that they are doing something incorrectly.
  2. After 9pm and before 9am on days off, unless it is an absolute emergency. Nannies often do have other things going on their lives (ie: another job, school, and just downtime in general). I was once texted during my grandfather’s funeral by a former employer (this was 5 years ago) when she knew I was there.
  3. Following up a text less than an hour after the first text. This has never happened to me unless I am on the clock, when I should always be available. However, when I am off, there are a few hours here and there where I put my phone down.

 

 

Please remember, this is different for every family and nanny! If you are respectful of other people’s time, you will be fine!

 

<3Katie

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