The Window Cleaning Dilemma (Part 1)

Since we’ve started connecting customers and cleaners back in January 2015, we have received quite a lot of questions pertaining to the task of window cleaning. In Singapore, this issue is especially relevant to us as the majority of residents live in high rise buildings and therefore, there’s always the danger of falling whilst cleaning the exterior window panes.

It was reported in 2012 that there were 10 cases of foreign domestic workers who fell to their death while cleaning windows. This led to action by MOM, implementing a law which requires that all foreign domestic workers to have an adult present to supervise them while they were cleaning the exterior window panes, especially if the window grills are unlocked and open. Because of this move, the number of deaths fell to one in each of the 2 years since then.

At ProperHands, we expect the our cleaners to follow similar safety requirements. We strictly do not allow them to lean out of the windows to clean the exterior window panes. So how then should they do their job? We advise all our customers to have an extendable window wiper available so that the cleaner can simply reach out to clean even with the window grills safely locked.

These window wipers can typically be purchased at many local stores selling housewares and home cleaning tools or at your nearest supermarkets. For those seeking a slightly higher quality and multipurpose wiper, 3M has a 3-in-1 multipurpose wiper which allows you to Foam, Scrub and Wipe all window and glass surfaces. Although it can be slightly more expensive than a normal wiper, it enables you to clean the windows in an enjoyable and effortless manner.

No matter which tool you get, this will definitely ensure that the cleaners are kept safe while they keep your home clean!

Cleaner Interview: Mdm Tay Bung Chu

This series of posts focus on ProperHand’s unsung heroes, the cleaners. These interviews allow us to share a little about the lives of the hardworking people who lovingly take care of our homes.

tay-bung-chu-article-profile

Tell us a little about yourself.

Currently I’m a grandmother of one and also doing freelance cleaning for households.  I’ve always been an avid learner. Earlier this year, I’ve used up government subsidies to take up English lessons to improve my language proficiency. This has helped me to communicate better with my customers during the cleaning sessions so that I can identify their needs.

Back in the days, I’ve always liked to “jio” my sisters for shopping spree or hanging around wet markets together. With the birth of my granddaughter few years back,  however, such activities are a thing of the past (Laughs).  Nowadays, I’ve been occupied with both babysitting my granddaughter and ProperHands assignments.  Occasionally, I do meet up with ex-colleagues and friends to catch up and keep updated on each others lives. I also like traveling a lot! I’ll make it a point of going for an overseas trip at least once a year with my sisters so that we can take the opportunity to catch up.

What made you want to join ProperHands as a cleaner?

After having a few months break because my previous employers ended their operations in Singapore, I’ve gotten bored at home as I only have to take care of my granddaughter in the late afternoons. Furthermore, there’s no one else at home because my husband is still working. In an attempt to find myself something to occupy my time, I’ve tried checking with the local community centre first for culinary or flower arrangement courses but the fees were too expensive! During that period, I saw a ProperHands recruitment advertisement in the newspaper by chance when I was checking the weekly supermarket promotions. As the advertisement stated that ProperHands was looking for flexible timing home cleaners, I thought it would be suitable for me as I still have to take care of my granddaughter.

What do you think about the freelance industry?

Initially I thought ProperHands was just offering a part-time job where I have to commit a fixed amount of hours each day and do assignments for 5-6 days a week. However, during the briefing at ProperHands’ office, the executive explained that it is even more flexible than that! We get to choose the days and the respective timings that we are available and ProperHands will try to match customers whose request falls into our schedule. Additionally, ProperHands also tries to help us find customers close to our homes so transportation is not a big concern.

I feel that this freelance arrangement is very good for housewives like me. For instance, sometimes when I have an impromptu event on a day when I have assignments, I have the flexibility to ask the customer for an alternative job timing. This flexibility is rarely seen in traditional part-time jobs as the manager will usually ask you to take urgent leave on the day when such scenario happens. If alternative arrangements could not be made, ProperHands can also help me by sourcing for a replacement for that session so the customer can still enjoy the cleaning services if I’m unavailable.

We’ve received many great reviews from customers regarding your work, how do you consistently deliver such good results?

For every job I do, I always take the tasks as something I am greatly passionate in.  In the context of home cleaning, I always treat my customers’ home like my own so I set high standards for the cleaning.  To achieve that, I always strive to reach the customer’s home slightly earlier and leave only when all the tasks are done. Although there are times where I’ve stayed longer than required, I feel we (the cleaners) ought to provide our services with the highest standards.

How do you feel about home cleaning assignments now that you’ve been doing it for quite a while?

I feel that one of the perks of the job is definitely interacting with people and improving my conversational skills. In my previous jobs, my social circle was among my ex-colleagues and we were all focused on getting our tasks done with minimal interaction. At ProperHands, we are facing multiple customers from various assignments, there is the opportunity to improve my communication skills as I am exposed to customers from diverse backgrounds.