How to Protect the Privacy of Your Employer on the Job
January 7, 2013 | in Nanny Tips
Nannies work in the homes of their employers and are often witness to much of their employers’ private lives. Because of this, it’s essential that nannies take the issue of confidentiality very seriously. Protecting the privacy of your employer is crucial to being able to do your job well and is also a key part of being a professional.
Keep work stories off of Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Nannies love to brag about their charges. They love to share the funny saying from breakfast, the cute story from the playground, and the milestone that was excitedly reached. It seems natural to share those stores and photos with friends and family on social media sites, however nannies must remember that while these good natured stories seem harmless, they can feel like an invasion of privacy to many employers. Before sharing any stories about or pictures of your charges, make sure to discuss it fully with your employers and obtain their permission. They may ask you to use nicknames or initials to protect their family’s privacy and security.
Nannies should also be cautious about sharing stories about their employers. Facebook and Twitter have become virtual spaces for nannies to share work challenges and get support from other nannies. While this can be a positive outlet for nannies, it can also become a breach of professionalism and confidentiality if too many details are included.
Have a clear “Do Not Share” rule for all information you learn in the home. Often it’s hard to know what information is confidential and who exactly it shouldn’t be shared with. Is it wrong to tell Grandma the family is planning a two week summer vacation? Is there a reason not to share your excitement over your boss’s promotion with the next door neighbor you’re in a play group with? Can you talk about the big fight between your employers with your nanny mentor? The best rule of thumb is to keep everything you hear from and about your employers to yourself. It’s not your place to decide what information should be shared and with whom. Even though the information may seem unimportant to you, you don’t know how your employer might view it.
Avoid private rooms and conversations. Nannies have access to the most intimate details of an employer’s life. While this is an unavoidable part of a nanny job, nannies can take steps to lessen the information they’re exposed to. Unless you have an explicit reason to be in an employer’s private space, such as a bedroom or an office, avoid those rooms. You’re more likely to stumble across personal details in those spaces, so you shouldn’t make a habit of letting your charge watch TV in Mommy’s bedroom while she’s away or of grabbing computer paper from your boss’s desk drawer when the family printer runs out.
When possible, remove yourself from situations where you’re able to easily hear personal or private conversations. Situations that you should avoid being in earshot of include arguments between your employers, phone conversations your employer is having with a friend or family member, and private client meetings, to name a few. Even when you’re not purposefully eavesdropping, it’s easy to learn things you shouldn’t know when you’re within audible range of the conversation.
Avoid the urge to snoop. Remember that it was curiosity that killed the cat. Nannies have a lot of opportunities to learn about their employers’ personal lives by simply looking at what’s in plain view. While going through a pile of papers on the counter looking for a school form, you might run across the bill for the bathroom remodel. Or you might see a note to the housekeeper as you’re walking into the kitchen. Or, when picking up household messages, you may hear the beginning of a message to your employer from a close friend. Do you scan the bill to see how much they spent on the project? Do you read the message to see what instructions your employer left for the housekeeper? Do you listen to the message to see what’s going on with your employer’s best friend? Sometimes it can be hard to resist the urge to snoop, especially when the details seem so unimportant; however intruding on your employer’s personal life is not only unprofessional, it can also cause huge problems in the nanny/family relationship.
Nannies are privy to a wealth of personal information about their employers. It’s part of the informal nature of working in someone’s home. It’s a nanny responsibility to protect her employers’ privacy in any way she can. This includes keeping private and personal information confidential and maintaining a respectful, professional attitude towards her employers.← Safety Tips for Nannies | 5 Gifts Nannies Can Give Employers for the Holidays →
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