Superwomen | Concierge | Book Review | Professionelle

imagegenLife is busy – we hear this all the time and it’s true.  Here we are and it’s March. Where did January and February go?

Yes, life is busy and getting busier.  It’s not uncommon for people to have two jobs, two homes, and to be caring for elderly parents. Children seem to have more activities after school, work and career demands are greater, there are more self employed people, people are working well past retirement age and we’re a nation of DYIers so any downtime we have can always be filled with projects around the home.

Growth industry

One industry that is experiencing tremendous growth because of busy lives and people juggling all those commitments is the concierge industry.  The International Concierge and Lifestyle Management Association states that the industry is growing by an average rate of 28% per annum.  We probably all think of hotels when the word concierge comes up, that “go to” person when you’re on holiday and want to know where to book a tour or make a dinner reservation.  Concierges are definitely still in hotels, but today also in apartments, businesses, in hospitals, at universities – and at home helping busy people with their busy lives.

Stress, struggle and statistics

Of course, busy people with busy lives can suffer stress and burnout.  In NZ, stress is thought to play a role in almost 80% of illnesses and absences (OSH study).  There is a variety of reasons for stress and burnout, but often it’s hard juggling all the demands on us, when we have paid work on top of the unpaid work that also has to get done.

In a Department of Statistics Time Use Survey it tested the anecdotal belief that women work a “double shift” of paid work and unpaid work with domestic duties, etc.  The statistics showed that men and women have similar amounts of productive activities per day, about 6.75 hours.   The majority of men’s productivity activities were related to paid work (63%) while the majority of women’s were unpaid activities (65%).  Unpaid tasks were general housekeeping activities, purchasing goods and services, childcare and other activities such as helping neighbours, community service, etc.  Women spend on average 4 hrs 20 minutes each day on unpaid work as opposed to men at 2 hrs 32 minutes.  But combined that’s nearly 7 hours each day that is required to get other things done!

Getting other things done while trying to work is difficult.  We all struggle with this and feel pulled and stretched because of it.  Our employers feel it too, as they cast an eye over the cost of down-time or unproductive time when employees, amongst other things, may be tending to ‘out of work tasks’.  In an Ernst & Young Productivity Pulse Survey of 1200 New Zealanders, it showed that wasting time at work costs NZ $19 billion annually. We all do it: we make that call to sort the power bill out, and we run over time during our lunch break as we run a few personal errands, etc.

Getting started

That’s why the concierge industry is growing.  People are learning that they can put their trust in an organisation and delegate those tasks.  It’s hard! First you have to get in the habit of passing those things over for someone else to do. Then you worry about the cost, but actually it’s often more economical for you to delegate it than do it yourself. Then there is the guilt (of course there is guilt, we’re women …” why can’t I do everything and be super woman!”) but at the end of the day there is relief, and more time, and a sense of finally having some control on things.

Just as overseas, in New Zealand concierge services are in high demand too.  So what tips do you have for working with a concierge company?

Tips for using concierges

Don’t procrastinate. It’s so easy when you’re so busy to put off doing things that should be done.  It might be a leaky window that needs to be fixed before winter, banking cheques that have sat on your desk for 4 months, sorting out the messy spare bedroom, cataloguing the last holiday photos, taking that big box of clothes to the hospice shop.  So start today and make a list.

Keep a ‘to do’ list and you’ll soon find that you’re adding to it! Whether it’s meeting that serviceman at the house, helping with the groceries (because after all even doing it online takes up your time!), scoping out the next family holiday, getting the duvets dry cleaned, returning the hired ball dress to the shop … really the list is endless and that’s why you’ll find your personal concierge to be your very own angel!  Sometimes it’s that “oh no” moment where something has gone horribly wrong and you need some help NOW, but generally it’s just every day doing the stuff that needs to get done and you either don’t have time to do or simply don’t enjoy doing it!

Trust your concierge. I know that this initially can be difficult when they’re spending your money, coming into your home when you’re not there and often have access to personal details, but they’re in the business because they can be trusted, they like to help, they’re organised and professional and they take great satisfaction in ticking off that to do list and letting you know it’s all done.

Communicate. Tell them what you like and dislike, particularly if they’re buying things for you.  If you want your Olive Oil from Nosh and not Countdown then tell them.  Often concierge companies have their own stores and suppliers they recommend, but if you have a preference tell them.  Also let them know the best way to communicate with you – do you want to know when things are done by phone, a quick text, an email?  They’re part of your support team so work out a plan that works best for you.

Relax. Relax in the knowledge that you’ve done the right thing and take the time now to do something for yourself.  Go to the gym, take a walk in the park, meet up with that friend you haven’t seen in ages, read that book that’s been sitting on your bedside table since Christmas or just have some quiet time and celebrate the fact that you’ve made a positive step in terms of your health and wellbeing.

Acknowledgement

Jenny Peploe owns The Personal Concierge Company Limited and offers personal concierge services to individuals and businesses.  Her list of services is extensive and she is always available to discuss how she can help manage your to do list, run errands or assist with events and activities around the home or for your family.  She can be contacted on 0800 111 574 or by email jenny@simplifyyourlife.co.nz

 

 

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