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Doing the Right Thing with Just Helpers – Lydia’s Story

When Lydia first met Just Helpers Founder Antoinette, she knew she wanted to be part of it.

Doing the right thing is at the heart of Just Helpers, from a commitment to fairness, to the London Living Wage, and this appealed to Lydia straight away.“It was an instant click,” she says. “Antoinette’s ethos, passion and commitment is so inspirational.”

Working for Just Helpers

Lydia is our Finance and Enquiries Manager, and brought valuable experience to the business. Before taking a break to care for her children, Lydia had worked as an Executive Assistant to the Chief Information Officer in a large insurance company. A friend, ActionCoach James Dodd, introduced her to Just Helpers.

For Lydia, it’s the people that make Just Helpers so special. “We are a fabulous team,” she says. “We’re passionate about ensuring that we do the right thing for our clients, our Helpers and the company, and I’m proud to be part of it.”

Doing the right thing in 2020

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lydia sees dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic as being the biggest challenge she has faced with Just Helpers. After weeks of uncertainty, the team had make sure that the business could continue to deliver a service in a way that is safe for clients and Helpers alike. Again, for Lydia, it was the people that made it possible. “Our Helpers carried on, our clients supported us, we supported each other. If we hadn’t been as strong and determined, I don’t think we would have survived this far.”

Job Satisfaction

As well as the flexibility of working from home, Lydia enjoys the opportunities for learning at just Helpers. Her role has provided lots of opportunity to develop new skills, through working in different areas of the business as well as learning new software applications.

Again, Lydia recognises that the team has played a big role in her development too. “I really value feedback from the team. I’m quite a talkative person and I’ve learned to listen more, and pause before I speak. I was already quite calm but It’s made me calmer.”

As the first point of contact for new clients, Lydia spends a lot of time of the phone. “It can be quite nerve-racking, but I really enjoy it and I’m developing my communication skills all the time,” she says.

The satisfaction of working for a business that is doing the right thing makes it all worthwhile for Lydia. “I get up every day and look forward to doing my job,” she says, … “I look forward to all our dreams and aspirations coming to fruition.”

Find out more about how Just Helpers is doing the right thing, on our website.

How Just Helpers values people – Kim’s Story

Being a business that values people is an important part of the Just Helpers’ way. For Tech Project Manager Kim, this means she can balance her family’s needs with having a rewarding career. This is Kim’s story.

Working for Just Helpers
The opportunity to work for Just Helpers Cleaning Agency came at the perfect time for Kim. “I’ve know Antoinette for a while and she asked me if I was interested in helping out with some tech stuff as she knew I was looking for a change of pace,” explains Kim.

Coming into the business, Kim felt at home straight away because Just Helpers values people. “I’ve worked for several different companies in my career and culture is what I value most,” Kim says. “At Just Helpers we have a fantastic culture where everyone respects each other and we listen to each other’s ideas.”

For Kim, it’s also about working for a business that has ambition and which values people and the part they play in achieving it. “It’s really nice to work for a small company that wants to dream big, think big… but we can’t do it alone. We all have to work together,” she says.

Shared Values
It’s also really important to Kim that the she works for a business which fits with her own values. “It was easy for me to learn the culture because we are so aligned,” she says, “we just do the right things and it’s really refreshing.”

Fitting with the family
In her role with Just Helpers, Kim is able to work from home – something which makes a big difference to Kim and her family. “It mean’s more ‘me time’ in the mornings,” she explains.

Even more importantly, remote working means Kim can continue her career when her family needs to relocate. “If my husband gets opportunities in other places in the world, Antoinette trusts me and allows me to work form those places as well…so right now I’m in Bulgaria!” says Kim.”It means I can still have my own career and feel like I am part of an amazing team.”

Find our more about what makes Just Helpers amazing, by visiting our website.

Growing from Helper to Manager: Monika’s Story

Investing in our people is a big part of what we stand for at Just Helpers.  As part of our ethical ethos, we mentor our Helpers to grow in confidence, improve their communications skills, and where we can, to promote our Helpers to become managers. This is Monika’s Just Helpers’ journey from Helper to Manager.

 

Finding Just Helpers

Back in Bulgaria, Monika worked as a store manager.

Then, when she first moved to London she worked as a cleaner and also worked evening shifts in a pub in the city.

When Monika heard about Just Helpers she saw an opportunity to improve her financial situation. “I first found out about Just Helpers when I saw an ad on Facebook,” says Monika. “To be honest, the London Living Wage was a big part of why I decided to start working as a Helper. It really helped to top up my finances as well as working in the pub.”

 

Working for Just Helpers

Monika has come to really value what Just Helpers stands for.”The best thing about working for Just Helpers is knowing that you are working for an ethically and morally driven cleaning company,” she says.  “Everyone is treated fairly, and [the founder] Antoinette is really supportive and kind”.

It has also been a great opportunity to learn and develop. “I’ve learned how to work more productively,” explains  Monika.”I’ve also learned how to understand people who are different from me, and how to help them. And I’ve learned how to resolve complaints in a timely manner, which can sometimes be tricky!”

 

From Helper to Manager

To begin with, Monika found the step up from Helper to manager a big challenge, but it was one she was ready to take on.  “When I first became I manager I found it a little overwhelming and stressful, but I’ve loved it. I felt like I was growing, and I was well  prepared, so within a couple of months I was enjoying it,” she says.

Monika’s experience as a Helper has really benefited her work as a manager. “I think it’s really important that I worked as a Helper myself,” she says.  “It means that  I can help my Helper colleagues with navigation, with cleaning tips, accounting tips, with their mental health, and provide support.”

Her new role has provided Monika with lots of opportunities to develop. “I’ve learned to overcome my introvert side, and unlocking my extrovert side, so I can communicate more efficiently with people,” she explains. “I’ve also learned to be more open… I feel that I’ve grown up, I’ve become more mature and down to earth.”

 

Goals for 2020

With the current Corona Virus pandemic, this has been a challenging year for everyone at Just Helpers, but Monika is clear about what she wants to achieve. “In my work, my goals are to keep delivering great cleans to our lovely clients, and to keep supporting our Helpers during this Corona Virus outbreak,” she says. “In my personal life I want to keep my family safe.  I want to place my little boy into nursery and to juggle the work, financial and family parts of my life.”

Longer term, Monika sees herself as continuing her career with Just Helpers.  “In five years time I would love to be working for Just Helpers, if they’ll have me! I would also like to explore my tech side, and as this is part of the company’s growth plans, Just Helpers is the perfect situation for me at the moment – and I’m very happy about it!”

 

If you want to know more about what makes us different, visit our website.

 

Commercial Cleaning for your Business

During this lockdown period I’ve been working on a really exciting project with Sussex Innovation Centre to look at the future direction of Just Helpers.  In particular I’ve been looking at our commercial cleaning service.

 

Exciting Opportunity

At a Female Founders Event in February, I talked with a member of the Innovation Centre team about Just Helpers. It was so exciting to reflect on where we have come from, with someone who was seeing the business for the first time – a “fresh pair of eyes.”

Following this event, Sussex Innovation Centre gave us 12 free hours of business coaching, as part of a project funded by the European Union.

This comes at a great time for Just Helpers. Over the last few months we have been  thinking about who our clients are, what we can do better, and how we can connect with more commercial clients in particular. We already provide a great service to a number of commercial clients, and our Helpers have been asking for more of this type of work.

I spent some time with Simon Chuter from the Innovation Centre where he helped me to really focus on what we offer to our commercial clients and what makes it special.

 

Our Commercial Cleaning Service

At Just Helpers we  really care about our service.  That means:

  • Attention to detail and being responsive
  • Supporting our Helpers so they stay with us – our high retention is rare in the cleaning industry
  • Being an integral part of your team
  • Contribute to a company’s CSR as with every hour of cleaning purchased, we donate to a B1G1 project
  • Every Helper is paid the London Living Wage as a minimum
  • Taking care of your cleaning so you don’t have to!

 

Reaching New Clients

Simon is going to be developing a marketing plan for Just Helpers to help us to reach more of the commercial clients we want to work with. I am so grateful for the European Union Funding which has made this possible.

We are looking forward to working with some new commercial clients in the future. So if you are:

  • A business of 5-30 members of staff
  • Looking for 6-10 hours of cleaning a week
  • Located in Farringdon, Blackfriars, Holborn, Euston, London Bridge, Oxford St, Soho, Tottenham Court Rd, Islington, Victoria

please get in touch.

Of course we will still be providing our great service to our domestic clients too!

 

My Vision

Like many small to medium-sized business owners, I am often juggling many different aspects of the business – I often feel like a “jack of all trades”!   So it’s great to have real experts on board and supporting Just Helpers.

In addition, I will also be working with Anne-Fay Townsend looking at my role as a female founder, and my hopes and dreams for the future of the business – and they are big!

 

Involving the Team 

We’ll be holding a remote team training day for our managers in the coming weeks to look at how these developments can be rolled out across the business.  At the end of that day we will be having a whole team Zoom AGM involving the Helpers, to get their feedback and ideas.

Over the coming weeks I will be sharing regular updates with you.  Watch our for my Tuesday Thoughts, live on our Facebook page every Tuesday at around 6.15pm.

#EC1 #EC2 #EC3 #EC4 #E1 #WC1 #WC2 #SE1 #W1 #N1 #SW1

 

How to Clean Silver by Antoinette

There’s something very satisfying about sitting down to clean silver.

If you are lucky enough to have inherited a silver cream jug from Granny, or if you have silver jewellery, you’ll know that it can become tarnished very quickly.

But there’s nothing like bringing something dull and dirty-looking to a bright, shiny polish. Here are our tips on how to clean silver.

Before you begin to clean silver items

First of all, ask yourself whether the object actually needs cleaning. Sometimes a bit of tarnish is part of the design, to give it more character.  If you remove all of the tarnish you might spoil the appearance. You might not be able to see the details on engravings, for example, if you clean all the tarnish away.

Here are our Top Tips for Cleaning Silver

Wash it away

A simple solution of washing up liquid, or laundry detergent, can be enough to clean silver.  Wash the surface of the item carefully, then rinse and dry.

Rub it away

You can clean silver by rubbing the tarnish away using something mildly abrasive. Make a paste with cornstarch and water. Rub it onto the surface and leave to dry, then rub away with a cloth.  Toothpaste, and baking soda can also produce the same results.

Dissolve it away

Many people swear by tomato ketchup to clean silver. Squirt a small amount onto a piece of kitchen towel and gently rub over the surface. For more stubborn tarnish, leave the ketchup to work for a few minutes before wiping it away, then rinse in clean water and dry.  It is the vinegar in the ketchup which removes the tarnish. Lemon juice works in the same way.

Soak it away

This method uses a chemical reaction between aluminium foil and baking soda to clean silver.  Take an aluminium foil dish, add baking soda and boiling water, then place the silver items in the solution to soak for a few minutes. The tarnish should disappear, without affecting the silver underneath. Read more about how this method works, here:

How to Clean Silver Jewellery

If you want to clean silver jewellery, you will need to take special care.

  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles to clean delicate fastenings and small areas.
  • Do not clean jewellery over the sink it case you drop it!
  • Put small items into a sieve or an old tea strainer, and clean over a bowl.
  • Be very careful if your jewellery includes gemstones. Pearls can be easily scratched, for example.

How to Maintain Your Clean Silver

Now that you’ve cleaned your silver, you’ll want to keep it looking its best.

  • Silver becomes tarnished by moisture so make sure it is fully dry before storing.
  • Try storing your silver with silica gel bags.
  • Chalk can also help to absorb moisture.
  • Don’t wrap your clean silver items in newspaper; this can cause them to tarnish.
  • Try wrapping items in silver cleaning cloths.
  • Never clean silver items in a dishwasher.
  • Remove silver jewellery before washing your hands or showering so that it doesn’t get clogged with soap or hair conditioner.
  • Always take off rings before applying handcream or other cosmetics.

More Information:
For more great tips on how to clean silver and valuables, try these:

Good Housekeeping
The Victoria and Albert Museum

Need a hand cleaning your home?

Life in London is demanding and time is at a premium. Get some sparkle back into your life and home with one of our domestic cleaning packages.

Looking for commercial cleaning?

We provide a regular cleaning service for offices and commercial premises in the Greater London area, helping you maintain a professional, healthy and productive work and business environment.

We’d love to chat with you, see your space and walk you through our process.

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020 3995 4810 - Clients
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info@justhelpers.co.uk

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