Our emergency service workers have had quite the year in Australia. On top of the usual daily grind of their jobs they’ve also had the additional stress of protecting us from bushfires and a pandemic. All this while trying to maintain some kind of normality within their home life.
It’s not uncommon for people who work long hours, night shifts, or on-call to rely on live-in help to assist with managing the irregularity of their work life. The peace of mind and stability that comes with knowing your family will be cared for when you need to leave at a moment's notice is priceless. Live-out help such as hiring a baby-sitter is also an option. However it requires far more planning and uncertainty due to short notice and adds pressure to an already frantic situation. It’s one of the reasons Australia needs au-pairs and nannies. You could say our emergency services and health care depend on them.
Parents working in emergency services and as first responders are being forced to use their annual leave to take time off and care for their families as a result of in-home care not being accessible. Many families who relied on after hours, in-home care were left unintentionally stranded when the Federal Government recently stopped the free child care that was made available during the height of the pandemic across Australia.
Nanny and au-pair positions within Australia are typically filled by people coming to Australia from abroad. However, due to COVID-19 many international workers in Australia are returning to their country of origin and with borders closed to new arrivals it’s creating a huge gap. As a result, it’s also preventing parents in industries such as emergency services from returning to work because they don’t have the support they need at home. Their patients and our economy need a solution.
Maintaining good mental health is vital for our emergency services workers. Emergency Services Health website talks about the challenges that families of an emergency services worker scan endure and how important it is to understand the strain and challenges of working shift work, early morning calls and anxiety associated with the job. But their partner needs support as well especially if they have children.
Even though au-pairs and nannies in short supply, there are people right across Australia who are able to take on some of the role of an au-pair or nanny who are also looking for live-in opportunities. The best part is, they aren’t limited to just helping with your children. They can also cook meals or do the laundry; whatever you need help with. The challenge is – where do you find them?
That’s where The Room Xchange comes in. We have hundreds of guests ready to ‘Xchange’ their time for room and board. A typical Xchange would involve a guest completing about 14 hours of tasks each week, and in Xchange the host provides room and board. Each Xchange is unique to the host and guest and gives everyone involved the opportunity to match priorities with strengths. It’s one way that The Room Xchange is helping families of our emergency service workers. At the same time, we’re helping Aussies get back on their feet, by using resources that already exist - time and spare bedrooms.
Article written by Gemma Jordan