Not everyone has the choice to work from home. Here, we show our appreciation for the dedication of the teams who turn up to Britomart every day to do their jobs and keep people safe. 

Many central city office staff have the option of working from home at the moment, but plenty of other workers don’t have that choice. Each day, they turn up to do their jobs, with the added responsibility of keeping themselves, their teams and their customers safe.

Their dedication is admirable, and appreciated by their regular customers. Here, David St George takes portraits of teams at Britomart, while Jeremy Hansen asks what working in person during the Red Light setting is like for them.

Left to right: Yunji Kim, Eva Beranova, Chihiro Tsukamoto, Jiri David.

JEREMY HANSEN What’s been the hardest thing about Covid restrictions?

JIRI DAVID The uncertainty. When you think you’re back on track, there’s another case and more restrictions, and you have to start again from zero. At the beginning it was really hard because a lot of our working holiday people left [to return to the countries they were from] – we lost four of them in one week at the beginning of the pandemic. But we’ve managed to keep the rest of our staff.

JH Have there been any positives to the situation?

JIRI DAVID We’ve done a lot of training, and trying different methods of making coffee. We've had the time to really dive deep and work on new things.

Left to right: Ricardo Villoso, Alex Cruz, Shieno Bilarca, Mauritz van Wyk.

JEREMY HANSEN What’s cleaning like during a red light setting? Is it easier?

RICARDO VILLOSO It’s easy because we’re a team. If anyone in our team didn’t participate in our cleaning, it would be much harder.

JH What have you had to change?

MAURITZ VAN WYK We have divided into two core teams in case someone has to self-isolate.

JH Lots of people comment on how clean Britomart is, so you must be doing a great job. Do people give you feedback as you’re working?

ALEX CRUZ When I’m cleaning, sometimes people will say, ‘What you’ve done is very nice’.

RICARDO VILLOSO I have so many friends around here who say ‘Well done’. They’re all really happy to come here.

JH What are you looking forward to when the restrictions ease?

MAURITZ VAN WYK I’m looking forward to seeing more people here again.

JH In a way, your jobs are about more than cleaning right?

RICARDO VILLOSO We’re like ambassadors – if people are lost we can tell them where to go.

Left to right: William Gou, Orlyn Agustine, Yohan Kang, Wilson Tan, Sam Daly, Suzy Snell, Nuri Kim. 

JEREMY HANSEN What’s the hardest thing about working in the red light setting?

SUZY SNELL Fewer people around means fewer customers, so there’s less work for everyone in the team.

JH What are you looking foward to when restrictions ease?

ORLYN AGUSTINE Not wearing a mask! And being able to put red lipstick on. And seeing more people, too.

JH What have you done to help keep your customers safe?

SUZY SNELL We’ve masked up, we’ve got vaccinated. We’ve all done the right thing.

Left to right: Soumya Kiran, Rashmi Dandgaual, Philip Stack, Nancy Garg, Roma Tallon.

JEREMY HANSEN What are you looking forward to most when restrictions are eased?

RASHMI DANDGAUAL Going back to India to see my family.

ROMA TALLON Not having to scan guests in anymore!

NANCY GARG Not wearing a mask in the kitchen. It’s really hard to work in.

JH What’s the most challenging thing about working with Covid restrictions?

PHILIP STACK Customers not understanding the guidelines that have been set up to protect us. Most people are really good, but some people can be quite difficult.

RASHMI DANDGAUAL Making them understand we’re doing it for their own good.

JH Are there any positives to working during Covid restrictions?

PHILIP STACK There’s a deep understanding the hospo is having a difficult time. People ask ‘are you ok?’ or ‘how is the business?’ The regulars don’t want to lose the venues that they love.

Left to right: Tanesya Ranchod, Martin Andrews, Hannah Khanna, Lily Rojanarungtawee.

JEREMY HANSEN Are people nicer to deal with during Covid restrictions?

TANESYA RANCHOD Most people are really nice, but get the odd one that’s on edge and grumpy. We just try to be friendly.

JH What are you most looking forward to when Covid restrictions ease?

LILY ROJANARUNGTAWEE I look forward to more people coming, and welcoming more travellers and international students.

JH Do people still like shopping in person rather than online?

TANESYA RANCHOD 90 percent of customers love that they can come to the store and shop. Some of them just want things back to normal and are a bit anxious. But we’re all double-vaccinated, we wear our masks, and we have really good safety measures in place so we can create a really good experience for people. We just want more people to come here to Britomart because it’s so beautiful.