09 Apr Behind the scenes: An interview with our Housekeeper, Ricarda
Ricarda is a key member of our team of housekeepers. Every day she cleans our properties in order to provide our guests with the high standards they’re looking for when staying with City Relay. Operations are at the heart of City Relay and we wanted to come and spend some time with Ricarda to find out what it’s really like being a housekeeper at City Relay.
Marion, our marketing assistant, went to interview her.
Marion: Hello Ricarda, before to start I would like to know a bit more about you. What is your story?
Ricarda: I come from a very wealthy family in Portugal and I used to have my own construction company. We were one of the main suppliers of automatic sliding doors for Shell. I thoroughly enjoyed what I did and I made it my goal to ensure that all of my employees were happy. Unfortunately, the big 2014 economic crisis hit Portugal and I had to shut down my enterprise.I then took the decision to explore the world. I took up a position in Barcelona for a year and a half in an Industrial Laundry company. At 47 years old it was the first time I worked for someone! After my adventures in Spain, I decided that it was time for a change of scenery. I then moved to Australia, near Sydney, where I took a position as a room attendant in a 5-star hotel named Chateau Helene. People were nice and all the managers respected me and my work. I arrived in London in October 2015 and started work as a domestic cleaner: I took care of housekeeping, cooking, ironing etc for families across London. I started work at City Relay on 28th August 2017. I found my position on Job Today and Pedro, the director of operations hired me.
Marion: Do you enjoy working for City Relay?
Ricarda: *she grins cheekily*
Of course I like my job, I have a beautiful man working with me” (referring to Pedro). On a more serious note though, I really like my job and the environment. I can speak Portuguese every day so I feel comfortable however I also have great opportunities to improve my English. I love learning about other cultures, something I am able to do thanks to the multicultural team I’m working with.
Marion: What does your average day at City Relay look like?
Ricarda: There is no average day at City Relay! When I arrive at the office I check my planning and find out what I have on my plate for the day. It’s never monotonous as I’m cleaning different flats every day which is perfect asI hate routine! Also, the fact that I don’t know how I will find the flat is kind of thrilling. The only thing that is average in my day is that I always press the snooze button, just for 10 minutes more in bed! I like the fact that I’m working with a young team and I really feel respected by everyone, both my teammates and managers. I am so proud to work at City Relay, we have such an amazing team.
Marion: According to you, which quality makes you so great at your job?
Ricarda: My best quality in this job is that I’m a perfectionist and detail oriented. Sometimes it’s tricky as I can’t ignore some details that most people will be able to. One example of this comes from when I worked in the laundry company in Barcelona. Part of my job was ironing towels for a hotel. I noticed small stains on the towels and highlighted this to management, however, the hotel didn’t care about it as it was a low standard. But I just couldn’t iron them, it was important to me to make sure they were perfect first! As a result, my manager moved me away from this client as she knew how important perfection was for me and that I would never settle for less than the best quality! One thing that I particularly enjoy in my role is making the beds in the properties. It enables me to use both my creativity and my obsession with perfection! This is a skill that I have developed over time. I know from personal experience how lovely it is to get into a comfortable well-made bed at the end of a long day and I want to share this with our guests.
Marion: Can you describe the best day you have had at City Relay?
Ricarda: That’s a difficult question! * She thinks takes a long pause whilst deciding on how to answer*
It’s difficult to choose the best day I have had at City Relay, I had loads of them! My happiest memory at City Relay was the Christmas Party. It was a day off for me, when I arrived at the party I was so glad to be reunited with all the team and spend time with people from the headquarters, the reception desk and my teammates from the warehouse! Everyone was so kind. We had such an amazing time! Another great day for me was my Birthday! I was working all day and then I went to the headquarters for our monthly meeting. It was the first time the “cleaner of the month” scheme was implemented and I won! I was so proud to be rewarded for a work I enjoy so much, I still have the certificate at home! Then we all went to the company Halloween Party, yes my birthday is the same day as Halloween!
Marion: Do you have a contact with clients?
Ricarda: Sometimes I meet clients if they ask for an extra cleaning or an if they ask for an early check-in. I always make sure they’re happy and I’m glad to help with anything they need. On some occasions, I really get along with guests and we’re still in contact today! I always come forward to help guests feel at home and I’m happy to interact with them when I feel that they’re keen to interact with me.
Marion: What was the strangest situation you had to face?
Ricarda: *She chuckles as she nods her head*
One day I was cleaning a flat and when I left I forgot my backpack containing all of my cleaning tools. When I came back for it, I couldn’t find it anywhere and I got in quite a panic! As I didn’t want to delay my schedule, I carried on with my day and went to the next property- unsure of how I was going to do my job! When I arrived at the property, I was so relieved to find the all the product I needed. Everything, except for gloves… When it was time to clean the toilets I had a plan! I wrapped cling film around my hands, even around each finger! Nothing stops me from leaving the properties perfect!
Marion: What makes you so good at what you do?
Ricarda: I like things clean, I can’t stand dirty things in general. I can’t help myself, I’m obsessive about cleaning everywhere I go! So I guess this is why I’m good at what I’m doing. When a flat needs more cleaning that the amount of assigned time, I always do extra hours without complaint. As I said I’m really detail oriented. On one occasion, I was so determined to have everything perfect, I stayed an additional 1h30!
Marion: Is your job at City Relay different than your previous experiences?
Ricarda: This job is really different from my life back home. However, something I have had to accept is that life can be difficult. Like everyone, financial security is important to me, but something I have learned is that self-satisfaction is even more rewarding! The praise and respect that I get from my team and managers mean so much to me.
Marion: If you were speaking to a child, how would you describe your job?
Ricarda: If I had to explain what I do to a child? I would say that my job is to make sure that people spend their holidays in the nicest environment possible!
As a team, we would like to thank Ricarda for all her amazing hard work, her kindness and her enthusiasm. It’s a pleasure to work with her and we’re really grateful to have her on our team. During this interview, we got the opportunity to learn more about her story and share it with you.
Let us know if you would like more interviews with our amazing team members!