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NOTES FROM THE 21st of November 2019
Bird & Bird Forum.

Questions were asked and our 70 FOH Manager attending joined in with their points of view.


Q: Why is team building important?

1: We feel invested-in and more valued within the company.
2: As a manager you can get one message out to everyone at the same time, rather than doing individual meetings and things get confused. 
3: Wearing a uniform can present the corporate image, however it can also be harder to visualise the team member as normal people, with  feelings. Whether that is hospitality staff or reception. Getting out of your normal environment in relaxed clothing is a much more real way to get to know people better.
4: Being on reception is different from working in a busy loud office with others. Many times receptionists don’t get the chance to build a relationship with their colleagues. You can’t converse and share a joke when you’re the face of the company.
5: It is important to build relationships between ALL the teams, catering, IT, reception, facilities – normally you don’t have time to talk cross-department and people really don’t understand each other’s jobs and what is involved…..so for a respectful and happy working environment it is important to understand the other departments and their needs. This can’t happen during work time.
6: It would also be good to have a cross training day. A chance to understand each other’s concerns.
7: When things go wrong and the stress levels are high. You have to work together with AV and Catering to ensure meetings happen on time and with the correct facilities. If you don’t ever meet the opposing team outside of work, if you only deal with them on the phone… it’s a lot easier to be abrupt or rude. Team building builds bridges.
(One company mentioned their global corporation has a ‘Support professional’ day every year.  “Every 2 years it’s an overnight event.  Office services – team building, IT and other departments all together.  We come out feeling motivated and ready to go.”)

How do you get the days out of the office for team building? 

1: We have temps for FOH for the week even though we are away for just one day, so they can be trusted to manage.  Plus back office.  Everyone knows globally what’s happening.  The company realised the investment pays dividends because of everyone’s motivation. 
2: Because of the shift issue, evenings don’t work. The only option is the weekend, however unless there is an incentive or days in lieu it’s difficult getting the full team. 

THE FORUM DISCUSSION THEN MOVED ON TO OTHER AREAS OF INTEREST

Q: What do you do when clients or employers ask you to print documents wondering if they have a print room dept or do reception deal with it.
1: Depends on the size, if it’s massive doc no…. some do anyway….
2: Clients get a card to send any document to an email where they get a code and can print off by themselves in the print room.

Q: How much choice do you give your clients when ordering breakfast, lunch and canapés
1: Launched new hospitality brochure, breakfast option, refreshment trays, different lunch options from sandwiches to private dining, afternoon teas, sweet treats with coffee/refreshments. 

Generally most places said the choice was
…. breakfast choice 5 options.  5 options for lunch. 

2: One member had an office with 700 people. Hot food/cold food all brought in.  Wanted to know what level should be for an onsite catering team.  Is 700 worth it? They have 4 receptionist…. Yes it was thought they should have on site catering team.
(Thoughts – Most places from 250 people upwards would have one)

Q: Waste management.  When tendering for new business deals; how a company handles waste management – could be one reason for them losing the client. It’s becoming an essential part of many contracts, thoughts?

1: Trying to manage waste in efficient ways.  Problem culture, people not used to segregating.  Small signs everywhere help. Ie food waste only, mixed recycling.  People don’t do it properly and contaminate recycling.  What good are the initiatives? 
2: Coffee waste is recycled for BBQ blocks. Single use plastic… needs to be stopped.
3: One member introduced in staff restaurant single use plastic ‘vegware’ – compostable, visitors passes are compostable.  Across all floors – 9 floors, are big green frog bins for waste – food and vegware – which are taken away. 
4: Anaerobic digesters are now being used more and more
5: The more companies ask for them the more suppliers on the market.
6: Sustainability is a buzz word for new candidates and clients.  One member’s company has ‘Grow – green champions FOH’, part of inductions is to educate new starters on recycling practices.  They have a good relationship with ‘Paper Round’ – you can go to their plant to see what happens.  They get involved with anything environmental.  Recycle coffee beans. 
New Clients will do an audit, and not recycling can make a difference.

Q: Do law firms and banks have waste paper baskets in rooms?  
This is a big no no.  Teams can be blamed if there is confidential information in the bins. 

Q: Apps – new technology.  What’s happening?
Plan Day’ amazing App.  Team asking for different shifts.  Set your shift patterns, enter names, teams can do swaps, send messages etc. 

Q: Who uses WhatsApp for internal groups,. 
Some do, some don’t.

Q: Wants to know how long and hard is it when company is re-branding .
Extremely slow, even the pens took 6 months, selling communications, signatures, signage in meeting rooms, tiny tiny details……
It can just take a long time.

The discussion continued from the main room into the adjoining hospitality floor for more wine, competitions and discreet one-on-one assistance with forum members.

To return to the main client menu – hit Receptionist Needed