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ANYONE CAN BE A BAD RECEPTIONIST –
ONLY A FEW CAN BE AN EXCELLENT ONE

To be a REALLY good corporate receptionist, it takes:

  • Bags of natural charm and people skills. You have it or you don’t.  However, that’s just the start.
  • Building up from that you need tact, the ability to read emotions quickly, to be organised, able to multi-task and prioritise eg: three guests arrive at once, the phone rings, a courier gets stroppy, a partner wants a vacant room, the catering team get cross because you’ve changed a lunch order  at the last minute – doing all this, literally on a stage, as the face of the company.
  • It takes strength to keep smiling when difficulties are happening around you at work… and at home, but no one would know.
  • It takes courage, empathy, reliability
  • It takes a mountain of confidence, dealing with CEO’s, Heads of State, Royalty (even just to conduct daily tasks, or walk into a meeting of Board Members to discuss an issue)
  • Corporate reception involves working closely with catering, AV and other team members to ensure those meetings happen

So alongside all this…it takes a real team player

Working as a Team is essential

Every team working together will have days when things go wrong

Team building is so important between the receptionists – to strengthen their bond, to give them the stress release, to move on from issues

However, it is also a good idea for both the catering and reception teams to have time to know each other out of the work environment. 
If you’ve never met the catering team in a social situation, if you’ve never got a feel for them as a real person, then it’s easy to be abrupt with them

Which doesn’t help when you need something done quickly in an emergency

It’s very difficult to be rude to someone on the phone when you now respect them as a friend

That’s why Team Building days are so important

We asked the FOHM Forum Managers why team building is so important – they said:

1: You 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 gets confused. 
3: Wearing a uniform can present the corporate imagine, however it can also be harder to visualise the team member as a normal person, someone with feelings. Whether that’s hospitality staff or reception. Getting out of your normal environment and 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 people don’t get the chance to build a relationship due to interruptions. You can’t converse and share a joke as easily being the face of the company.
5: It is important to build relationships between all the teams, catering, cleaning, 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: One company mentioned their global corporation has a ‘Support professional’ day every year.  Every 2 years it’s over night event.  Office services – team building, IT other departments all together.  Come out feeling motivated and ready to go.

TEAM BUILDING IDEAS

We played ‘it’s a knock out’ we had all sorts of inflatable’s, dressing up, puzzles, obstacles etc. This is when you really saw team work at its strongest there were people there of all ages and abilities and everyone helped each other out. It really made the weekend away. Everyone still talks about it to this day!

JOB SWAP DAYS

Once a year we would do a “job swap day”, It made people understand each other’s jobs and the different challenges we faced.  One of the directors covered reception, but only lasted an hour! From that moment on he had new found respect for our team. I had always moaned about the Post Room, until I spent a day with them.   I was exhausted and have never complained again.

STATISTICS

We asked 12 of our FOHM Forum members, from the most prestigious law firms in London, about their Team Building

  • 9 companies have a team building budget. The budgets range from £100 to £10,000 a year.
  • Of those with a budget; some are given this for one day out, others for two times a year and some are just given a budget which they can use throughout the year.
  • Of the nine – seven organise team building with both the catering and reception teams.
  • 3 are not given a budget at all

FEEDBACK (from those that do have a budget)

  • “Much better inter-departmental relationships”
  • “I found we now work more cohesively with less squabbling”
  • “The staff have begun to take ownership of their mistakes instead of passing the buck – therefore they strive to improve on the smallest detail – this has improved the service we offer our clients”
  • “Our staff have a better understanding of everyone’s role and duties”
  • “I have noticed the team working better together”

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