The Life of a Busy Receptionist (and How to Make It a Little Easier)

The job of a front desk professional is anything but easy. Handling callers' questions, dealing with visitors and vendors who can be demanding or rude, juggling the demands of multiple bosses, handling paperwork and mail ... the list goes on and on. Here are some tips, however, on how to make your life in this challenging role much simpler.

Front desk professionals and receptionists are part and parcel to nearly all major firms, and their jobs make numerous demands that are difficult to resist. Phone calls, file handling, appointment scheduling, computing, managing information and orders, analyzing data…whew, this work profile requires some serious multi-tasking! But can all front desk workers handle this workload all the time? Rarely, unless they are truly exceptional. Here are some tips for the rest of us that should help lower the stress levels for these ever-demanding jobs:
  • Learn to manage your time effectively: Don’t waste your time doing unimportant things. Completing lighter work in between tougher tasks will help in reducing your stress. Complete the tasks which are boring, tedious, and uninteresting first, and then concentrate on those which are interesting and easier on your mind.

  • Refresh yourself from time to time: If you like music or reading, indulge in it occasionally when your schedule allows. This will help you to stay calm and composed, and will help you in dealing with customers. Also, your body language says it all. Remember, you are a representative of the organization, so carry yourself well.

  • Stay focused: While at work, always stay focused. Never give your employer the chance to complain — any slacking will ultimately result in higher stress levels than before, as your employer will push more and more work on you so that you don’t waste your time. Employers want their money’s worth from you.

  • Learn to say no to things you cannot change: Receptionists sometimes encounter situations where they are assigned tasks that might be impossible for them to do. If you are stuck in this type of a situation, don’t overstretch yourself doing things you cannot do justice to. This might result in unwanted tension, and your boss might think you will be able to pull it off every time. Don’t create a false picture in the mind of your employer as it will be stressful for you in the future. Learn to be assertive and how to say no without upsetting or offending people. Accept the things you cannot change. Changing a difficult situation is not always possible.

  • Avoid unnecessary conflict: Don't be too argumentative. Is it really worth the stress? Look for win-win situations. Look for a solution to any dispute that will allow both parties to achieve a positive outcome.

  • Try to see things differently: If something is bothering you, try to see it differently. Talk over your problem with somebody before it gets blown out of proportion. Often, talking to somebody else will help you see things from a different and less stressful perspective.

  • Avoid using alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine as coping mechanisms: Long term, these faulty coping mechanisms will just add to any problems. For example, caffeine is a stimulant and our bodies react to it with a stress response.

  • Take good care of yourself: Get plenty of rest. Eat well. Do not smoke. Get good sleep, too.

We cause ourselves a great deal of stress because we like people to like us and do not want to let people down. But we should also bear in mind the limitations of our abilities and time constraints. Managing time, getting frequent small breaks from work, and maintaining total focus during work are some of the things that will help a front desk professional to enjoy a great stress-free career in the future.
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