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Reception: Bringing value to the position

How busy you are at reception will depend on the company you are working for. While some receptionists barely have time to finish a cup of coffee, others spend most of their day reading a book. If you are bored at the reception desk, there are a few things you can do to bring value to the position.

1. Let your manager know that you have capacity for more work
This might come as a surprise, but some managers do not know that the receptionist has capacity to do more for the company. A willingness to do more could put you in a better position for a promotion, and could actually save your job! If your daily tasks are considered somewhat unnecessary, or can easily be handled by someone else, you are vulnerable to retrenchment when the company is looking at cutting costs due to operational requirements.

2. Do things that others don’t have time for
There is a saying that goes: If you want something done, give it to a busy person. I have found this to be absolutely true. Busy people get things done because they must plan their day, whereas people who sit around are lazy and will leave tasks for when they feel like doing them. If you have time on your hands, look around the office for tasks you can easily accomplish with that extra time, such as organizing the filing cabinet, fixing that spreadsheet that no one uses because the format is wrong, or putting together a stock list for the company’s storeroom. When you successfully accomplish tasks, you feel a sense of worth that contributes to your overall job satisfaction. When you are happy at work, you will perform better overall.

3. Offer to take on a specific task
If the company is taking on a big client or hosting a sizable event, offer to take on some of the responsibility. If a company feels that you will be able to handle both the reception desk and the extra temporary work, they will be grateful that you offered.

4. Do research on ways to improve on existing challenges
If your company is struggling to manage their phone system or has an issue with the procedure for how to log support requests with the IT department, do research on software programs or known producers that work and present them to your manager next time the issue is mentioned.

5. Study
Enhance your professional skills by using your extra time to study. Some companies only require someone to be available at the reception desk to answer a few incoming calls or to have a physical presence at the company address, and are aware that the receptionist does not have much else to do. If this is the case, use that time to work on something that will bring value to your professional career.

It is important that you only offer to take on tasks that you have capacity for and that fall within the scope of your position. Also keep in mind that once you take on more responsibility, more responsibility will likely be given to you in the future.

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