Despite advances in office technology and hybrid working, the role of the traditional receptionist is still alive and well, according to Moneypenny’s latest survey, in which 72% of the US facilities managers surveyed confirmed they still have a receptionist at their office, and 83% also believe they will still have one in five years’ time.
However, those without a dedicated receptionist said that they now use either ‘contactless’ tech-based check-in for visitors (54%), their security team (47%), anyone who is available (40%), a junior member of staff (40%), or a combination of several of these methods, which could be damaging for first impressions of a business if there is a lack of consistency.
In those businesses that do still have a receptionist, the survey suggests the role has changed significantly, as 56% said the reception role has expanded over the last five years and 48% said the role is less paper-based, using more technology instead.
The survey shows that receptionists are being called on to perform a multitude of tasks rather than just answering calls, with their top responsibilities being:
Welcoming guests (50%)
Answering calls (48%)
Supporting other departments (37%)
Diary management (34%)
Managing post (34%)
PA duties (29%)
Room booking (22%)
Arranging lunches (19%)
The survey suggests that a benefit of the broadening of tasks a receptionist performs is that, far from the role being a job with no prospects for advancement, it is increasingly leading to lateral moves to other areas of a business such as:
– Administrative assistant (48%)
– Office manager (46%)
– HR assistant (43%)
– Customer service representative (43%)
– Project manager (35%)
– Broader facilities/concierge (31%)
– Sales and marketing (31%)
Comments from the survey respondents back up this finding, showing a respect and belief in the role:
‘I believe the receptionists are still looked upon as helpful, as of nowadays computers have taken over a lot of physical jobs, but I believe a lot of people still rely on the human aspect of work’’.
‘I feel receptionists are really valuable people in any organization and they deserve to be respected.’
Joanna Swash Group CEO of Moneypenny commented: “We were pleased to see that the importance of the receptionist role is still acknowledged by the vast majority of our survey respondents, as first impressions are so important for a business. Let your receptionist be brilliant and give their role the attention and respect that it deserves. They are the critical first impression of your business, after all. We’d advise any business to recognise the true value it adds and if they don’t have the resource available, to consider outsourcing to companies that can provide a dedicated service from specially trained professionals to support their in-house receptionist.”