Watchmen on the Wall of Business:

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Written by Halee Shults

July 6, 2017

Watchmen on the Wall of Business:

The Hidden Role Behind Receptioning

I am the Office Manager here at Code Koalas, and I have had the privilege of watching this company grow from its first downtown office, to the Kansas City Crossroads where it is today! When I was first employed, there were only six employees: five developers and one project manager. Now we have grown to more than twice that amount!

During my time here, my responsibilities have evolved with the seasons of business. To the naked eye I am the company receptionist, but I wear several different hats. I’m thankful for a position that has stretched both my skills and character beyond what I thought I was capable of. I’d like to share some hidden secrets for those who are looking for a position as a receptionist, or looking to improve their skills in the position.

Several hundred years ago, cities were enclosed with strong, high stone walls. They would place “watchmen” upon the top of the walls to watch for coming visitors or danger. Upon realizing what kind of encounter was coming, these watchmen would warn the people of the city with different kinds of horns and trumpets as to whether they needed to prepare for danger or celebration.

Receptionists act as the watchmen on the walls for their companies. They are the guards of the company culture and persona as people enter through the front doors. They can often see “afar off” how the visitor will impact others in the company and their response can often times sound the alarm of warning, peace or celebration to those involved with the visitor. However, this street goes both ways; If you go to a doctor’s office visit and encounter a grouchy and unhelpful receptionist, how likely are you to refer someone to their office? The receptionist’s response to the incoming visitor often times will send warning, peace or celebration signals to others within the organization.

It’s so easy to sit behind a desk and zone out to only the tangible work responsibilities. However, there is another hidden role in receptioning; that is the role of a servant. Before the American mentality puts a halt on such a word - hear me out! Serving evokes such an inner desire of humanity to help and fulfill the needs of others. Sometimes that means managing clients physical needs while they wait. Sometimes that means diverting calls that are unnecessary to protect someone else’s valuable time. Sometimes that means paying attention to the other employees' countenances as they enter the building. Regardless of the situation, this often unnoticed facet of the position can become one of the most enjoyable parts of the day. I can say from personal experience, a shift came when I realized that every encounter I had with someone, I had the opportunity to serve and to change something for them.

In closing, the role of a receptionist goes far beyond scheduling appointments, taking phone calls, and doing paperwork. You are a watchman on the wall of your company, protecting, serving and creating opportunities for your visitors and company atmosphere. Use your position as an opportunity to serve and to refine your discernment skills! Challenge yourself to step outside of your box and ask visitors the right questions, beyond why the typical “office questions”. You will be so surprised at the conversations and wisdom you gain from others! Make the most of every opportunity and never believe the lie that the role of a receptionist is a small and unnecessary position.