Recent articles that I've read advise against multi-tasking. If you are multi-tasking, you are likely to become less efficient in your job/role.
I smiled, reading these articles and social media posts. One question I had was, 'Do any of these writers have experience as receptionists or front office staff'?
Working for many years in both front of the office and in the back of the office, I am aware of the different demands on how you manage your time and tasks.
Introducing streamlined processes is not to be less efficient. Streamlined processes are to ensure that the work requiring detail and research is given sufficient time and diligence. However, if you are tasked to prepare detailed reports, and ensure that the reception area, phone calls, and emails are dealt with simultaneously, then it may become difficult to accomplish all tasks in a timely manner without either a less-than-acceptable report, or staff becoming frustrated and flustered, which unfortunately, shows up with complaints from clients, who do not see the workload imposed upon the staff member trying to juggle many tasks concurrently.
Regardless of whether your staff is paid or volunteers, it is in your interest as an employer, office manager, or volunteer coordinator to ensure that those in the reception areas have support. Have you ever entered a business or organization and spoken to the receptionist, only to feel that (a) they don't care, (b) they don't value the business/organization, (c) they treat you with the barest civility.
Why does this occur? On occasion a person may be employed who does not care about their job, it is simply a form of income for them. However, my experience has shown me that most people do want the best for the business they work for, and they do care. What has happened that your reception staff begin to show otherwise?
- lack of communication within the workplace,
- managers not rotating staff so that they can accomplish all tasks,
- piling too many tasks on one or two people,
- expecting tasks completed in periods not allowing for continual interruptions due to being at front desk,
- expecting staff to work without breaks or work overtime without compensation,
- expecting staff to take work home to complete tasks in their own time,
- not providing staff with appropriate breaks,
- not working with staff to have streamlined processes,
- not listening to staff who raise concerns or encounter abuse from clients and co-workers,
- your staff/volunteers become burnt out, anxious and exhausted.
- emails being assigned to different managers/staff, relevant to each role,
- work being assigned to appropriate managers/staff instead of just one or two staff,
- rotation of staff - i.e. allowing reception staff to have a break from the front desk to the back desk to work on reports, etc that require full concentration, without interruptions,
- any abbreviations used in the workplace are communicated to all staff so that everyone knows what is being communicated.