What To Do When ... Your Receptionist Goes Off Sick

Published on 30/08/2021


We all know that the reception area is a very important part of your building. 

This is the first place that visitors encounter. As such, it’s the place where first impressions will be made. If a negative first impression occurs, it’s very hard to change. However, if you can make a great first impression, it will make life far easier when it comes to hanging on to existing customers and attracting new ones. 

Your receptionist is a hugely important person in this entire process. This person has to be approachable, professional and helpful at all times. It’s not a job that just anyone can do! The person sitting at your reception desk has to know how to handle difficult customers, a busy reception areas, and retain a smile even when they’re feeling anything but smiley. Not everyone can do that. 

So, what do you do when your highly experienced receptionist calls in sick?

It’s not possible to leave your reception desk unmanned. That will create a very poor first impression on your visitors and probably also create chaos as nobody knows who they’re supposed to report to. This is one of the biggest workplace problems to encounter but thankfully it’s one that can easily be solved, with a little pre-planning. 

You need someone who is trained as a stand in. This person can work in any other part of the office, but they need to shadow the receptionist at their reception chair on a regular basis and be kept up to date with any developments, e.g. a new computer system or phone switchboard. 

Then, if your regular receptionist isn’t available, they can step in and cover until they return. Of course, someone also needs to step in to backfill their position. That is why it’s always best to choose a stand in receptionist from within your main office, so their workload can be absorbed by other team members over the short-term.

Obviously, you’re wondering what you should do if your receptionist is off long-term. In that case you will need to backfill the position temporarily. Again, this isn’t a role that can be left half-filled or not filled at all. You always need to have someone sitting at the reception desk, welcoming guests, solving problems, and helping the business to make the very best impression on guests. 

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