Karen Belz
May 08, 2013 7:00 am

Happy National Receptionists Day! While I might be a HelloGiggles writer by night, I’m a receptionist by day – and I’m honored that somebody out there chose May 8th to recognize the hard work we do. Not only do we answer phones, but we often serve as the first impression our customers get of our company or organization – and trying to remain optimistic during pressing times could be more of a challenge than one might think. Even though days can be draining, I love my job. It’s pretty rewarding to be able to connect with a variety of different people on a daily basis, and help solve problems that typically aren’t the same day after day.

Here are five things that you, as a fellow receptionist, can do to enjoy your day (while still being productive), and five things you can do for your receptionist if you’d like to help him or her celebrate.

1. Dress to Impress. Sure, you might be interacting with most people behind a phone line, but looking like a sassy professional will boost your self-esteem. I’m not suggesting wearing a prom dress to work, but find clothes that make you feel confident. Everyone has one piece of clothing that makes them feel special, professional, and in charge.

2. Take A Break From The Phones – Even Your Personal Phone – During Your Lunch Break. If you have an hour, or a half hour break, use it to go outside and take a breath of fresh air. Focus on yourself and the environment, and take a break from communication. Are there any parks nearby? Take a book, your e-reader, or your favorite magazine and just unwind. After all, it’s May – one of the most beautiful months of the year!

3. Get Creative When The Office Gets Slow. Every office has a few hours where things seem to slow down. Instead of surfing the internet, think about sketching a picture, writing some poetry, or just jotting down a funny anecdote or two that you overheard a coworker say. (I’ve drawn cartoons of my coworkers, which they at least pretend to enjoy.)

4. In The Words of Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle, Treat Yo Self. Sure, we all get a birthday. But we don’t all get a day that celebrates our profession. Use today as an excuse to reward yourself for a job well done. In order to avoid suffering Post-Receptionists-Day-Buyers-Remorse, think of something you’d like in the $20-$50 dollar range – maybe a handcrafted necklace on Etsy, or even a bouquet of flowers (yes, it’s fine to buy yourself flowers!) to be repurposed into home décor.

5. Compile A List of the Best Receptionist (And – Fine, Administrative Assistants. I’ll Include Them Too, Even Though They Already Had Their Day) Movies, and Plan A Mini-Marathon With Friends.

As almost every office has a Receptionist, there’s almost always a Receptionist in every movie that deals with the workplace. My favorites include Nina, from Office Space (“Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. Just a moment!”) and Emily Blunt, as Miss Piggy’s Receptionist in The Muppets.

Of course, you could also do what I’ve done a billion times before, and just watched a bunch of early episodes of The Office. While Erin is an amazing Receptionist to Dunder Mifflin these days, Pam will always be “The” Receptionist in my eyes.

And here’s five things that you, the staff, could do to celebrate your particularly amazing receptionist:

6. Buy Them Coffee. Seriously. Remember that “staying optimistic at all times” thing I mentioned? That wouldn’t happen without coffee. For the record, I take mine black with three (or more) Splenda.

To be honest, coffee is such a nice gesture if you know your receptionist drinks it. If not, splurging for a soda at the machines is also a quick way to say you appreciate their presence in the work place.

7. If Things Are Busy, and Your Office Allows It, Pick Up A Phone Line to Lighten The Load. Receptionists can get nervous if multiple lines are ringing and they’re tied up. If other staff members are allowed to answer the phone, take a call if you can. (It sounds minor, but it’s often very much appreciated.)

8. Offer To Buy Lunch. If you’re making a trip to Panera Bread, let your receptionist know that his or her meal is on you. (I chose Panera Bread solely because I’m kind of craving soup in a bread bowl right now. Also, every sandwich they have there.) You don’t necessarily need to take her out to lunch – especially if you aren’t very close friends or work associates – but the offer will make her feel completely appreciated.

9. Crack A Joke, Or Make Conversation. I, personally, value work friends in the office. Not only do they make the day go by faster, but they make you look forward to work. I’m a huge fan of office pools (despite losing miserably with my basketball bracket this year) and minor pranks (I’m prank-called often.) If you never really got to know your receptionist, take some time to see what they’re like. In slower offices, they might be completely bored, and could appreciate the company.

If you’re already on great terms, acknowledge the day. It may not seem like much, but just a “Happy Receptionist’s Day!” will remind her that her job makes a difference.

And Finally,

10. Buy Them More Coffee.  Seriously.

(Ahem.)

10. Office-Wide Cards Are Never Lame. At a past job I had, cards were always circulated when someone was ill. It was a great show of support, but I always thought it’d be great if cards were also circulated when something great happened. For some, this might be a heck of a lot of cards. But unless birthdays are a big deal at the office, or your receptionist is expecting a child, this might be the only card they’ll get. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t smile over the fact that a Hallmark greeting was circulated throughout the entire office just for them. And to be honest, I don’t want to know anyone who wouldn’t smile over such a thoughtful action. (I mean, who hates people rallying together for their happiness?!)

So, friends – Show your receptionist some love today. Their job is much harder than it looks. And fellow receptionists, take a deep breath – it’s your day!

Featured image via Shutterstock

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