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3 Crucial Ways Office Assistants Keep Cool When the Front Desk Gets Busy

Dec 27, 2016
office assistant training

Handling a busy front desk requires strategies for prioritizing tasks while maintaining a calm, friendly demeanor

Photo credit: althewebmaster

The printer won’t work and you need documents for a meeting. Executives arrive early for the meeting and are crowding your reception area. Meanwhile, your phone is ringing, a colleague needs your help with something, and you have a delivery awaiting your attention.

While many days at the office will be uneventful and run smoothly, there will definitely be chaotic moments like this! When the front desk gets busy, the best office assistants draw on specific strategies to keep cool, resolve problems quickly, and restore order.  This is what truly proves your talent and training as a business professional.

Here are 3 essential chaos-management tips to remember when you start your first office job after graduation.

1. Focus & Prioritize Before Leaping into Action

When it feels like five or six tasks urgently need your attention all at once, you may be tempted to leap into action right away. But wait! The best thing you can do is take a moment to pause,  and quickly prioritize which problem to address first.  Tackle them systematically, in order of importance.

Office assistant training always stresses the importance of office procedures and time-management.  Having a set of pre-determined protocols to fall back on when times get busy is crucial for ensuring tasks get done in the right order.

Here’s how you might prioritize and handle the scenario we introduced earlier:

1. The customer is always first. Before anything else, you would greet the executives who have arrived early, and show them into the conference room so you can clear the reception area and get them settled for the meeting.

2. Secondly, you would answer the phone (if it’s still ringing), while making eye contact with the delivery person and the colleague to acknowledge their presence.

3. Next, you would let your colleagues know that the printer is down and that you’re working on a solution.

4. After checking the power button and other obvious solutions, call in the office tech expert instead of wasting 20 minutes trying fix it yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for a little help when it’s not your area of expertise.

5. Lastly, you would sign for the delivery and offer your assistance to the colleague who needs your help with a task.

2. Master a “Poker Face” of Politeness & Calm

Office assistants who work the reception area are the face of the business. You are the first person a guest sees when they arrive, and an important point of contact for your colleagues in the office. You relay messages from one team member to another, coordinate projects and meetings, and manage communications with the outside world.  You’re more of a “brand ambassador” than you may realize!

For this reason,  office assistant courses always stress the importance of remaining calm, friendly, and polite at all times—particularly during those stressful moments when many others will lose their cool.

You might be tempted to snap at the colleague who is pressing you for those printed documents. Or brush off the person who is calling the front desk.  You might want to completely ignore the executives who arrived early for the meeting, or roll your eyes at the delivery person. But you won’t do any of these things. You’ll summon your poker face of politeness and calm, and approach each situation with total professionalism. Interestingly, acting calm will actually help you feel calm, which is more than half the  battle during busy moments.

As an added bonus, you’ll quickly become known as the most level-headed, approachable, and dependable person in your office!

3. Plan Ahead Whenever Possible to Avoid Last-Minute Meltdowns

Administrative experts will say that those print-outs you needed for the meeting should have been made the day before – and they’re right. When you’re completely reliant on technology, it’s always better to check systems before they’re needed. For example, if it’s your job to set up a video conference call, projector, and ensure each meeting participant has a functional connection, it makes sense to arrange the technology and test it well before the actual meeting.

It won’t be your fault if a system you tested goes down at the last minute, but you’ll feel responsible (and stressed) when things don’t run smoothly. When you have a busy day ahead, advance planning will help you feel more in control—and better equipped to respond to glitches that simply can’t be predicted.

Think you have what it takes to become a top-notch administrative assistant? Looking for a reputable office assistant program in Winnipeg?

Take a look at Herzing College’s 6-month Office Assistant diploma program. The comprehensive program includes training in all relevant office computer programs, communications, office methods and procedures, and more.  Students also benefit from a 4-week internship to gain real-world experience.

Check out the Office Assistant program page for complete course details, a short video, or to chat live with an academic advisor. We’re here to help!



Click Here to Visit Office Assistant Program Page 




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Herzing College, Schools  Business & Vocational, Winnipeg, MB