Work from home

The coronavirus known as COVID-19 has changed the way companies perform certain daily operations and apply work from home policies. And for some, it will change the way they work forever. However, how will work-from-home policies affect receptionists and personal assistants?  Let’s take a look at the new normal for working professionals and what receptionists can do to keep their jobs during this challenging time.

Work from home

Work-from-home is considered a must for non-essential workers during Lockdown Alert Levels 5 and 4. That is, those who do not work in the medical, ICT, telecommunications and agricultural or municipal and like services. For receptionists and assistants who rely on an income by being present at work to perform their duties, this is not good news. So, what can admins do to continue performing their duties – and keep earning.

Ask your employer to setup a VPN and RDP

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is like a secure and private tunnel to the internet. Your employer can setup a VPN that will allow you access to the files you need on the office server.

On the other hand, an RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) will assist you to access entire systems and even your computer at work.

If you have access to your work computer through a secure connection to the internet, you can continue to perform most of your duties as if you were physically present at work. You can, for example, access your email, documents and folders and programs you need on a daily basis.

Use a Cloud solution for your phones

The role of any receptionist or assistant is to receive, answer and transfer phone calls. With a cloud solution, you can do this from anywhere.

3CX, for example, offers a Cloud PBX with an app almost any user can download on their cell phone. They additionally have a web client that places the switchboard online where it can be controlled by the receptionist. Any other extension can also log themselves in and out of the reception (or other) queue which has the advantage of any person being able to act as receptionist.

I use 3CX as an example because I absolutely love their software. For assistants who need to schedule web meetings and answer and transfer calls on the go, it is perfect. And, it can be fully operated and controlled from home – as if you were at the office!

The only downside is that your company needs an internal IT department or person to set this up, and the software is not free. It is also, however, not expensive and a great option for companies who need to keep their doors open, or, who are considering having their staff work from home permanently.

Job hunting?

If you are a receptionist looking for a job during this challenging time, you will find it a great advantage to have knowledge of cloud solutions. Those I have mentioned, as well as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, for example, will be considered an advantage. If you are in an interview, make sure you mention all the online collaboration programs and tools that you are familiar with. There are many!

Remember etiquette

Whether you are working from home or at the office, your interaction with a client must always be professional. It is easy to get distracted when you are at home and then to snap at a caller. It must always seem as if you are at your desk at work, both in the way you speak as well as the way you take and transfer calls and messages. For more on etiquette, consult The New Receptionist.

If a client complains that you are unprofessional, forgot to give a message to someone or cut them off mid-call, your employer will start to think twice about your value as a work-from-home employee. Don’t let that happen.

Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels