7 Top duties of the Receptionist

Search with Ctrl + F Last updated: 2022-08-14

A receptionist is a person who supports management at all levels of the organization and generally greets the public and answers the company telephone.  Their interpersonal skills, telephone etiquette and communication skills are extremely important in greeting clients, responding to inquiries and representing the company.

According to bls.gov, employment of receptionists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2016 to 2026 making this an excellent time to become a Receptionist. Overall job opportunities should be good, especially in the healthcare industries.  Receptionists perform a variety of duties which can vary depending on whether they work for a large or small corporation, but generally all Receptionists perform the following duties on a daily basis:

Duties of a Receptionist

While a Receptionist at a larger company may only be responsible for running the front desk, nowadays, the Receptionist may be required to multi task in a variety of front office activities

  1. Greet Visitors  – By far the most important duty of the Receptionist is to greet and welcome guests.  A good first impression is important as the Receptionist is the first point of contact for the entire organization, which requires a positive attitude and a polished, professional appearance. Remember the Reception area is the first thing a visitor sees when they visit your company.
  2. Answer the telephone and take messages – Answering calls is an extremely important duty of the Receptionist.  While office phone systems and their feature set can vary significantly, it is important to know how to perform the basic tasks that you will be expected to perform on a daily basis such as transferring the call, putting the caller on hold, call forwarding and checking voice mail.  Practice using the phone features until they are second nature to you as you don’t want to practice on the customer.
  3. Keep reception area clean and well maintained – As the Receptionist, you are responsible for making sure your lobby is visually clean. Always keep the reception area free of trash.  If packages arrive during the day, try to get some-one from within the organization to pick them up and avoid storing them in the Reception area.
  4. Send and Receive Faxes – Many departments within an organization send and receive faxes without ever bothering the Receptionist.  As the company Receptionist, however, you should always be prepared to send or receive faxes and understand how they work.
  5. Manage the Conference Schedule – As the Receptionist, you will likely be responsible for reserving the conference room, usually through a Meeting Planner and Microsoft Outlook.  You will also be asked to print the Conference Schedule daily in time for the next business day.
  6. Receiving and Distributing Mail – While companies are receiving less and less traditional mail due to the increasing popularity of the internet and email, every office still receives some paper mail.  While most large companies have a mail room, smaller companies will rely on the Receptionist to sort and distribute the mail.
  7. General filing – Today a vast majority of company documents are filed electronically, either in the cloud or directly on the servers of the organization.  Despite this migration to electronic filing systems, many companies still maintain a paper filing system to file those documents that cannot be saved electronically such as executed leases, contracts or other legal documents.  That being said, most Receptionists are often assigned the task of filing these documents in company filing cabinets.

As the Receptionist, you are responsible for keeping the Reception Area visually clean and tidy.

Receptionist Skills

Here are some of the most common common Receptionist skills required for many job postings by companies seeking Receptionists.

  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Good customer service skills
  • Essential telephone etiquette knowledge
  • Good communication skills -Ability communicate effectively, both orally and in writing with co-workers and clients
  • Good organizational skills
  • Ability to type 30-40 Words Per Minute
  • Knowledge of principles and practices of organization, planning, records management and general administration.
  • Ability to operate standard office equipment, including but not limited to, computers, telephone systems, calculators, copiers and facsimile machines.
  • Ability to multi-task as Receptionists are often required to manage many different tasks at one time including taking messages, scheduling appointments and maintaining employee files.
  • Be a team-player and be able to work on their own initiative in a dynamic and challenging environment
  • Maintain Integrity and confidentiality

For more details of how to become a Receptionist, visit our Receptionist Online Course page.