Receptionists lacking workplace privacy

Receptionists provide invaluable services to the organization. They take care of both office guests and employees alike, and make it look like a breeze doing so. If they don’t, then probably it’s time to hire a new receptionist. But if they do, then this needs to be emphasized – It’s not all fun and games. 

Terry Penny, a Professional, Presenter and a Motivational Safety Speaker in a recent article points out,

Receptionists and employees who are in a greeter type of position in a company, carry with them a responsibility that has a definite effect upon the success of an organization: Making a good first impression.

Businesses know this, yet a receptionist is still the most overlooked employee in the organization.

“The receptionist life”, is that of discomfort and distress. Unexpected visitor inflow is just one such situation where they have to make the most out of the situation. Demanding coworkers, frequent interruptions from guests, unrealistic expectations, and lack of privacy at workplace, all make their workload seem large for the course.

It seems like they get the short end of the stick always.

Since, the front desk team spends so much of their time catering to other’ needs, it hardly feels like they don’t have much recourse to advocate for themselves. They seldom not even have their own personal office space.

If you agree, or have experienced similar challenges, do share them as comments.

Now, most people would say,

“But hey, receptionists tend to play a role in which availability is key, it makes perfect sense to have to do that.”

I do understand that. However, every employee typically must relinquish some of their privacy while at the workplace.

Workplace Privacy begins at the desk. Unlike all other employees in an organization, the receptionist’s desk is a place that constantly lacks privacy.

This makes it difficult to avoid interruptions and stay focused. What’s more, coworkers sometimes use their desks as a communal space where anyone can come and dump newspapers, office supplies, files, and the like.

If you are in the same situation, then we’ve got some strategies lined up for you that might just do the trick.

Coping strategies for Receptionists Lacking Privacy at the Front Desk

There are a few sure shot ways of coping with lack privacy at the office front desk. Receptionists can start off by keeping the work space organized and by designating spaces for any communal materials that end up on their desk by necessity. Let us see how.

Keep the work space organized.

A very efficient way to put your work-desk in order is by removing additional paper from it. This is made easy with the help of a Digital Receptionist at the front desk that takes care of all paper related items.

Note: The Role of a Digital Receptionist in an organization, is not to overtake the position of an administrator or front desk executive, or even that of an actual receptionist, but to assist them in dealing with their everyday tasks more efficiently; making them focus on more important things such as building relations with the visitors.


A modern digital receptionist software can get rid of old and very unkempt visitor logbooks and can also help improve the quality of brand experience. People don’t put trash in places that are clean and organized. Remember Cleanliness = Productivity

Keeping front desk clean and well organized is first step of coping with workplace privacy issues starting at the desk. A messy work space isn’t conducive to being productive either.

Designate spaces for any communal materials.

Whenever relevant, instruct coworkers to put office supplies and other materials back where they actually belong. The usual employees might take time adjusting to your new policy. However, once they see that no one else is doing it, they’ll stop treating the receptionist’s desk as their own.

Additionally, assign a small space for all personal work materials. After the visitor management software has taken care of the papers, such as NDA forms, visitor passes, etc, they can use the desk space more efficiently for keeping all their personal work belongings. This will also help ensure that none of these items accidentally go missing.

Maintain Boundaries.

Boundaries are there to protect us, to clarify what is our responsibility and what is another’s, to preserve our physical and emotional energy, to stay focused on ourselves, to live our values and standards, and to identify our personal limits.

Assume, a very influential, possible business partner, walks in for a meeting. You are busy assisting them, and an employee or a delivery guy comes in at the same time. If you’re interrupted and the request isn’t urgent, let them know you’re presently engaged, but will respond soon as you’re able to.

This is not in any way being offensive or discriminating. It simply means that both guests and employees should be aware of your work. They know that their work will be addressed as it gets done. Clearly communicating boundaries can clearly solve a lot of problems and can help prevent pileup of work.

“True strength is found in standing firm, yet bending gently.” – Author unknown.

As long as the boundaries are communicated in a respectful way, you are well within rights to set them.

If nothing works, use signs.

The idea here, is to consider putting up a little sign on your desk that communicates that you’re focused on a project. This is also a great way to reinforce our previous point of maintaining boundaries. If you inform someone that this is your office space, desk or designated chair you have attempted to set physical boundaries.

A signboard is a physical boundary. To the least, employees should know that they shouldn’t interrupt you unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Use this coping strategy as your last resort. Also, take permission from your manager/senior before doing so as it might affect visitor experience.

At times, juggling multiple sets of priorities, a high workload, and demanding coworkers can feel like a grueling job. Receptionists worldwide can make things easier on themselves by implementing these strategies for coping with workplace challenges. In the process, they can boost their efficiency and improve quality of life on the job.

Read more on how you can improve the quality of visitor experience with our monthly mailer, on our previous blog – 

Improve the Quality of Guest Experience with Ara Insights – The Monthly Visitor Insights Mailer