Working at and Managing a Reception Desk in an International Office Linda Maria Alvarado Angel Yating Yang Overview • Approx. 32 full-time staff on two floors • ISSS (including academic advising), Ed Abroad, Admissions, China, GSEP • Passport acceptance office • Two different appointment making systems • More than 600 guests per month (1 guest every 15 min, not including phone calls) Major Responsibilities • Triage: find out what the student or guest REALLY needs • Make appointments • Notify advisors when students arrive • Mail • Assist students with forms • Answer main phone line and generally answer first-level questions • Cash handling Common Difficulties • Triage: find out what the student or guest REALLY needs -- Student doesn’t know what they really need • Making appointments -- Becoming familiar with advisor calendars • Notify advisors -- Learning which advisors respond to which methods of communication • Mail -- names and keeping files accurate • Assist students with forms -- there are SO MANY forms!! • Answer main phone line and generally answer first-level questions -- language, cell phone connections, different advisors want calls handled differently, two phones work differently Who Can Do This Job? • WHAT I LOOK FOR… - International or study abroad students - Advisor recommendations - Personal engagement with others (especially of different backgrounds) - Can work more than 1 semester • WHAT I SHY AWAY FROM… - Have another job already - Cannot work at least 12 hrs per week (but will not schedule for more than 25) - Very general answers: “I’ve always been interested in other cultures.” Student Worker Profile • Academic Year 2012-13 and 2013-14 13 total staff - 6 study abroad, 6 international - countries: Brazil, Israel, Costa Rica, England, Japan, China, Mexico, Malaysia, Pakistan • Personal Engagement - international high school - member of NAU iClub - amusement park - lived in various places - tutored - multi-cultural background - worked with general public in some capacity Initial Training a.k.a. “Bootcamp” • 1 full day before Fall semester • Overview plus 15-min presentation from all units • Hands-on practice with cash handling, photos, mail sorting • Special ISSS presentation • ISSS live scenarios Continued Training • 2 full-staff meetings per semester • Informational presentation – Ed Abroad info session – FERPA – Sunapsis – Passport intensive • Quiz • General announcements • Olympics! - mail sorting - open the mailbox - lock and unlock the doors/drawers - matching (staff and their jobs, countries) Communication • • • • • • • Post “Staff out of the Office” list Post 2 – 3 notes about timely topics Helpful Hint of the Week Weekly task sign-off Standardization – maps Bi-annual evaluations Reduce clutter!!! – Keep only essentials visible • • • • Ed Abroad Advisors & countries Passport info ISSS walk-in schedule Well-used phone numbers First Impressions • Worked in a restaurant in China and at an amusement park in USA -- CIE was first office job • Friendly environment between other staff and students MAJOR DIFFERENCES • Dress code-More Professional • Daily tasks-Involves more translation and detail • Computer and office equipment-Microsoft Lync; Outlook Calendar to make appointments for advisors; Fedex • Office language-More formal, different from most of previous job • Organization-Office supply; Front Desk Maps, Task Sign-off sheets What Built Confidence? • Personally introduced to all full-time staff on first day • Everyone (other student and full-time staff) are open for questions • Learned examples of simple gestures and words to communicate with diverse people • Clear instruction of daily tasks • Again, friendly environment within the office! Continued Challenges • Always different questions from guests • Attention to detail (personal goal) • Different notification methods for advisors • Constant updates from each department • Sometimes difficult to follow specific front desk rules (Eating at the front) Take-“Office” Message • FROM THE MANAGER - Repeat, repeat, repeat (patience) - Make it fun, fun, fun • FROM THE WORKER -Passion! -Patience Thank You! Any Questions?