Business Studies Course - The Office
Course Home      Vocabulary      Reading      Functions

Reception and phone - Reading

Jackie is working in the reception tomorrow. Read Stephanie's notes and then asnwer the questions opposite. Check with "Answers" at the bottom of the page.



Jackie, I'm feeling a bit off-colour, so you are going to have to stand in for me tomorrow. I've written down what I do during the day so you have some guidelines.

First, you have to be there bright and early, because some people are already waiting in the lobby at 8.30. James from security should already be there - he gets in at six o'clock in the morning. If you don't see him there, don't go in, but instead call the security company and make sure that everything is alright.

Remember no visitors are allowed to go from the lobby to the stairs or the lifts on their own. So as soon as you are sitting at the desk, you should check the appointments book, and see if any of the visitors have arranged to see someone. If they have, wait for that person to come down, or send his secretary to collect them. Also make sure that they sign the visitors book when they come in, and make a note of when they come out.

Some people will be calling on spec. Ask them to wait and check with the secretary or the person they want to visit if it is convenient. One problem is that you also have to answer the phone until Mrs Iveson gets in at 9 o'clock, so the first part of the morning is always very busy. When people call, look up the number they want in the internal directory, and put them through. If there is no answer, ask them to leave a voice-mail.

When the staff arrive, they should show you or James their staff ID. We don't usually worry if they don't have it, as long as we know who they are, but if someone is new, or has forgotten their ID, then make sure that they have a temporary one.

The post usually comes around at 8.45. Give the mail room a call and they will send someone up to collect it. Remember, you must never leave the desk unattended. If you have to pop out even for a short time, call Wendy from Mrs Jameson's office, and she will come down to cover for you.

I have a great time at reception saying hello to everyone when they come in, and chatting with people. I'm just a bit worried that after you have done it for a day, you won't want to go back to your office!

Have fun



1. You can't see the security guard when you arrive.
a. Go and look for him.    
b. Phone from the reception.   
c. Stay outside.   
d. Call his name loudly.   

2. A visitor is waiting for Mr Jones. First you -
a. check that he is expected.    
b. chat with him.   
c. take him to the lift.   
d. give him a temporary ID.   

3. Before the visitor goes in he must -
a. collect a secretary.    
b. sign in.    
c. have a temporary ID.    
d. be in the internal directory.   

4. If the phone rings you should first -
a. look for the number.    
b. leave a voice mail.   
c. call Mrs Iveson.   
d. ask who the caller wants.   

5. If she gets no reply, a phone caller should -
a. leave a message.    
b. send a letter.   
c. tell the receptionist.   
d. save her voice.   

6. When the post comes you should -
a. wait for 8.45 before taking it.    
b. take it to the mail room.   
c. call for it to be collected.   
d. pop it down to Wendy.   

7. The head of department has forgotten her ID.
a. Call security.    
b. Give her a temporary ID.   
c. Let her pass.   
d. Let James worry about it.   

8. Before you leave the reception desk you should -
a. say where you are going.    
b. make sure you only pop out.   
c. make sure someone else is there.   
d. check the lobby is unattended.