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Moody awkward receptionist in workplace

(45 Posts)
Amazonian27 Mon 19-Nov-18 16:13:53

Ok so I work In small place where the receptionist/gateway person is from another department/team (with no manager supervisor on site). I am kind of a lone worker for my department and I am 2 grades senior to her. She has a history of moodiness/awkwardness blowing hot and cold etc. I tolerated her and her occasional moods for a few years and things were ok in the workplace most of the time most days. Anyway about a year ago she became arsey and awkward with me just about every day I was in (I work part time she is full time). I let her away with this hoping she would eventually be reasonable with me again eventually. I can go in try and be pleasant friendly when I pass the reception then get on with my work and can largely ignore her most of the day but it doesn’t make it a very pleasant environment to work. Anyway her attitude and awkwardness with me has got worse and more recently she has sent a couple of emails to her supervisor who is the same grade as me, my manager and her supervisors manager to try and get me into trouble. She basically thinks she is more important than she is and has been allowed to get away with being like this for years and it’s got worse since she has been at this site. I don’t want to say what the emails were about as I don’t want to out myself. She is more than capable in her work role but not the ideal personality characteristics for a re working role. She is however mostly ok with our customers but she is really awkward to me and also to some of her colleagues of the same grade on another site.
Anyway a meeting was called last week mainly to try and smooth things over since her emails and my having a couple of conversations with my boss about her awkwardness and worsening attitude in response to her emails.
She behaved badly, awkwardly, angrily and defensively at the meeting lied and turned on the tears. She also accused us of ganging up on her as she was the lowest grade.
Afterwards I was commended for my calmness, attitude and reasonableness and have been told by my line manager that I have her full support and the support of the other persons supervisor if I want to take things further and go to HR. But I have heard on the grapevine that both her supervisor and her supervisors manager and a few of her colleagues have had enough of her. So I don’t want the stress of this or to just be used to get rid of her. Anyway after the meeting we were both asked if we could move on and go forward with an improved working relationship as they didn’t want our customers picking up on an awkwardness unprofessional relationship between us. I said I was more than prepared to do this and on two occasions apologised that she was upset that day said I didn’t want to upset her but things couldn’t continue as they were and her attitude had caused me stress for over a year and I wanted to have a professional working relationship etc. She looked angry and ready the rest of the morning and was quiet and scowly in the afternoon. I said goodnight x when I left and she scowled and ignored me. I am dreading going into work this week. She is her own worst enemy but if she doesn’t calm herself down she will be moved to the bigger site where her superviser is based on a regular or more permanent basis and where most of her colleagues are that she also doesn’t like (which will be great for me) but much less good for her. As she had said to her line manager on another occasion that working from the other site would affect her mental health.
Any advice going into work this week as I am really not looking forward to it as last week was stressful enough and I have enough stress in my job role.

OP’s posts: |
stressedoutpa Mon 19-Nov-18 17:36:40

I would be as professional as possible but only speak to her if it is work related and no niceties (i.e. saying hello/goodbye, asking about her weekend, etc.).

Also, just care less. It sounds like she has dug her own grave.

I had a very similar thing happen and another PA was absolutely awful to me. Just about managed to rise above it and she was 'let go' by the company about six months later. Shame.

Hiphopopotamous Mon 19-Nov-18 17:43:27

Just take it to HR and let them sack her! You don't deserve this

JuniperBeer Mon 19-Nov-18 17:46:37

Surely you just walk past her in the morning and evening? Is that it? Or are you required to interact with her throughout the day?

Amazonian27 Mon 19-Nov-18 18:03:11

Thanks all yes and no in the last few weeks I have had to cut contact to just saying morning and good night as I was getting nothing back apart from dirty looks and snappy replies.
Usually I can just walk past but if she’s sat at the reception desk I have to say excuse me to get and put back my key. Also I might say x is coming to see me at 11.30 can you ask them to knock and wait please. This shouldn’t really need saying but I don’t see many customers face to face these days as a lot of my work is done by email and phone. But in recent weeks she is asking our customers to just take a seat hoping I forget their appointments or one arrived half an hour early and had left before their appointment she knew they had been waiting but again is just being really awkward. I am really busy and my job is very stressful so I don’t need her awkwardness making my working day anymore difficult. Thanks

OP’s posts: |
sackrifice Mon 19-Nov-18 18:08:36

Say good morning, excuse me and good evening.

Tell her by email when someone is coming, and instruct her to call you on xxx when they arrive. If she fails to do as asked, you have the evidence. If someone turns up and she doesn't tell you, get them to complain about it to you.

Note down every single response to anything you say to her if it isn't positive in return.

Amazonian27 Mon 19-Nov-18 18:22:53

sackrifice Thanks good tips.
Her supervisor has composed an email that she should let me know when x arrives etc which is all things any good receptionist person would do any way. But I think your way is a back up and a written record although she also has access to my online calendar already.

OP’s posts: |
stressedoutpa Mon 19-Nov-18 18:35:12

Tell her by email when someone is coming, and instruct her to call you on xxx when they arrive. If she fails to do as asked, you have the evidence. If someone turns up and she doesn't tell you, get them to complain about it to you.

Note down every single response to anything you say to her if it isn't positive in return.

^ this

If you have a visitor coming then set your alarm for a couple of minutes before. If she hasn't rung you then ring and check if your visitor has arrived. Log it every time she doesn't let you know they have arrived.

She is a Receptionist. It is her job to advise staff visitors are in Reception.

To be honest, I wouldn't tolerate this nonsense and would be logging every misdemeanour.

Amazonian27 Mon 19-Nov-18 19:04:34

stressedoutpa-Thanks I am going to have to up my game. I have emailed all of my colleagues who can book appointments for me asking them to email me if they book any appointments for me and I have them been setting myself reminders to beat her little games but my job is quite stressful and I am often working with emotional customers with mental health issues so I don’t need additional stress by her silly little game playing and awkwardness. Sometimes an appointment will run over and sometimes I am on the phone to a customer/client so she might not get through on the phone but my office door is close enough to the reception desk for her to knock on the door as she would have done in the past or it is easy enough for her to point the client/customer in the direction of my office and ask them to knock on the door and wait at the time of the appointment.
Thanks

OP’s posts: |
stressedoutpa Mon 19-Nov-18 21:48:06

That does sound stressful. I wouldn't let her childishness beat me though!

Can your colleagues add the appointments to your calendar in Outlook? If so, can you keep your laptop with you so you can keep an eye on the upcoming appointments/set your alarms as necessary.

She clearly doesn't want to make your life easy. Don't give her the satisfaction of thinking that she is 'winning'. Try to stay one step ahead.

Amazonian27 Mon 19-Nov-18 22:07:33

Thanks yes I have been setting alarms on my phone and had already asked my colleagues to drop me an email if any late appointments are made and I set reminders on my phone. But she’s decided to make my life as difficult as possible by making clients/customers wait if they come early or come late etc. Basically she goes out of her way to be arsey and awkward with me. She’s got away with this behaviour before but after her latest email and a very stressful couple of weeks at work I don’t need to be second guessing whatever stupid trick she’s playing to try and make me look bad or encourage someone to complain etc. I feel uncomfortable walking in or passing the desk. A workplace shouldn’t really be like this and the reception/gateway person should help make my life a little easier not go out of her way to make it more difficult.

OP’s posts: |
RandomMess Mon 19-Nov-18 22:23:42

I wonder who she has done this to previously? I doubt you're the first - not surprised HR and managers want her gone.

PinkPanther27 Mon 19-Nov-18 22:36:51

That's really bizarre behaviour! I think it's in your best interest (and hers probably) to make the managers aware of just how extreme her behaviour is. Reminds me of someone I used to work with but she wasn't quite as odd.

sackrifice Mon 19-Nov-18 22:42:50

Start a new process, a customer feedback form. Ask some questions about how the appt was booked, how they were received in reception, time taken to notify them that you had been alerted to their presence and fed back to them how long the wait would be, the greeting and goodbye, and comfort whilst waiting. Add in some feedback about your section of the meeting and start collecting responses immediately. You could do it on survey monkey to collect responses, just email the link out after your meeting. Tell each person at the meeting how important their feedback is to you.

Amazonian27 Mon 19-Nov-18 23:02:15

Thanks sacrifice we tend to make myself and my colleagues make our own appointments and each other’s depending where the customer/client is based. But that’s an excellent idea for the site where I am based.

OP’s posts: |
HollowTalk Mon 19-Nov-18 23:05:52

She's a receptionist and doesn't let you know someone's waiting for you?

I would send one email: Please could you let me know when someone is here to see me.

For goodness sake, what does she think her job involves?

Amazonian27 Mon 19-Nov-18 23:23:29

She does some library work as well as reception but has got carried away with how important she is and obviously books are more important to her than people and customers/clients with issues.

OP’s posts: |
Amazonian27 Tue 20-Nov-18 06:49:44

I forgot before she totally turned on me she often used to refer to a few people as that bloody Joe Smith, Bloody Mary Brown etc. As I remember rightly she had a big list of people whose name was prefixed with bloody and they were all really nice people as well. I dread to think how she refers to me now as I have dared tackle her on her inappropriate bullying behaviour whereas I think they didn’t she just didn’t like them for reasons real or imaginary.

OP’s posts: |
Cauliflowersqueeze Tue 20-Nov-18 06:58:00

If she doesn’t let you know when clients arrive in reception and make people feel welcome, what the hell is the point in her.

I agree with getting feedback from clients but wouldn’t bother with surveymonkey. I’d give them a little slip of paper with questions like “did you get a warm welcome” “how long did you wait for your appointment?”

Email all requests so you have a paper chain.

I wouldn’t bother with saying good morning etc - just a smile and walk past. Don’t give her the option to ignore you.

OliviaStabler Tue 20-Nov-18 07:04:23

Just take her to HR, get her out and have done with it. She won't change, people like this never do. I worked with someone similar to the colleague you describe. If they get pulled up on their behaviour they pull out the waterworks to try and gain sympathy then they go back to being exactly the same as before but with added spite for you.

Look at the time, stress and potentially money she is costing you with her attitude and unprofessional behaviour. You don't have to like the people you work with but being polite and professional is just basic and its clear she has neither of these.

Amazonian27 Tue 20-Nov-18 07:16:15

Yes had water works last week this week she will no doubt be reviving up spite and bad mouthing me to a couple of others in her team who haven’t experienced her wrath yet. I/we have to report back to our managers if any issues occur or if things don’t improve after the meeting. But I think HR is where this will end. Her management have issues with her awkwardness for a long time but I don’t want to have all the stress involved leading to getting rid of her and the responsibility of it being purely down to me as really her management should have nipped this in the bud before now. My role is more pastoral it’s more inconvenience and unnecessary stress rather than her loosing me/us money but it’s not good for our young clients and customers who shouldn’t be caught in the crossfire. She can be good at her job just not in away to make life easier in any way.

OP’s posts: |
Oblomov18 Tue 20-Nov-18 07:31:07

You must make detailed notes, of the client that came, was early, she never advised you, then they left.

And any other incidents. These must be reported to her manager of Your manager. Soon.

Amazonian27 Tue 20-Nov-18 08:20:25

Thanks for your support all I have never done anything like this before in my life but I will be taking detailed notes of everything she does and doesn’t do from this week onwards and I will be feeding back a fortnight after the meeting.

OP’s posts: |
minniebow Tue 20-Nov-18 08:25:24

I visited a big company yesterday and the receptionist was awful. Shooting dirty looks at us and smirks at her colleagues whilst she was booking our team in. It made a bad first impression for the company and I believe that receptionists attitudes can ruin people’s experience of a business. After all, they’re the first people you meet! It really put me off the company and made me rethink working with them. Hope all goes well with the meeting OP!

AmericanHousewifefan Tue 20-Nov-18 08:43:30

What an awful atmosphere to be working in Amazonian but I completely understand that you would not want the stress with being involved in having her transferred.

I would second (third) advice given on the survey. That will highlight problems nicely.

If an appointment is missed because she didn't tell you someone was waiting though it's not going to help the poor person sitting in reception feeling forgotten about. I would ask her to email you when clients arrive and if you don't confirm back by email within 5 minutes (in case you are speaking to someone) to then knock on your door.

It doesn't sound like you have many appointments so it shouldn't be a big deal. You will have proof if she is not following the procedure.

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