Being unorganized is the worst. Wouldn't you agree? No one likes to feel like they're falling behind on tasks, it takes away incentive to stay focused and removes your motivation to get things done. Stress is never a good thing and being unorganized leads to one problem after another. It's a wonder we let this happen at all, but why ever at a front desk? When you walk into a business for the first time, you judge whether or not you're going to come back just by observing the front desk. The physical appearance, the tone, and the character of the employee at the front desk are all critical to keeping a business going. If you stay organized, staying on top of everything else will become much smoother and the customers will notice too.
Trello is a great tool to use to stay organized and I've done a post for using Trello for personal organization. It's clean, simple, and great for collaborating if you have other team members you need to stay in contact with on particular tasks. Here's an idea for how to set up a Trello for a front desk, step by step.
1 - Lists
Once you create a board, the first thing to do is add the main lists that you will use as you go about your work. Ideally, you'll have a "To-Do", an "In Progress" and a "Complete" list so you can track where you are with your projects or tasks. That way if someone else needs to take over, they can see exactly what needs to be done, what's currently being done, and everything you already finished. The more that's communicated through these lists, the easier it's going to be for everyone to stay on the same page.
Another great list to have is a "Contact" list for any phone numbers/emails you want easy access to. Keeping the contact information for team members, other departments, supervisors, (etc.) is a good idea in case something happens and you need to either ask a question or confirm something with someone else. (It's also great for someone who's training so you have more time on your hands to get things done.) Other than team members or supervisors, it's also a good idea to add the police station number, landlord, plumber - whoever you feel is necessary. (You can even add the pizza guy if you want.)
The next list is for note-taking. One of the worst things to see at a front desk is clutter. (Particularly post-it notes all over the monitor.) There's nothing wrong with using them if you find them helpful, but if it becomes excessive it looks unprofessional and can even be distracting. Having a place online to keep track of little reminders helps to eliminate clutter as much as possible. Plus, Trello has features that will allow you to set due dates and other things to keep you on track with your notes. It's always the little details that slip through the cracks
2 - Cards
Add Your Progress
Okay, great, you've got your lists all set up and ready to go. Now it's time to add the cards! Don't feel overwhelmed if you don't know where to start, just go ahead and start with today. What do you need to complete before you clock out? Make a card for each one of those tasks and put them in the "To-Do" list. Next, think about what needs to get done by the end of the week and go ahead and add those to the list. If you find it's a lot, feel free to create two separate lists: "To-Do (Today)" and "To-Do (This Week)". Once you've got that all figured out, don't worry about adding the due-dates yet, that's the last step.
Next, add cards to the "In Progress" list. Are you waiting for someone to get back with you to confirm something? Any projects going on for your company? What about a meeting happening in the other room? Go ahead and add those details. Then as these tasks get finished you can drag them over to the "Complete" list
Fill In The Contacts
(If you haven't already filled out the contact list, go ahead and do so now.
Add The Notes
And lastly, the notes list. This one should be fun since you'll get to throw away the post-it notes! Or maybe I'm the only person who enjoys that, not sure. Either way go ahead and make a card for each note you have lying around, and then voila! You're one step closer to being a super-organized front desk employee, now it's time to get a little bit more detailed
3 - Final Details
Trello allows you to add a label to your card by choosing one of six colors. (You can even add a pattern to enable the color blind mode if that's necessary.) Adding a label can help you navigate between these cards even further. Each color can be for a separate project if you like. For example, in the picture above I have "Call Sarah H." and "Meeting in room 12" both as red labels. The reason being that I know after the meeting in room 12, I will be given the information to then pass on to Sarah. It's all a part of the same project, therefore they both have the same color. However, there's many ways to manage the labels and it's up to you to be creative with it. Just don't hesitate to take advantage of this feature since it'll help you a lot as you stay organized.
This feature has saved my life. Setting the due dates on cards are extremely helpful, especially since they change color when you're coming up on one (yellow), if you missed one (red) or if you've completed one (green). It's easier to spot the cards that have due dates which allows you to prioritize in a much more effective way. Go ahead and add the due dates to the cards that need to be completed by a specific day, you'll see that it'll help you keep track of everything in your mind too.
I mentioned before that the more you communicate, the better. If you're descriptive and clear about each task then it's more likely the rest of the team will be on the same page. Even if you're the only one running the front desk, it's best to keep everything documented somewhere. If you have less on your mind then you'll be able to be better focused and that's all a part of staying organized. Adding descriptions to the individual cards will help in case you forget a minor detail or if you need to make sure others understand the purpose behind each task. If you want to take it a step further, add a checklist for each detailed step and how to do it.
So there you have it. I hope you find this useful for running a front desk and hopefully Trello will help keep your mind more relaxed and organized. I personally have found Trello to be very helpful and I love sharing new ways to help people stay on top of their work. Don't forget to be creative with it, put yourself or your business into it, don't be afraid to try new techniques.