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The Receptionists at WMC: Is It Hard to Work in A Mask? What Makes Them Play Detective?

Article December 22, 2020

Article

Nowadays when there’s 15 people at the office, these two receptionists find it “feels full.” Here’s yet another installment in our series of interviews with receptionists from companies large and small.

Covid-19 significantly influenced their lives. Tereza Maříková even switched jobs because of it. Today, you’ll find her and Lucie Adámková in the Visionary office building in Prague’s Holešovice district (or working from home, naturally), specifically at the reception of the WMC Group (which encompasses WMC/Grey, Actum Digital, Yachting.com, and other businesses).

Due to the coronavirus, we only reached out to them digitally, and naturally this omnipresent topic had to be a part of our interview.

Tereza Maříková (lef on the drawing) and Lucie Adámková (on the right)

Do you have to wear a mask at the reception all day long? How do you manage?

L: Yes, when it’s needed, we wear them and protect other people. But today we’re actually among the few people at the office at all, so we often take them off when it’s just us two. Wearing a mask is the smallest part.

At work you’re a bit “in the front lines,” because you come into contact with the majority of employees, and visitors, couriers, etc. as well. Are you afraid?

L: As for me, not really, we try to comply with every recommendation, and so I’m not afraid of getting sick.

T: I’m definitely not afraid. Even though couriers and visitors are coming in, there are still few people and lots of distancing, so there’s nothing to fear.

The Receptionists at WMC Group together with two colleagues from the company café.

OUT TO THE SEA, OUT TO THE GRILL

How many people actually visit your offices? (this interview took place before the November coronavirus measures—author’s note)

L: In the last few weeks, it’s been lower and lower. Right now, the most active are my teammates from WMC/Grey, an advertising agency. They have a lot of work because of Christmas coming up.

T: To give you an idea, today there’s five of us in here, so if fifteen people come in, that’s a crowd.

Ignoring budgets – if you had to delight the majority of your colleagues tomorrow, what would you arrange or prepare for them?

L: I’d organize some kind of “team-building event” where we could all meet and eat something nice from the grill. It’s great that we’ve got office spaces where you can organize something like that, and that we’ve got great people who it’s always a joy to organize these things with.

T: The people from Yachting.com are in Croatia right now, so ignoring finances, it would definitely really be nice to take the whole company out to meet them and have fun together in a new environment, not just the offices.

Practice makes perfec: Tereza Maříková on the left, Lucie Adámková on the right

WHEN THEY CLOSED THE HOTELS

How did you end up at the reception of the WMC Group?

T: I ended up here because of Covid. I had been working at the reception of a hotel that was shut down in the spring, and so I went looking for a different job. And WMC Group were the ones who called back. I also had several other interviews, but WMC clearly won out, and I’m very glad they did. I started at the end of May.

L: I was coming back to Czechia after six months abroad, and I was picking out an attractive job where I’d be fulfilled and have fun. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to work right here at WMC Group since the start of the year.

Tereza, is there anything at all that’s different between a reception at a hotel and one at a big company? Or is it a completely different world?

T: It’s still work with people; it’s very similar that way. The difference is in how here, I need to cultivate my relationships with people, because I meet them almost every day and we help each other out long-term. The guests at a hotel are only there a few days, and then they leave, so if you and somebody are a bad fit, it’s not a big deal. Here there’s more paperwork, and I do a lot of my work by email; at a hotel reception almost everything is handled in person.

What do you enjoy the most about working as a receptionist?

L: For me personally, it’s the variety and the chance to meet so many great and interesting people from different spheres. We have really smart teams that are working on interesting projects, so you learn things outside our line of work too. I enjoy being the link in the chain they turn to when they need advice, or just a mood lift.

T: I like how every day you get a surprise; we’re always learning new things. Meanwhile plenty of foreigners work here too, so we also put our English to use.

L: I really enjoy our office spaces as well. They have this sort of nice and relaxed atmosphere, and there’s rarely any conflicts here.

Meanwhile, is there anything that reliably gets your goat as a receptionist?

T: I personally don’t like what happened just now. Where you have, say, an hour that’s slow with nothing to “do,” and then suddenly lots of things come up at once, and I don’t know what to do first.

L: Or people park where they shouldn’t, and then we have to play detective and look into who it was and hunt down the culprits. And also if you need to concentrate on something, then often there isn’t enough peace and quiet, since we’re in the middle of the action.

A video-tour through the office building Visionary in Prague-Holešovice.

You work in the Visionary building, which is unique in having a running track on the roof. Do you go there for a run sometimes?

T: When I first came on board, I said how great it is and how I’d be heading there to run after work... So far I haven’t been there even once.

L: ...but at least we’ve headed up to the terrace to grill. And then watched everybody else running.

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