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The Solopreneurs Guide to Celebrating ‘Hug Your Boss’ Day

Being a solopreneur can sometimes be a lonely business. A prime example? National Hug Your Boss Day. After all, who will give you your hard-earned pat on the back on September 4, 2015? Ruby, of course! We love to celebrate small business owners, so we’ve come up with a few ways you can celebrate your very own version of Hug Your Boss Day.

Hug Yourself…Literally!

Research has shown putting your arms around yourself and giving a squeeze reduces physical pain in your body. If you’re feeling a little tense—or maybe you just feel like a hug— gosh darn it, go ahead and hug yourself when no one’s looking.

Hug Someone Else

Maybe a self-hug isn’t quite up your alley. That’s okay—there are a number of benefits to hugging others, too! Studies show skin-to-skin contact decreases blood pressure and cortisol levels in the body. Sounds like reason enough to go get a hug from a friend or loved one. And in even more adorable news, cuddling up to Fido can have the same effect. After all, who doesn’t feel energized after a good puppy snuggle?

Be Kind

I’ll admit, this one’s my favorite—be kind! Performing acts of kindness has proved to make us feel healthier and happier. These personal connections act like mini health tune-ups, lowering blood pressure and even reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, and that’s great news for Ruby, as we take personal connections and Fostering Happiness pretty seriously around here.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, too! How will you pamper yourself on Hug Your Boss Day? Share your ideas in the comments.

“Random Acts of Kindness” photo by kweez mcG via Flickr 

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2015/08/the-solopreneurs-guide-to-celebrating-hug-your-boss-day/

Publish Date: August 25, 2015 5:00 AM


Spreading the Ruby Love Wherever We Go

One of the most joyful things about being a Ruby is connecting with our amazing clients on a daily basis. We like to think of ourselves as part of their team, and in many cases, come to know them as part of the Ruby family! One receptionist has gone above and beyond to show her love for our clients. Throughout her travels, Sara-Lee has WOWed our clients by taking the time to visit them in-person! I chatted with Sara-Lee about her experience and the excitement of seeing clients in their element.

 

Sara Lee

How long have you been a Ruby?
Let’s see, I’ve been with Ruby for almost 8 years now.

Tell us about your first experience visiting a client.
The first time I visited a client was about four or five years ago. I noticed the client was located in my hometown of Covina, California. I was heading there for vacation and thought, “Why not bring them some Ruby swag?” I took a moment on a call with the main contact at the company to say, “I’m gonna bring you some Ruby love,” and he thought I was kidding! I took Ruby-branded mugs, pens, coasters, and magnets and arranged to meet the client for coffee. It was so fun meeting face-to-face and they were so nice!

Is there one special client visit that stands out?
Last July, my husband and I went to New Orleans for a convention. Prior to the trip, I sent a note to one of our New Orleans-based clients saying I was coming to town and would like to bring him a little something. This client decided to go above and beyond for me, making arrangements for my husband and me to meet him for lunch.

We met him and his lovely wife at Willie Mae’s Scotch House where we enjoyed fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and homemade biscuits I still dream about. Our client had said he wanted to give us an authentic New Orleans experience, and he certainly delivered! He even made it a point to call the next day to check up on us, as well as tell us of some must-see attractions. Since then, our Client Happiness Department will pass along a message every now and then from the client letting me know he says, “Hi!

What compels you to go out of your way to visit our clients?
I just like people! And it’s all about making personal connections, right? What better way than putting a face to a name. Then, when I answer the phone, I have that image, that memory—and it makes me happy.

Where would you love to visit a client next?
In my perfect world, the next time I go visit a client, it will be to Hawaii!

Aloha, Hawaii-based Ruby clients! You may be seeing Sara-Lee in your neck of the woods soon!

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2015/08/spreading-the-ruby-love-wherever-we-go/

Publish Date: August 19, 2015 5:00 AM


Going on Vacation? The One Step You Don’t Want to Forget

Hooray! You’re headed out on vacation for a well-deserved break. But there’s at least one step to take before you can do this:

via

Update your Whereabouts in Member Services:

Let us know you’re on vacation, and we’ll gladly keep your callers in the loop.

Without Whereabouts, your customers may react like this after leaving their fifth message:

via

With Whereabouts, we’ll be able to set good expectations for a return call—or direct your customers to someone else who can help. For example, we’d be happy to tell callers, “John is on vacation until the 25th, but Susan would be happy to take your order. Let me try Susan’s line for you.” Your clients will say,

via

and you can have peace of mind while on vacation. But if you ever forget,

via

simply update your Whereabouts from wherever you are using the free Ruby mobile app.

Have a relaxing time away!

via

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2015/08/the-one-step-you-dont-want-to-forget-before-your-vacation/

Publish Date: August 18, 2015 5:00 AM


Client Spotlight: Drake Law, PLLC

We’ve had the pleasure of answering calls for Drake Law, PLLC, since October 2014. We’re excited to share our interview with owner and attorney, Lindsey Drake, in today’s Client Spotlight!

Tell us about your practice.

Drake Law, PLLC is a small office of two lawyers and the occasional intern. I focus on writing wills, estate planning, and the probate of wills. My associate, Rebecca Pitts, concentrates on elder law matters including Medicaid planning.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love the interaction with clients during meetings and consultations. I worked for a company one summer where I wrote many memos and had zero contact with anyone outside of the office. I’ve been in customer service positions since I started working at 16 years old, so I felt isolated.

Many people don’t think of the law as a customer service position, but it is. The primary difference from retail is that people now ask me how to fix their problems and reach their goals. While I tell them what to do, I am still providing a service.

How did you handle your calls before hiring Ruby?

Badly. I let many calls go to voicemail so that I could stay focused on my tasks. I’m also frequently in the car traveling and unable to answer. If I’m out in a coffee shop or away from my office and a current client calls, I feel comfortable briefly explaining the background noise and then answering their questions. However, calls from new clients must be taken when I have my calendar and a quiet room.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in your business since hiring Ruby?

There have been two huge changes. I no longer have multiple missed calls from the same person just because they didn’t want to leave a voicemail. Having a live person answer my calls and either connect them to me or my voicemail has increased client satisfaction immensely. Secondly, I saw an increase in new business soon after hiring Ruby. When a new client calls and a live person answers, they’re far more likely to stop calling other attorneys for hire and wait a little bit for a return call.

What do callers think of your receptionist?

I’ve received many compliments on my receptionists, and never a caller complaint. I love that my receptionists are friendly and have pleasant phone voices with no regional accents. Only a couple of my clients have noticed that my receptionist isn’t a staff person in my office and it has never mattered. Off-site services are the norm now!

A big thank you to Lindsey for taking the time to chat with us! To find out more about the work Lindsey does, feel welcome to visit her firm’s website here.

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2015/08/client-spotlight-drake-law-pllc/

Publish Date: August 12, 2015 5:00 AM


Ruby’s Guide to Vacation Autoresponders

Vacation season is here—time to kick back, relax, and reply to client emails from a new and exotic location. Wait—what? No! Cut the proverbial cord with your work email account during your next getaway. A thoughtful autoresponder can give you peace of mind while you’re miles from your desk! Follow these guidelines to keep your clients happy and informed when you can’t reply right away:

Make it warm. You may not be able to email your clients while you’re snorkeling or or trekking a mountain trail, but you still care about them. Show it with your tone! Use a friendly greeting and closing to ensure the tone of your auto-reply is top-notch. A general greeting like “Hello!” does the trick for starters, and a closing like “I look forward to getting in touch with you soon!“ is a nice way to wrap things up.

Let ’em know when you’ll be back. Don’t leave your clients hanging—let them know when you’ll be getting in touch with them.  If you suspect you’ll be swamped when you return to your inbox, factor in a bit of a buffer time. If you’re back Tuesday, for example, you might say you’ll be happy to get in touch Thursday. Replying a little earlier than expected is always better than keeping correspondents waiting.

Point ’em in the right direction. Is there someone who can help while you’re out? Including that person’s contact information will put your autoreply recipients at ease, even if they don’t use it. Everyone likes to know they’re taken care of! If you don’t have a back-up buddy, consider including emergency contact information, or giving those who have it the okay to use it (“If you need anything urgently, please don’t hesitate to call my cell phone.”)

Altogether, your autoresponder might look a little something like this:

Hello!

Thank you for your email. I am out of the office on vacation, and I’ll be back Wednesday, August 12. I look forward to catching up with you then! If you need anything while I’m out, feel free to email Kendra at hello@callruby.com

Best regards,

Ruby

And remember: When you’re back to business as usual, be sure your auto reply is no longer active. You may be able to create a schedule for your autoresponder ahead of time, but if not, set a reminder to turn off your autoresponder.

Now for the best part—enjoying your vacation!

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2015/08/rubys-guide-to-vacation-autoresponders/

Publish Date: August 11, 2015 5:00 AM


Paging Dr. Ruby Ep. 4: Using Tone to Create Connections

Your tone of voice quite literally sets the tone for each call you answer. By speaking in a warm, friendly tone, you encourage callers to be friendly in return. This episode of Paging Dr. Ruby focuses on three basic components of tone: pitch, rhythm, and emphasis.

When you speak with someone face to face, you’re able to read their facial expressions and body language, adjusting your own body language to communicate the appropriate emotions or intent.

But over the phone, all you’ve got is your voice! Instead of body language, you must rely on the way you speak to convey the intention behind your words.

Depending on your tone, the same words can take on very different meanings. Think of the last phone call you made. From the way the person said “Hello” you could tell immediately whether they were in a good mood, distracted, or overwhelmed.

Your pitch plays an important role in your tone of voice. When your pitch falls flat, you come across as bored or uninterested. On the other hand, if your pitch goes up at the end of a sentence (sometimes referred to as “upspeak”), you may come across as uncertain or unsure. A surefire to keep your pitch level and warm? Smile!

Another component of tone: rhythm. Long pauses give off the impression you are distracted, and make it difficult for the caller to understand you: “How…may…Ihelpyou?” To project confidence, keep your rhythm consistent. Put distractions aside when the phone rings, and focus on your call.

Emphasis, the words you stress when speaking, is also important to express your intentions. For example, the meaning gets a little muddied when you say “How may I help YOU?” or “HOW may I help you.” But when you say, “How may I HELP you?” it’s clear you’re here to help!

Monitor your pitch, keep your rhythm steady, and emphasize the right words, and you’ll soon be a pro at communicating a warm and helpful tone to your callers!

“Paging Dr. Ruby” is a monthly videocast dedicated to sharing tips on improving communication and making personal connections. You can view other episodes in the series on our blog, or subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive updates whenever a new video is uploaded.

How would you like your question to be featured on a future episode of Paging Dr. Ruby? To submit your question, share it in the comments below, tweet us @callruby, or send us an email.

If you found this video helpful, could you hit the Share/Save button below so others can benefit from it too? Thanks for sharing!

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2015/08/paging-dr-ruby-ep-4-using-tone-to-create-connections/

Publish Date: August 5, 2015 5:00 AM


A Lesson in Growth: Learn To Lead Yourself Before Others

At Ruby Receptionists, we believe in and honor five core values: Foster Happiness, Create Community, Innovate, Practice WOW-ism, and Grow (my personal favorite). As someone who thirsts to learn and stretch her comfort zone, I’ve been lucky to work for a company that feels the same way about growth as I do. Ruby’s most palpable embodiment of this value is in its creation of our Leadership Development Program. Comprised of four phases, this program teaches Rubys a treasured skill set, allowing graduates to leave the classroom prepared to take on leadership roles here at Ruby and in the outside world.

 

Stephanie

The first phase of the program focuses on developing the leader within—delving into self-discovery and self-exploration. As a graduate of this phase, I’ve learned so much! Here are my biggest takeaways.

Core Values. While I knew of Ruby’s core values, I’d never taken time to think about what my own core values might be. With much time and focus, I thought about what makes me tick. I thought of the stories behind my biggest successes, failures, and the people I most admire. I considered the common themes and qualities in those stories and people, narrowing those to the one’s with which I most closely identified. After this self-reflection, I found my values to be Grow, Love, Family, Integrity, and Adventure.

Now that I’ve determined my core values, they have brought me a step closer to understanding who I am as a leader. My beliefs positively impact my decision making as I incorporate them into everything I do. If I am faced with a decision I am unsure of, I ask myself whether I am honoring these values. Will my actions result in personal growth or encourage the growth of others? Am I acting in a way that shows love and kindness? How does my decision affect my family? Am I being honest and moral? Am I acting with bravery in the face of the unknown?

Mission Statement. Similar to defining my individual values, I then took that one step further by creating a personal mission statement. Exploring the common themes that matter most to me helped me to create a mission to live by—a roadmap to refer to throughout my life journey.

When creating a mission statement, it should answer why you do what you do. This is why knowing your core values first are so helpful, as you’ve already become aware of what matters most to you. Looking through the lens of my mission statement, I’ve found I’ve become much more confident in the choices I make as leader in both my personal and professional lives.

One example of a powerful mission statement is that of Mahatma Gandhi’s. His statement is a short list of actions.

  • I shall not fear anyone on Earth.
  • I shall fear only God.
  • I shall not bear ill toward anyone.
  • I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
  • I shall conquer untruth by truth.
  • And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.

Self-Talk. It may seem like an obvious observation, yet I was profoundly moved by the idea we are all telling ourselves something at any given time. For instance, we continually evaluate our behavior and the behaviors of others. We think of the laundry list of tasks we’d like to accomplish in any day. I became much more aware of whether my voice was being kind and positive toward myself. Proactively switching the phrases I used in my head brought about a noticeable change in my effectiveness as a person. Switching my thoughts from “I should do” and “I have to” to “I want to” and “I am” meant a shift toward accomplishing goals, rather than ruminating about them.

As I began to incorporate these three notions into my daily life, there were challenges—my biggest being awareness of my self-talk. As I embraced the idea of changing the tone of my mind’s voice, I realized I faced breaking a habit I had practiced my entire life. With vigilance and dedication to change, it became easier to monitor my thoughts.

I became a better leader and others noticed. I began to demonstrate a higher level of accountability and confidence. I felt much surer of myself as I took on newer and bigger challenges. I began to help foster growth in my teammates by sharing my new found knowledge. Less than a year after the program ended, I was promoted to a leadership position within the Client Happiness department. Now that I know how to lead myself, I am ready to embrace the next step—leading one-on-one. I’m now embarking on the second phase of the program and am excited to see what this new journey brings!

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2015/08/a-lesson-in-growth-learn-to-lead-yourself-before-others/

Publish Date: August 4, 2015 5:00 AM


The 5 Universal Truths of an Organized Office

Ah, paper.

It’s a seemingly ubiquitous and never-ending aspect of business life. We have come a long way from typewritten receipts and library card catalogs, but despite our modern use of computers and electronic correspondence, paper still manages to sneak its way into piles on the desk, files in the drawer and often into every other conceivable nook and cranny of the office. How to stay organized?

In my career as a Professional Organizer, I have come across all manner of paper woes, most of which stem back to one identical origin story—there is no system in place.

Without a system for processing paper, it becomes all too easy to lose to-dos and action items amid other strains of correspondence. As a result, chaos ensues!

As professional organizers, Organizers NW specializes in helping folks to get their paper organized once and for all. The key is to create a system that works for each individual client—it has to fit your personal habits, workflow, and needs in order to be sustainable in the long term. We have some great step-by-step instructions over on our blog for how to organize and corral all of that paper. Today however, I’d like to provide you with some universal truths I’ve observed with my small business clients as we have organized their paper. My hope is that these will inspire you to go to town on your own office!

Truth #1: Horizontal is Hidden

One of the big issues our clients deal with is searching for paper. This often happens because their paper immediately goes into piles as it enters the office. We like to say “horizontal is hidden, vertical is visual.” If you look around you right now and see piles on your desk, chances are you sometimes have trouble finding what you need. Sound familiar? Keep reading!

Truth #2: Action vs. Reference

In order to keep your paper—and subsequently your business life—organized, it is very important to separate action-related paper from reference paper (items that can simply be filed). Setting up a small, vertical reference file on your desktop for action-oriented paper will help you to keep those items separate (directions for how to do that here), and keep it from going into mixed piles. All other paper can go into your file cabinet or drawer, or into an inbox or file on your desk marked “To File”. Setting up a system to separate these two categories is the first step toward getting organized.

Truth #3: Trim the F.A.T

As you are organizing your paper, keep Professional Organizer Barbara Hemphill’s rule in mind, “There are only three things that you can do with paper: File it, Act on it, or Toss it.” It’s that simple. Remember this as you are sorting and making decisions. Ask yourself whether you can find the information online or if it is stored somewhere else in the office. Keep only what you need.

Truth #4: Let your Paper Speak to You

As you create action-oriented files, add a sticky note with the date and instructions for what you need to do with that paper. That way, when you come back to it later, you will know exactly what is required of you—relieving your brain significantly. Writing down the to-do also helps to anchor it in your memory. Once all of your action-related paper is in one place, you can “batch” those tasks within one sitting.

Truth #5: File for Retrieval

As you file reference-oriented paper, choose file names that make sense to YOUR brain. Store-bought tabs don’t provide a customized reference system and often fail to keep you organized. Instead, create file tabs that make sense to you and how you think. Choose broad topics like “Office Manuals” rather than “Canon Printer.” Don’t make single files for one piece of paper—you will end up with too many files and a confusing system. Straight-line filing also makes tabs easy to see (choosing all center-cut tabs, for example).

Time to Make a Date!

Now that you have a nice starting point, you need to actually make the time to go through this process. Paper always takes more time to organize than other objects, so plan accordingly. Make the time to go through this process—block it off on your calendar, turn off the phone and focus on paper organizing. The time, energy, and stress you will save yourself will far outweigh the initial time investment. Your clients will be impressed by your organization, you will have more time in your day and be more present and focused on your current workload. Happy organizing!

As a Certified Lean Practitioner and 5S Expert, Veronica Bishop is trained to identify office place waste and to increase flow and functionality within a space. With an additional background in teaching and as a Certified Life coach, Veronica is driven to help clients set goals for projects and follow through to success. She loves helping people realize their objectives by asking powerful questions about their hopes and dreams for the space, and providing feedback and support when needed. Her motto is “clean out the closets of your mind”!

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2015/07/the-5-universal-truths-of-an-organized-office/

Publish Date: July 30, 2015 5:00 AM


When Your Laptop Is Your Office: Preparing To Go Mobile

A mobile office gives you a level of autonomy you can’t achieve in a traditional office. While this can be liberating, it can also be inconvenient if you’re not equipped with the equivalent of items you would have available in a regular office. Whether you’re transitioning or looking for ideas to make your mobile office more efficient, we’re here to help!

Hardware

The most important element to your mobile office is your computer! Having a machine that can handle your workload on the go is imperative, so you must determine if your laptop has the required specs. Consider battery life, storage, graphics, WiFi and Ethernet capabilities, as well as the number of USB ports you’ll have available. Laptop Mag has an easy-to-follow buying guide that discusses everything from choosing an operating system, to size, and even what to look for in customer support.

Next, think about how much printing, scanning, and faxing you’ll be doing. If making a trip to Kinkos every once in a while will cover you, that’s one less piece of equipment to worry about. Otherwise, can find a relatively inexpensive All-in-One machine to keep at home.

There’s also a number of other helpful components to consider. For example, I spend most of my time on a desktop, so when I’m working on my laptop the touchpad slows me down. A wireless mouse is cheap and can slip right into a laptop bag. Most are battery powered and require only a USB port to send information from your mouse to your laptop. Of course, this may require a bit of coordination if you use flash drives or other USB devices simultaneously.

Even with an excellent battery life, available public outlets are scarce, so think about grabbing a backup battery for emergencies.

Aside from security software (which we’ll get to in a moment), there are a variety of locks and security cases to prevent laptop theft while on the go. For PC users, check out PCWorld’s article providing an overview of locks and tracking software. Apple consumers can visit sites like Maclocks, which provides a number of cable and security case options.

Software

Most new laptops come pre-programmed with a hefty amount of junk you may never use that slows down your system. A free program called PC Decrapifier will scan your computer and give you a list of programs they recommend kicking to the curb. I recently downloaded this program to test it out, and it worked like a dream! It shows the percentage of users who chose to delete each program, which made me more confident about getting rid of them. In case you get a bit trigger happy, you have the option of creating a restore point each time you delete something. You can also download another free software program called Recuva to retrieve lost items.

As for cyber security, you can find a lot of great free antivirus software, as well as free encryption tools to keep your personal and confidential information safe. File storage can be messy, but using cloud storage allows you to tag your files for easy retrieval and share them instantly. PCWorld’s article on integrating cloud storage into your workflow will help you decide if, and how, you can use it to your advantage.

For added security (and to clear some space off your computer, an external hard drive is great for the mobile office. Digitizing physical files allows you to access them on the go and send to clients in a convenient format, which can be accomplished with an OCR (optical character recognition) program used in conjunction with a scanner, and sometimes even a smart phone.

Beyond the basic software you’ll need to run your business, Tech Hive has compiled a list of great free programs that will enhance your computer’s capabilities. I personally use CCleaner to keep my hard drive in tip top shape, and VLC to play audio and video files that aren’t compatible with other pre-installed programs. Lastly, if you’re planning on grabbing a bunch of new software, the Ninite Installer is a simple way to download or update many programs all at once.

Funware

An office is a reflection of your personality and preferred working style—and a mobile office is no different.

For those with the gift of gab: When giving presentations and hosting virtual meetings, Bluetooth headsets cut down on delay/echo, improve sound quality, and minimize background noise.

For the fashion-conscious: Travel in style with a custom messenger bag or attaché that will protect your equipment and keep you organized

For the couch-surfers:  Keep yourself and your computer comfortable with a laptop stand and fan combo. You’ll keep your laptop cool and give yourself an ergonomic edge. Also, a clip-on light provides a better lighting source when you’re in a public place.

For the textile types: Griffin’s stylus/pen/laser pointer is super sleek and will take you from jotting down notes, to navigating your smart phone, to presenting in style.

For the multitaskers: Juggling a bunch of tasks at once? A virtual receptionist frees you up to meet with other clients or work on a deadline by handling your calls. Instead of getting voicemail, your clients get to speak with a friendly voice that can relay information and take detailed messages—allowing you to focus.

For everyone: You spend countless hours staring at your laptop screen—make it personal! Keep a folder with pictures that inspire, calm, or motivate you and set up your desktop image to rotate between the images. In need of a few ideas? Desktoppr has thousands of free wallpapers to choose from that sync right to your desktop.

A mobile office doesn’t mean depriving yourself of what you need. When preparing to go mobile, be sure to read up on consumer reviews to find the best technology options for you, as well as talk to colleagues in your industry. Start with your equipment, then move on to software individualized to your needs. Once those are in place, you can choose fun extras to give you all of the convenient features of a regular office!

If you found this article helpful, could you hit the Share/Save button below so others can benefit from it too? Thanks for sharing!

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2015/07/when-your-laptop-is-your-office-preparing-to-go-mobile/

Publish Date: July 28, 2015 5:00 AM


Making the (Office) World Go Round: The Office Champion

I follow the same routine each morning when I arrive at the Ruby office. I unload my bike bag at my desk, connect my laptop to my external screen, and then head to the break room for my morning tea. My tea options are beautifully displayed (and easily accessible) via a countertop wire rack. Ruby-branded coffee mugs are stocked right above the coffee machine (handles all facing the same way). Plus, every Tuesday, there is some treat to add a spring to my step. The whole process takes me less than three minutes—which is exactly what Ruby’s Office Champions are hoping for.

 

Christian Cartwright

Claire LaRocca

Offices are comprised of hundreds of moving parts, no matter if you’re 10 employees or 100. Like a well-oiled machine, these parts must work together to keep business moving, and employees happy and focused. Even a small interruption, like a lack of paper in the copy room, can result in dramatic loses in productivity. No one takes this responsibility more seriously than Christian Cartwright and Claire La Rocca, Ruby’s two office champions. I recently interviewed Christian, who works out of the Portland office, about the importance of office champions (or managers) in creating community and fostering happiness.

What is an office champion/manager?

On a basic level, an office champion is the person who manages the office as a facility—coordinating with building management on repairs, managing installations of office equipment—essentially handling the structural part of what you need to make an office run.

On a deeper level, however, an office champion should be the touchstone of the values the company embodies—an internal customer service if you will. The way Rubys treat their clients is how I treat our employees, which reinforces that behavior for our receptionists.

Can you give me an example?

One of our receptionist managers came by and asked if we stocked cough drops in the medicine cabinet, which we didn’t at the time. One of her receptionists had a scratchy throat, so she was hoping to do something to make her feel better. I could have responded, “Oh, no cough drops. Hope she feels better!” and left it there. However, that would not be practicing Ruby’s values. Instead, I told her I would run downstairs and buy cough drops, so she could go back to work. I also let her know going forward, I would make sure cough drops were stocked for everybody. After purchasing the drops, I delivered them to the receptionist’s desk with a get well card. That’s practicing WOWism, which is exactly what we do for our clients. It creates a cascade effect that impacts how that receptionist works, how he or she feels, and it becomes a story that gets passed along.

What characteristics or personality traits should an office champion possess?

The most important is to be attentive to detail and there are two different types. First, you’re managing a group of people’s work life, so much of your focus is on making sure you’re prepared with the right infrastructure. If there’s no paper, employees can’t print things. If there’s no markers, they can’t do a presentation. Those details are very basic, but very important. This also means being an ambassador for the brand. Here at Ruby we have a specific aesthetic and way of doing things. Cleanliness is key! We have guests in all the time, so everything needs to kept at a certain standard, the goal being to impress employees and those who come to visit us.

The second type is being attentive to people’s needs. The role of office champion is a service position, so you need to know what people need even before they know it themselves. For example, you’ll see me bring water around to our receptionists because I know they talk all day. It really takes it up a notch. I mean, how many places have someone bring you something other than work to your desk?

Additionally, office champions need to be comfortable working independently and managing their time. While I have a mental checklist of my typical tasks to complete each day, I could work as much as I want to. I’ve had to learn how to manage my own time, or else I’d burn myself out.

Lastly, maintaining a positive attitude is extraordinarily important. The office champion is a high contact position, seen more than any other team member. If you’re having a bad day, that negative attitude will permeate through the office.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My day is comprised of many little, teeny touch points that individually are truly mundane, but in the aggregate are critical.

  • Arrive between 7:30-8:30 am and log into my computer.
  • Head to the break room. Make sure everything is tidy and we have enough basic stuff (e.g. tea, sugar, honey, coffee stirrers, etc).
  • Go through and check all the conference rooms to be sure they’re stocked for the day’s meetings—markers, pens, paper.
  • Check business center, refill items from my overstock, and make note of anything that needs to be ordered.
  • Check fitness room to make sure it has water and cups.
  • Quick trip to stock room to make sure there aren’t any hidden disasters.
  • Come through and check the kitchen again. An hour has gone by since I started my round, so I like to make sure everything looks alright.
  • Pop over to my boss’ desk and ask her if she needs anything, followed by a run down to the store to buy odds and ends.

What sort of tools are essential to your role?

Well, you need to have actual tools—a hammer, screwdriver, things of that nature. More importantly, you need to have savvy regarding shopping. Offices consume lots of stuff and being able to comparison shop will save your business money.

What does success look like for you?

Success is hearing about an issue, addressing it upfront and hopefully not hearing anything carried over to the next day. If I’m able to take care of all the people related needs over the course of one day, then I feel like I’ve done a really good job.

What would you say is the biggest difference between managing a 10 person office versus Ruby’s 200+?

I don’t believe the office champion role would be easier with less people, just smaller units of everything I’ve described. At a smaller company, however, I imagine that person wouldn’t just be running the office, but have different tiers of duties. The larger the company, the more pure the office champion becomes, to what I think of as the definition of an office manager.

What should a company look for when hiring an office champion?

I think you need someone who is aware of the impact the role is capable of making, and interested in making the biggest impact they can. This person should think in terms of making people feel acknowledged and special. This would come across as someone who is empathetic, attentive, and willing to be as helpful as possible—someone that exudes a desire to help and serve.

Any parting thoughts?

I’ve worked at a lot of places and had a rather wide variety of jobs. This is the first time in all of my years of working I can say I now understand what people meant when they said “I love my job and wake up every morning excited to go to work.

If you found this article helpful, could you hit the Share/Save button below so others can benefit from it too? Thanks for sharing!

Source: http://www.callruby.com/the_watercooler/2015/07/making-the-office-world-go-round-the-office-champion/

Publish Date: July 23, 2015 5:00 AM

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