Are you paying £240/hour for your reception function?

Facilities management has come a long way in recent years, with the rise of technology and data-driven solutions transforming the way buildings are managed and operated.

However, some elements have remained untouched: the manned reception desk.

Many businesses view reception desks as a must-have feature, creating a certain cachet and providing a crucial first impression. Bus with the increasing cost of Front of House services, it is time to question whether they are worth the investment.

Reception desks are often viewed as a sunk cost, with little thought given to their true productivity or ROI. This is because many operators do not have accurate data on visitor footfall, making it difficult to assess how busy the reception staff are. For instance, when is the reception desk used the most or least? Are there peak times during the day? Is there seasonable variation? And most importantly, how much do the reception staff actually work in terms of direct interaction with visitors?

Let us take a moderately busy building receiving 5,000 visitors a year, and assume that each visitor gets a generous 3 minutes interaction with the reception staff.

Over the course of one year, the desk is actually “worked” 15,000 minutes a year, or about 68 minutes a day based on 220 working days/year.

With the operating costs for FOH services in Central London edging £60k/year, the cost of work done is £240/hour.

Even if you somehow manage to maintain the cost of your reception function to £40,000/year, the effective cost of work done is still an eye watering £160/hour.

In any other industry, such high costs would be considered unreasonable, so why does our industry seem to accept it? While the perception is that the reception desk is a necessary feature to create a welcoming and professional atmosphere, the cost of maintaining this feature may not always be still justifiable.

Some may  think that our mathematics here are far too simplistic, but the truth of the matter is that very few are actually in position to give accurate visitor traffic data when asked to backup their own assumptions on ROI. Regardless, a fully manned Lares Digital reception service, with the same assumptions as above, comes to £40/hour – a fraction of the cost of traditional FOH services.

The cost saving alone is surely reason enough to consider alternatives to the traditional FOH service. Increased efficiency with no compromise on quality are two more reasons to look at least discussing the options available. We are always happy to discuss your specifics so you can decide for yourself if your solution makes sense.

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