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Help: tips on constant interruptions

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Question: I’d like to ask admin assistants and receptionists (front desk personnel) to share their tips on how to deal with constant interruptions.

We are a front desk staff at a nonprofit medical facility. We take care of visitors, set up appointments and answer a lot of questions from associates, as well as collect money, enter data, bill insurance and contact various departments to obtain information.

We have a small staff. The front desk person is required to be the front- and back-office staff for this facility.

The appointment book and central file area are located in the front office. Staff members come into the area to check their appointments and they walk through the area to get to the files and their mailboxes. There was another door they could go through to get to files, but, due to HIPAA regulations, it is now kept locked.  To get some confidential work done, we close our door. But people come in, anyway.

Thank you.  -- Anonymous


I had a similar problem, I was able to resolve it by placing a sign on the door.

"DO NOT DISTURB-Meeting in Progress from 2-4, Please return after 4 for assistance". I also send an email to everyone in the department a couple of hours earlier so if someone needs to retrieve something they can.

I would suggest delegating the task of entering or filing confidential data to a specific person, and set a specific area for this person, not accessible to other personnel other than those handling the confidential data. Isolating the area and these records might be a good idea as well.

I would do similar, delegate ceratin tasks to certain staff so they are not being interrupted by the front office work. Also in our company when one department is behind or having trouble finding alone time we put it on all the other departments agendas. Basically telling them to leave the front desk alone when they are in this room because they are having alot of interruptions.

It is difficult, not being able to see your office set up. Their may be a way to redesign your floor plan. One thought is to print out individual schedules so there is no need to come through and look at these. Every little bit helps.

2 quick things. # 1 what does the fire marshall say about locking the only other exit to the room? #2 I have never worked in a medical office, so I don't know if I am off base on this, but do you use Microsoft products in your office? If you do, could you use Outlook to manage the appointments? Could the associates check a second "networked" computer in an adjacent area? Maybe the mailboxes could be stationed in that area as well.
I also like Jo's and Millie's ideas. Make others accountable to be respectful of the office staff.

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