The role of the reception desk and its functions have not seen many changes through the decades, unlike the role of the receptionist.
The role and the occupying title continue to adapt through the cultural shifts. Originally, exclusively an all male profession with the title of scribe or clerk, was an entry level position that often provided the opportunity for advancement to management.
Then a cultural shift began. Some say it was during the industrial revolution, the invention of the typwriter, and men gone to war… it is debated which was the major contribution to the shift, much like which came first the chicken or the egg?
The position made the transition to primarily a woman’s role along with the title change of secretary. The word secretary comes from the Latin secretum, meaning secret. The position required a level of trust and integrity that is traditionally highly valued.
Gone are the days when secretaries take dictation on Steno pads and transcribe correspondence on manual typewriters.
You may still occassionally see the title of secretary or receptionist, but as the tools of the trade continue to rapidly evolve, so has the position title. More commonly the role is now known as Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant, Office Manager, or Office Supervisor.
Despite all the technical and cultural advances that have affected a receptionist’s duties, the function of the desk itself hasn’t changed. The reception desk has many stylish options, the primary function of the Administrative Assistant and their workspace is to provide an excellent first impression.