Receptionists vs. Administrative Assistants: What You Need to Know

Apr 6, 2022 | Blog

Receptionists and administrative assistants have one thing in common: they play vital roles in maintaining the administrative functions of your business. With that said, you may have come across a “receptionist vs. administrative assistant” debate with yourself. Their roles seem so similar – which one should you get?

Before you make a decision, it’s important that you know the similarities and differences between receptionists and administrative assistants.


Receptionists and administrative assistants can share similar functions. Many of their core responsibilities revolve around maintaining and optimizing the workflow of the departments in the company.

This involves administrative tasks that help streamline the productivity of the business. These include:

  • Answering calls
  • Responding to emails
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Communicating among departments
  • Managing files/database of the company

Depending on the company, receptionists and administrative assistants can both also play an integral role in managing customer relationships, including providing customer service and answering customer inquiries.


On the other hand, receptionists and administrative assistants are different in a number of ways that are fundamental and practical. These differences are what make the two roles distinct from each other.

Here are some of the main differences between receptionists and administrative assistants:

  • Receptionists work at the front desk. Administrative assistants mainly work in the back office.
  • Receptionists usually stay at the front desk to greet visitors. Administrative assistants may move throughout the office to perform their tasks.
  • Receptionists can perform some administrative tasks when needed alongside their front desk work. Administrative assistants work primarily on administrative tasks.
  • The workload of receptionists becomes heavy during days with a large volume of visitors. The workload of administrative assistants becomes heavy depending on how busy the back office gets.

Knowing what you need

Receptionists and administrative assistants seem so similar that you may be hard-pressed to figure out which one will fit your needs. There are some areas that receptionists are better at than administrative assistants and vice versa.

You can go around this with three possible solutions:

  1. Hire both receptionists and administrative assistants. This can give you the best of both worlds, as they complement each other’s work. However, this can lead to additional hiring, training, and payroll costs.
  2. Hire either a receptionist or an administrative assistant with additional responsibilities. This minimizes your need to hire additional manpower while covering the same ground. The drawback is that the additional workload might burn out your receptionist or administrative assistant.
  3. Hire either a receptionist or an administrative assistant, but delegate uncovered responsibilities to other staff. This is similar to number two, except you delegate some of the additional responsibilities to other staff members. The downside is that you will tire out your other staff, which might cause a decline in their performance in their actual responsibilities.

The best of both worlds

If you want the best possible solution that covers both receptionist and administrative assistant roles efficiently and effectively, look no further than virtual receptionists.

Virtual receptionists are highly versatile and flexible. Besides carrying out the roles and responsibilities of both administrative assistants and receptionists, they can also do a lot more for your business, such as:

  • Attend to multiple front desks at the same time.
  • Provide support to your departments across multiple locations simultaneously.
  • Identify and leverage client opportunities to increase profitability and improve customer relationships.
  • Help you achieve a more readily available front desk and effective assistant for your other departments.

Plus, hiring, training, and retaining virtual receptionists can be very cost-efficient in the long run. You need not look further than your current front desk team to achieve a virtual front desk that you can scale across multiple locations. Also, because they work comfortably in their own homes, they will be far less likely to experience burnout or file leaves. This allows you to achieve a virtually 24/7 front desk without exhausting your staff.

Use a virtual receptionist platform like WelcomeWare and implement a solid set of guidelines in agreement with your virtual receptionists, and you can receive the benefits of both receptionists and administrative assistants rolled into one package.

Scale your front desk to greater heights

WelcomeWare can make your current receptionists even more versatile

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