How to answer a phone call from your boss

Unplugging, Disconnecting, and Graciously Taking the Weekend Off

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How to answer a phone call from your boss

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Some people expect business calls and emails during their time off, but if you’re not one of them, you may become frustrated when you start hearing from your boss or coworkers when you’re supposed to be relaxing. This is a common problem that can create frustration and eventually make you dread picking up the phone.

If you work 40-plus hours during the week, you probably feel that you’re entitled to weekends off, so what do you do when you consistently get business emails and calls on the days you’re not scheduled to work? Do you ignore them, answer them right away, or wait until you get back to the office on Monday?

When it’s a coworker in an equal position to your position calling or emailing feel free to speak up about how important it is to take time away from work. Let them know you’ll get back with them on Monday. Be gracious in order to maintain a positive business relationship with this person. However, when it’s your boss, you’ll need to be extremely cautious if you don’t want to miss out next time promotions or raises are being handed out.

What to Do When the Boss Emails or Calls

Your boss may fall under one of two categories: They rarely call you during your off-duty hours, or they’re a frequent violator of intruding on your time off. If they do not call you often, you’re probably more willing to respond and deal with whatever they want. However, if their number pops up on your caller ID every Saturday morning at 9:00, you might roll your eyes and ignore the call. The problem with doing that is that it will haunt you during the entire weekend.

Here are some tips on dealing with those unwelcome calls:

  • Always answer the phone since it might be an emergency. If it only happens once in a while, go ahead and handle the matter as professionally as you can.
  • If you see a pattern with the boss calling without regard to your time off, have an open and frank discussion on the next business day. You might have missed something on what is expected of you in your position. Everything needs to be clearly spelled out.
  • Answer any email that comes to your personal account as quickly as possible. Don’t check your work email unless you have a specific reason.

What Not to Say or Do When Your Boss Calls

There are probably dozens of things that run through your mind when you get these annoying weekend phone calls. You might think of something sarcastic or witty to say, or you might be tempted to retaliate. Either of these responses will hurt you professionally.

Here’s what you shouldn’t do when you get calls during your time off:

How to answer a phone call from your boss

How to answer the phone professionally, sound like a receptionist, and impress your callers—every time!

Picture this: The flu’s hit the office, and most of the crew’s home sick, including the receptionist.

You and your healthy teammates are facing double the usual workload, and although you’re up for the challenge, one question looms:

“Who’s going to answer the phone?”

You find yourself wondering… how does a receptionist answer the phone anyway? What does it take?

As the boss mutters something about signing up for that phone answering service, it happens — the phone rings, and by chance, you’re standing closest to it.

All eyes are on you. Do you have what it takes?

Fear not! Our live virtual receptionists have your back. If you’re the office pinch-hitter, follow these five steps to flawless phone answering success:

1. Greet your caller graciously.

“Hello” doesn’t cut it. Begin with something nice like “Thank you for calling,” end with a “How may I help you?” and be sure to slip your company name in the middle. Above all, you want to leave your callers with a positive impression! Our greeting guidelines make it simple.

Discover the ROI.

Discover the benefit of real, meaningful connections on your bottom line in our free guide!

2. Mind your manners.

You may be new to the receptionist game, but if you’re nice, no one will notice. Ask for information rather than demanding it, as in “May I say who is calling?” and “May I have your name?” Throw “please” and “thank you” in there as much as possible. Remember, everyone loves to be treated with respect and the happier your callers are, the happier you’ll be!

3. Deflect with style.

Here’s a little secret every great receptionist knows: it’s not about having the answer to every question, it’s about knowing what to say when you don’t know. “Let me find out for you” and “Let me connect you with the best person to help you” are excellent responses, whereas “I don’t know” is not so much.

4. Avoid dead ends.

When you’re not able to reach the person your caller is seeking, always offer to take a message or transfer the caller to voicemail. Similarly, never make your caller ask to leave a message — it’s awkward and off-putting. It’s as easy as this: “Tim’s in a meeting. May I take a message?” There’s always a way to work in a positive spin!

5. Keep calm and carry on.

Mistakes — we’ve all made them. Our expert virtual receptionists have learned that nearly any flub can be remedied with friendliness. Being a receptionist isn’t an easy job by any means, but at the end of the day, you’re a person communicating with another person. The key to answering the phone flawlessly is a personal touch! Be kind, be courteous, and be yourself, and you’re sure to hit any curve ball out of the park.

Want more tips?

Get our comprehensive walkthrough for top-notch, completely unbeatable call handling!

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About Ruby

Introducing Ruby’s new content strategist

Call to talk to a live virtual receptionist and hear why 10,000+ companies Ruby.

I was stuck in a toxic workplace for two and a half years, and by the end my nerves were shot. I couldn’t afford to quit my job to start a full-time job search, and I felt completely trapped.

My wife Sarah got a raise at her job and she said “Let’s adjust our household budget so you can quit your job and focus on getting something better.”

I quit my job on October first, one of the happiest days of my working life. My co-workers said “When you get a better job, we’ll follow you!” I’ve done okay in my job search so far. I’ve had two interviews (no offers yet). One problem I’m running into is that recruiters ask me “Can we contact your last employer?”

Watch on Forbes:

I left the company on good terms but I still don’t want anyone to talk to my old boss, who is the owner and president of the company. He is the reason I quit and the reason my former co-workers hate their jobs as much as I hated mine.

He may not know that you’re not supposed to slime a past employee when you give a reference. My old boss was furious with me when I gave notice. There’s no way I want to give out his name as a reference, but what can I do?

Now I’m wondering if I made a mistake in quitting my job to job-hunt full time. If I had still been working there, I could have said “I’m still working for ABC Corp and they don’t know I’m job-hunting, so you can’t contact them.”

Now that I’m gone, what reason could I give for not passing on my former boss’s contact details?

Congratulations on getting out of a toxic workplace! That was a big step.

You won’t include your former boss on your list of references, but you’ll need to list the company as a former employer so that prospective new employers know what you’ve been doing for the past two and a half years.

Don’t assume that when you list your past employer on your resume or anywhere else, other employers will want to talk to your former boss. It’s very unusual for companies to check references to that degree anymore.

They are more likely to simply verify that you worked for the company than to take steps to actually converse with anyone there.

The standard answer to the question “May we contact your former employers?” is “Yes!”

Many companies won’t even do it. The answer “No, you can’t contact my past employers” is a red flag, and we can see why. If you say “No, you can’t talk to my former bosses” most people are immediately going to wonder “Why not? What terrible thing happened between you and your former boss?”

I don’t think you need to worry about getting slimed by your former manager. If it happens — and you’ll know or suspect that it happened when you’re expecting a job offer and then after the reference-check or employment-verification process, the job offer doesn’t come — you can deal with the issue then.

You can get a lawyer to send your former boss a letter telling him to stop defaming you, if you have reason to think that’s what happened. If you want to check on the way your former employer describes your work for them, sign up with a temp or contract agency and see what they tell you about their verification process, or just get a friend to call your old company and say that they’re planning to hire you for a project and want to verify your employment.

Make sure that your list of references is current and that your references are reachable and up-to-date on your career path. Get on the phone with each of them and prep them before you give anybody their contact details. Your references should include at least one former boss, and can also include other managers who didn’t supervise you as well as former co-workers, former customers and vendors.

Get your former colleagues and other business contacts to leave you glowing recommendations on LinkedIn. You can start the ball rolling by writing recommendations for them, even if you haven’t seen or talked to them in a while.

I’m not talking about click-the-box endorsements on LinkedIn, which don’t carry much weight. I’m talking about full-paragraph recommendations, like this example:

I worked with Emanuel at Angry Chocolates, where he managed the physical inventory process every year and I worked in Production Scheduling. Emanuel is the one of the smartest and most capable colleagues I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with. He improved the inventory process every year so that it ran like clockwork, and I could always count on Emanuel to jump in and help out in a pinch. I’d jump at the chance to work with him again.

Notice that your former colleague said you managed the physical inventory process. If you managed the process, go ahead and say so in your resume and let your friends mention that fact in your recommendations, too. You don’t have to be a manager to manage things!

When it comes to your background, first reclaim it by writing down the things you’ve done and the triumphs you’ve had in your career so far.

Next, frame it — make sure your Dragon-Slaying Stories are easy to understand and powerful on the page. Then, proclaim it! Add a human voice to your resume and your LinkedIn profile.

Don’t worry about your former boss. He’s receding into the past. Your focus is on the future!

How to answer a phone call from your boss

How to answer the phone professionally, sound like a receptionist, and impress your callers—every time!

Picture this: The flu’s hit the office, and most of the crew’s home sick, including the receptionist.

You and your healthy teammates are facing double the usual workload, and although you’re up for the challenge, one question looms:

“Who’s going to answer the phone?”

You find yourself wondering… how does a receptionist answer the phone anyway? What does it take?

As the boss mutters something about signing up for that phone answering service, it happens — the phone rings, and by chance, you’re standing closest to it.

All eyes are on you. Do you have what it takes?

Fear not! Our live virtual receptionists have your back. If you’re the office pinch-hitter, follow these five steps to flawless phone answering success:

1. Greet your caller graciously.

“Hello” doesn’t cut it. Begin with something nice like “Thank you for calling,” end with a “How may I help you?” and be sure to slip your company name in the middle. Above all, you want to leave your callers with a positive impression! Our greeting guidelines make it simple.

Discover the ROI.

Discover the benefit of real, meaningful connections on your bottom line in our free guide!

2. Mind your manners.

You may be new to the receptionist game, but if you’re nice, no one will notice. Ask for information rather than demanding it, as in “May I say who is calling?” and “May I have your name?” Throw “please” and “thank you” in there as much as possible. Remember, everyone loves to be treated with respect and the happier your callers are, the happier you’ll be!

3. Deflect with style.

Here’s a little secret every great receptionist knows: it’s not about having the answer to every question, it’s about knowing what to say when you don’t know. “Let me find out for you” and “Let me connect you with the best person to help you” are excellent responses, whereas “I don’t know” is not so much.

4. Avoid dead ends.

When you’re not able to reach the person your caller is seeking, always offer to take a message or transfer the caller to voicemail. Similarly, never make your caller ask to leave a message — it’s awkward and off-putting. It’s as easy as this: “Tim’s in a meeting. May I take a message?” There’s always a way to work in a positive spin!

5. Keep calm and carry on.

Mistakes — we’ve all made them. Our expert virtual receptionists have learned that nearly any flub can be remedied with friendliness. Being a receptionist isn’t an easy job by any means, but at the end of the day, you’re a person communicating with another person. The key to answering the phone flawlessly is a personal touch! Be kind, be courteous, and be yourself, and you’re sure to hit any curve ball out of the park.

Want more tips?

Get our comprehensive walkthrough for top-notch, completely unbeatable call handling!

Additional reads you may find interesting.

How to answer a phone call from your boss

Business live chat: Have your cake and eat it too.

How to answer a phone call from your boss

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Small business resourcefulness with Loren Feldman

How to answer a phone call from your boss

Small Business Tips

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How to answer a phone call from your boss

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How to answer a phone call from your boss

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How to answer a phone call from your boss

Automated lead capture: Why you need it and how it works.

How to answer a phone call from your boss

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[Infographic] Telehealth in 2021 and beyond.

How to answer a phone call from your boss

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How to answer a phone call from your boss

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How to answer a phone call from your boss

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How to answer a phone call from your boss

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How to answer a phone call from your boss

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How to answer a phone call from your boss

Small Business Tips

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How to answer a phone call from your boss

Small Business Tips

How much does an answering service cost?

How to answer a phone call from your boss

About Ruby

Introducing Ruby’s new content strategist

Call to talk to a live virtual receptionist and hear why 10,000+ companies Ruby.