Creating Community at Ruby Receptionists

Hopefully by now you’ve seen Ruby® Receptionists’ new core values.  They define who we are and what we believe.  They are the qualities we would never compromise, no matter how unpopular or unprofitable:  Innovate, Foster Happiness, Create Community, and Practice WOWism.  But what do they look like in action?  Last time, I talked about leading through Innovation, and today I want to focus on the Ruby community.

First, why do we Create Community?  There are a lot of answers to this question.  We create community because it makes the office a friendly, comfortable place to be.  We believe in the contagious quality of happiness.  In theory, each Ruby could work from an offsite location, plugging away at their telephone answering duties in isolation.  Instead, we’re all in the same Portland office.  You might call it our international headquarters.  Even though the receptionists don’t have much opportunity to talk to each other while they’re talking to callers, we find other ways to create a strong community.

How We Create Community:

  • We do things together:  We have monthly events, on-site fitness classes, and lasting friendships.
  • We do things for each other:  We help each other move, give each other rides, and there’s always a Ruby happy to share her lunch if someone else has forgotten one.
  • We share our stuff and our talents:  Crafty Rubys are always sharing their arts with the rest of us, whether by teaching their trade to another Ruby or just giving a hand-made gift.  The upstairs library is full of books donated by Rubys to be enjoyed by everyone in the office.  We even have an office bike that everyone is welcome to use.
  • We share good news:  Everyone gets to see compliments from clients, and we especially like to “Ooo” and “Ahh” whenever we have good news–babies and weddings are favorites.
  • We create community outside of Ruby:  We volunteered at the Oregon Food Bank in 2008 and again in 2009.  In 2009 a group of more than a dozen “Rubys for Boobies” raised over $400 for the Race for the Cure.

We are a team, and the goal of our sport is success–success for our clients, for our team members, and for everyone we interact with, every day.  Our clients don’t view us as faceless operators, but part of their team, and we view them as part of ours.  When our clients win, we win.  We consider the big picture in every action and choose the path that provides the most benefits for all involved.  It is not one superstar that makes our company work.  We are all connected and we depend on each other.  We create special times together.  We make the connection.  We succeed through creating community.

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Happy Secretary’s Day!

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Today is Administrative Professionals’ Day! In 1952, National Secretary’s Day was created to honor an important office role that can sometimes get overlooked.   Since then, the day has had a few name changes and eventually landed on National Administrative Professionals’ Day. No matter what you call us – secretaries, receptionists, or administrative professionals – the role is still just as important as it was 60 years ago. Time has taught us that a smile, a warm hello, and bit of charm can go a long way in business!

How are the amazing receptionists here at Ruby celebrating our favorite holiday?  With a tea party of course! Our hardworking team is taking a break from their busy day of telephone answering to share a cup of tea and celebrate all the great work that they do each and every day. Our conference room has been transformed into an old-fashioned teahouse filled with wonderful treats (contributed by everyone in the office) and our receptionists are dressed up to the nines in their best retro secretary garb. We are taking the time to remember the roots of our profession and also celebrate the little things we do each day to support our clients.

We also raise our teacups today to the more than 8.9 million other administrative support staff all over the US!


Holly T, Sarah S, Katy, Suzanne, Katie, Ellen, Brianna, Amy, Emily, and Kim


Paddy, Sara B, Kate, Janel, jewel, Tasia, Monica K, Lauren O, Diana, Amanda, Hilary, Monica D, and Serenity

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Ruby Walks for Autism Awareness

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Team Ruby: Ang, Piper, Holly T, LeAnna, Jill, and Dogmar the dog.
Team Ruby: Ang, Piper, Holly T, LeAnna, Jill, and Dogmar the dog.

One of our fabulous staff managers was blessed with a beautiful daughter six years ago. Her name is Piper and she is one of our virtual receptionists‘ favorite little girls in the world. She is a ball of energy and she reminds us to take time out to find joy in little things. Piper was also diagnosed with autism 3 years ago. Autism affects millions of people and families worldwide and Oregon has one of the highest rates of autism in the US. Yesterday, 10 Rubys and friends walked with Piper and hundreds of others to enjoy a beautiful sunny day and show our support and raise money and awareness for the Autism Society of Oregon. The money that we donated this year will go towards great causes like providing scholarships to help lower income families afford special programs and summer camps for children with autism!

Piper leads the way!
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The entire month of April is Autism Awareness Month. This is a great time to take a moment to celebrate and support the people in your own life who have been touched by autism!

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What is the best way to build your team and boost employee morale?  We like to think the answer is simple—throw a party!  It may seem trivial, but the simple act of taking time to enjoy your coworkers’ company can make a huge difference in your day-to-day life.  Not only is a party a great time for everyone, but it provides something for our team of virtual receptionists to look forward to in the midst of a busy month of providing top-notch customer service.

Here at Ruby, we have created our own special day of each month to make room for a good time.  We call them our “Third Thursday” events.  On the third Thursday of each month, our staff knows that they can count on something wonderful to do after work.  One of those Third Thursdays per quarter is designated as an all-staff meeting to talk business, but the other Third Thursdays are filled with a variety of fun things to do to unwind and help our staff connect with each other.  The Ruby office culture is very much based on our core values of creating community and fostering happiness and I like to think that our events play a big part in bringing those values to life. These parties do not always have to be extravagant or outrageously expensive to be effective and fun!


Here are seven fabulous things your company can do together for less than $100:

1) Bring in the experts.  Many local specialists are happy to come in and lead a discussion for a small fee.  We have had acupuncturist, an herbalist, an ergonomics expert, and a local chef come in as part of a wellness & heath lecture series.  You may want to consider other experts like financial planners or organization specialists that might be of interest to your group.

2) Host an exchange.  We are an office full of women, so we have been hosting a yearly fall clothing swap, but you might want to host a swap for books, art supplies, movies, or whatever you think best appeals to your group.   Swaps are a great way for your employees to get rid of some unneeded items and come away with new treasures without spending a dime.  Swaps also make for great bonding time—I love learning secrets about my coworkers’ fashion pasts during our annual clothing swap.

3) Have a good old fashioned movie night or video game night.  That projector that you are using for your meetings can easily be turned into a movie projector or hooked up to a video game system.  Ruby hosted a Nintendo Wii party last year and it was a big hit.  We had Guitar Hero battles in the conference room and a few other games set up around the office, and everyone took turns and tried different things.

4) Volunteer.  Nothing brings people together quite like a unified sense of purpose and pride.  Ruby has been going to the Oregon Food Bank annually.  We have a great time, we help a great cause, and I walk away feeling so proud to be a Ruby on those nights.  We also walk in Race for the Cure and several other charity walks each year.  Charity walks are a great way to get the team outside in the sunshine and working together for something you all believe in.

5) Make something together.  Consider having a general craft night, or choose a project that everyone can work on together for the good of the office or for a special occasion.  Maybe you could make some recycled notepads for the office?

6) Host a potluck.  We have an office full of amazing cooks and bakers, and they just love a chance to share their scrumptious creations with the office.  You can make it a free-form potluck or choose a theme.  We host a yearly “Soup Day” in the cold winter months, and ask our management to bring in a few crockpots of homemade soups and bread for the office.  It costs nothing for the company to host, but it certainly warms a lot of hearts.

7) Do some research about your town, and seek out the hidden gems.  We called our local college and found that they had private billiards, bowling, and game rooms for rent for under $100!  It’s amazing what you can find with a little asking around!  Try contacting local colleges or looking into offbeat venues that might not have a lot of promotion or glamour on the outside.  You might just find something wonderful hidden behind doors you never thought to open.

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