I work as a service coordinator/receptionist for a serviced office. We recently got rid of our day cleaner, and since then my job has been a nightmare. We are now required to do housekeeping jobs on top of our normal job requirements. We now, on top of our admin duties, have to:

  • take care of the cleaning during the day (at night we have cleaners)

  • take care of kitchens, including all floors dishwashers

  • take care of toilets, restocking them with paper etc but also cleaning them if necessary

That would be fine, we have managed so far, but today my manager gave me a broom and asked me to clean the the main street pavement in front of the building every hour or so, to remove leaves and cigarette butts. I feel this is becoming too much.

I have never been afraid to work and I am not squeamish at all. I used to work in the hospitality business and I always did all sort of cleaning tasks, no problem, but I think these requests are becoming too much. Especially because I am supposed to be a receptionist/service coordinator, not a housekeeper!

How can I communicate with my manager that no, I am not going outside the building to sweep the floor, for all the pedestrians to enjoy the show? Unfortunately our contract is cleverly written, and says that we need to "take care of the building look and appearance", leaving the door open to many interpretations.

  • Do you object to the volume of the tasks, the addition of housekeeping tasks to the job you applied for, or this specific task?
    – Lilienthal
    Jul 27, 2017 at 14:31
  • A location tag would be useful. In some countries, it might be ok to be asked to perfom such tasks, in others, not at all...
    – OldPadawan
    Jul 27, 2017 at 14:35
  • 3
    If I had the choice between sweeping the outside of the building for a few minutes every few hours or cleaning the toilets, I know which one I'd choose. Personally, I'd take some pride in helping to improve the appearance of the business.
    – user44108
    Jul 27, 2017 at 14:44
  • 4
    What clothing should one wear for a combined receptionist, cleaner, and sidewalk sweeper job? In my experience, receptionists are expected to dress fairly formally. Jul 27, 2017 at 15:38
  • 5
    The one issue I think that would be a legitimate reason why sweeping the front area would be a poor use of your time would be your ability to answer the phones. If you are out sweeping you cannot answer and direct calls, which I assume is part of your job being a receptionist. I would point this out to your boss and ask him to find someone else who isn't required to have a phone in hand most of their day.
    – Andieisme
    Jul 27, 2017 at 15:58

3 Answers 3


How can I communicate with my manager that no, I am not going outside the building and sweep the floor, for all pedestrian to enjoy the show ?

You can simply tell your manager that this is a task you don't want to perform.

Be prepared if your manager decides that it is not optional. In that case, you can sweep the floor or find yourself a new job. The choice is always yours.

In case it helps you feel better about it, in my most recent company the lone receptionist was responsible for keeping 3 kitchens cleaned and stocked, ensuring that the supply cabinets were neat and stocked, and was responsible for ensuring that the reception area was always clean and organized. She also had other responsibilities that some would consider "not the typical receptionist duties".

Unfortunately our contract is cleverly written, and says that we need to "take care of the building look and appearance", leaving door open to many interpretation ..

This is more "standard" than "clever". (Every job description I've ever had included a phrase along the lines of "and other duties as assigned".)

Unless you are in a union with specifically-defined job duties, or unless local laws prohibit it, an employer is free to modify the duties associated with your job.

And you are free to look elsewhere for a job that doesn't include any housekeeping, give your notice, and leave, if you so choose.


"says that we need to take care of the building look and appearance"

Sounds to me like this is a legitimate ask of them. Not sure that every hour is really necessary and should depend on the weather etc, so maybe ask about a reduction in the frequency requirement from the person who asked you to do this. And of course your main job at the (presumably) front desk should take priority.

Receptionists are the some of the first people seen at a company, so if they see you also working hard to keep the building clean, I see no harm in that, shows you care (usually) about the place.

As for the part about everyone having to keep the place clean without a day cleaner, I don't think that's too much to ask either. If you feel you're the only one doing so, maybe bring that to a manager's attention so that they can address everyone to make sure people are doing their part to keep the place clean.

  • 2
    Getting all hot and sweaty sweeping outside is not conducive to looking professional as the receptionist.
    – HLGEM
    Jul 27, 2017 at 19:06

If you are not happy with your assigned work duties that are found in your contract then I suggest looking for another job.

"Take care of the building look and appearance" falls squarely under your contract and your boss can ask you to do it.

If you object to that type of work find a job where it is not one of the job functions.

  • 2
  • not my DV but OP says on top of our normal job requirements, it doesn't seem to be in the contract then...
    – OldPadawan
    Jul 27, 2017 at 14:38
  • It says that "take care of the building look and appearance" is in their contract. From how I am reading this it seems like the question is "If I object to my contractually obligated duties what should I do?" The answer that comes to mind would in fact be quit your job and find a job that you do not object to the duties.
    – Joe S
    Jul 27, 2017 at 14:41
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    @DavidK Thank you for pointing that out, although it is not always a helpful answer, in this case I believe that it is as the OP objects to their basic work duties.
    – Joe S
    Jul 27, 2017 at 14:43
  • @JoeS : agree with that, but does it have to be outside too ? Inside seems fine, and that's what I had understood at first sight. Reading your comment, can maybe be seen the other way around... IANAL though...
    – OldPadawan
    Jul 27, 2017 at 14:45

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