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Over the past six months, the coronavirus pandemic has likely disrupted every aspect of your company’s operations — including mail delivery.
While you’ve probably had some temporary measures in place (such as forwarding mail to another location), you may need to make more permanent changes to your mail delivery and interoffice mail systems.
Here are six things to consider when evaluating mailroom management in the midst of a pandemic.
The most straightforward method for mitigating mail delivery challenges associated with coronavirus is reducing the volume of physical correspondence.
While your organization will still have to use couriers for package delivery, you can encourage employees to use digital options whenever possible.
There may be some exceptions where sending or requesting an electronic version of a document is not an option and a physical copy is required. But if it’s more a matter of personal preference rather than legality or confidentiality, you should request that employees take advantage of digital channels instead of postal mail.
There are plenty of software solutions that help simplify the transition from physical mail to digital correspondence. For example, DocuSign, PandaDoc, and HelloSign allow you to securely capture digital signatures from anywhere. These signatures are just as legally binding as when someone signs a paper document with a pen.
However, you should also consider the fact that many employees may not have printers or scanners in their homes. Fortunately, there are third-party mobile apps that enable you to use your smartphone camera to easily scan paperwork and other documents (such as receipts and invoices), convert them into PDFs, and share them electronically.
These include Adobe Scan, Genius Scan, and ScanPro.
Apple devices also come with a limited number of built-in scanning features.
Taking the time to make sure your workforce knows about these options can help you reduce unnecessary physical mail.
Along with decreasing the volume of incoming and outgoing mail, one of the goals of making adjustments to your processes for managing mail delivery and interoffice mail should be to limit person-to-person contact as much as possible. Intelligent lockers are an effective way to accomplish this.
Intelligent lockers are customizable electronic locker systems that can be used to securely store packages waiting to be picked up by an employee who is working remotely. Because intelligent lockers are self-serve, recipients do not have to interact with anyone face-to-face.
In addition, the lockers can only be opened by the individual with the passcode, which is unique to each delivery. This helps minimize the risk of lost or stolen mail.
Intelligent locker systems are modular and customizable, which means they can easily be reconfigured to meet the changing needs of your workforce. This is especially important as the size of your on-site workforce will likely be in flux for the foreseeable future.
Intelligent lockers are also a good investment for companies interested in adopting a flexible office space model as part of their return-to-work strategy. In workplaces without assigned seating, intelligent lockers can be used as a place for employees to easily and securely store their belongings during the day.
In the past, you may have allowed employees to have personal mail and packages sent to the office. Now, depending on the circumstances, employees may not be able to retrieve their mail or package for several days or weeks.
If a large number of employees are still having personal deliveries sent to your office and aren’t picking them up promptly, mailroom employees can run out of storage space quickly. Even if you use intelligent lockers, the mailroom team may find themselves with more packages than available compartments.
To prevent mailroom personnel from being buried in envelopes and boxes, consider updating to interoffice mail policies to reduce non-work-related mail and package delivery. You could also ask them to schedule pickup times with the mailroom to keep large groups of employees from arriving at the office at one time.
If you are not using intelligent lockers, you can establish designated pickup areas in the office as another measure for limiting in-person interactions.
Depending on the size of your mailroom, it may be difficult for employees to physically distance themselves as the CDC recommends. You may need to stagger the schedules of mailroom employees to limit the amount of time multiple people are working in the same enclosed space.
If the volume of outgoing or incoming mail is too high, you may need to convert a nearby workspace into an impromptu mailroom. This enables you to maintain appropriate staff levels without impeding safety.
Additionally, ensure the high-touch surfaces in and around your mailroom (such as light switches, doorknobs, and tabletops) are properly cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis.
While health experts say there is little risk of being exposed to coronavirus via mail or packages, it is still a good idea to remind mailroom personnel not to touch their face after handling deliveries and to wash their hands periodically throughout the day. You should also make sure they have easy access to hand sanitizer and other cleaning agents, such as antibacterial wipes and disinfectant sprays.
Our mailroom management software streamlines the delivery of inbound, outbound, and interoffice mail. It allows your mailroom to receive, track, and distribute packages in the most cost-effective and efficient way.
Using this technology with a barcode scanner gives mailroom employees the ability to quickly check in mail and packages, digitally capture all pertinent details, and generate a delivery manifest. They can automate tasks such as data entry, item indexing, sorting, routing, and tracking — which helps get the mail or package to its intended recipient as promptly as possible.
Once the delivery has been checked in, a mailroom team member can use the software to automatically alert the recipient via email or Slack notification that their package has arrived.
While these features were beneficial prior to the outbreak of coronavirus, they are especially valuable now. Using a barcode scanner to check in deliveries reduces the amount of package handling. And because the software automatically notifies employees when their delivery has arrived, there is a lower likelihood of packages piling up due to fewer people being in the office.
As organizations across the country develop their return-to-work strategy, many are eliminating assigned seats and adopting an agile work environment.
As a result, employees will not be in the same place every day, which can make hand-delivering packages more challenging. But with a robust mail delivery mobile app, mailroom personnel have access to floor plans and building diagrams right on their phone, making it easier for them to navigate the workplace and determine the most efficient delivery route.
As an added bonus, our mail delivery mobile app has gamification features that let team members check the company leaderboard and see who has made the most interoffice mail deliveries. The mail delivery app can also be synced with other health apps to keep track of an employee’s daily step count.
Even though the volume of incoming and outgoing mail your company manages may have slowed over the years, your mailroom is still an integral part of your business. Make sure you consider how it will be impacted by coronavirus to ensure mail delivery continues with as few hiccups as possible.
Our cloud-based mailroom management software is affordable and easy to implement. It also integrates seamlessly with other workplace management systems that help you manage your space and assets, including your copiers and printers.
Being able to access all these systems through one integrated platform helps you optimize your work environment. For instance, mailroom staff members can see your floor plans and easily navigate between buildings or rooms. If you have reservation software integrated with the same system, they can also search for a person and easily find where they are sitting for the day.
If the pandemic has made you rethink some of your mail delivery protocols, there’s no better time to invest in our mailroom management software. Schedule a demo today.
A member of the Business Development team, Glenn has years of experience with business process improvement on the Commercial Real Estate and Facilities Management sides.