At this time of year, we can’t help but think about all things mail. After all, there are more packages to receive and parcels to send than at almost any other time.
The trouble is, it’s also the end of the year. That’s a busy time at work, too. How can you help your employees (and yourself) through it?
Mailroom services are not often a high priority on a facilities manager’s list for workplace improvements. But everyone in the company uses, needs, and relies upon this aspect of workplace operations and let’s face it, it could use a little love.
Let’s take a look at 11 things you can do to transform your workplace mailroom service.
1. Allow and encourage employees to have packages sent to work.
In 2019, 76% of US consumers shopped online, and that number is expected to rise. People spent $517.36 billion with online merchants in 2018, and that begs the question: how are all those people getting their packages?
Porch deliveries are often returned because there’s no one home to sign for them, and a shocking number of packages are stolen from doorsteps every day. That’s why shoppers are enticed to have their purchases delivered to them at work. A great first step in improving mailroom service is to turn work delivery from a time-consuming hassle to a welcomed employee benefit.
2. Mailroom services: Try smart lockers
But wait, you say. Our mailroom is busy enough as it is without having to contend with personal packages! Where are we supposed to put all these boxes, and what happens when employees don’t pick them up right away?
Mailrooms can take a page from apartment complexes, which are facing the same issue. Installing workplace technology like smart lockers is a great way to save space and eliminate clutter. With three days to pick up a package and a personal unlock code, smart lockers practically run themselves, with little to no staff time.
3. Turn the mailroom into an employee perk
Busy employees appreciate it immensely whenever the company allows them to take care of routine errands while still at work. Companies offer everything from flu shots to dry cleaning to car washes to free or subsidized lunches to employees, so why not mailroom services? If you can save your employees some time and hassle and position an existing function as an employee amenity, that’s a win for everybody.
4. Automate delivery management
Mailroom management software makes the labor-intensive work of cataloging and sorting packages, tracking, and notifying and reminding employees about deliveries a simple task. When packages arrive, just snap a quick picture of the shipping label, and the software takes it from there. The system sends an automated email to each employee to let them know their package is ready for them. Then, after a time-limit you set, it sends a pickup reminder. The system tracks the lifecycle of each box, so you always know exactly where it is — from intake through receipt.
Another benefit of mailroom management software is that it can alert personnel if an employee is on vacation, leave, or has left the company so that the package can be stored or re-routed. Employees set an alert for time-sensitive or critical parcels to help ensure that the person waiting for it can get it even faster. When it’s picked up, the software records pickup details for greater security.
5. Branch out with additional fee-based mailroom services
The more you can be a one-stop-shop for employees, the better they’ll like it. If you’re using good mailroom management software, your mailroom staff will have more time to provide additional services for employees, like handling outgoing packages. Employees see real value in the ability to purchase postage, packing materials, boxes, tape, and bubble wrap without having to run to the store. Another way to make employees’ lives easier is to offer fee-based mailroom services like package preparation.
6. Encourage environmentally-friendly shipping and delivery
One of the downsides of online shopping is the vast amount of paper, plastic, and cardboard it generates. In 2018, Amazon reported that packaging accounted for 13.89 million tons of C02 emissions, and that’s just one retailer. Environmental issues are an enormous concern for many employees.
The mailroom is an opportunity to make a difference. Offering box re-use and recycling will help offset your carbon footprint. Let employees know that package delivery and mailing from a central source reduces "last-mile" carbon emissions because many packages can be processed from a single location.
7. Give the mailroom a makeover
Mailrooms are not known for their glamor. Even as offices gain design elements like soft furniture and live plants, the mailroom often remains a bare-bones operation. If ever there was some low-hanging fruit for workplace improvement, it’s there.
Make it a welcoming and comfortable place that employees enjoy visiting. Look into streamlined mailroom furniture, attractive and functional storage solutions, and sophisticated mailroom management software that increases efficiency, self-service tables with digital scales, access to recycled boxes and other mailing necessities, and a customer-service-oriented design.
8. Get feedback from mailroom employees
No matter how much you research ways to improve mailroom services, your best advisers already work with you. Nobody knows what would make the mailroom better than the people who work there every day. Since some of the world’s top executives got their start in corporate mailrooms, there’s no doubt mailroom workers are excellent sources of innovation — and inspiration.
9. Be open to emerging technologies — even if they seem weird right now
Getting packages to employees quickly and effectively has been an issue the mailroom has been trying to solve for generations. In the early 20th century, companies relied on pneumatic tubes to move parcels and letters around at a high rate of speed. So the idea of mechanized delivery is nothing new. So, what about delivery robots?
Cute robots on wheels are a commonplace sight on streets in the Silicon Valley. Each carries food orders to hungry recipients who can open them with a unique code. The same technology is a natural for the office. Combined with cutting-edge mailroom management software, delivery robots can bring packages to employees securely and almost silently without disrupting other mailroom operations. Don’t worry that robots replace human jobs — with an advanced and employee-friendly mailroom, employees will have more than enough to do.
10. Have a game plan for high-volume times of the year
We all know it’s coming: the winter holidays and the avalanche of packages that come with it. The United States Postal Service estimated that they delivered 750 million packages during the 2016 holiday season, and the numbers are only going to increase. This is the time of year that can break mailroom services departments that aren’t prepared. It’s time for a huddle and a plan.
Pull the staff together in advance of a rush to:
- Identify any problems or inefficiencies that could cause a snag in timely and smooth operations
- Decide whether you need to take on seasonal employees or make adjustments to the work schedule
- Look for ways to better organize the mailroom so that nothing gets misplaced
- Create ample space to move around
- Sort and deliver both work and personal parcels more than once per day
11. Train employees how to pack properly to reduce the chance of loss
"With great power comes great responsibility." Though the saying didn’t originate with Spiderman, it became known as the Peter Parker Principle because it holds true in countless situations. The corporate mailroom is one of them. If you’re going to encourage employees to handle personal packages at work, you may also be taking on liability if any of those packages go missing in your care. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, though. Take responsibility for teaching employees how to package like a pro.
A lot of times, the reason a package gets misplaced is that it wasn’t labeled or weighed properly in the first place. Damages can often be blamed on poorly-secured boxes or containers that can’t protect the contents. Offer employees a class on shipping skills. It’ll serve the double purpose of helping the mailroom be more efficient and providing a valuable life skill employees wouldn’t likely get anywhere else.
The mailroom is an overlooked gem in an office, but it has so many opportunities for improvement that’ll benefit everyone in the company. Workplace technology has made new options possible that create better jobs, promote goodwill, and increase employee satisfaction. Put your company’s stamp on a mailroom makeover!