It’s a scenario you may have faced a few times before: A co-worker drops by your desk and begs you to get a package out the door, pronto. Although one of your responsibilities is to make sure that important mail and packages launch on time, dropping everything to get a package sent right away can throw your schedule out of whack as you make a mad dash to get it mailed.
Try these tips to encourage co-workers to do their part, and to build an outgoing mail process that makes your day a little less hectic.
Set Pick-up Times
To establish a manageable rhythm to your mail tasks, let your colleagues know what time mail is picked up each day. You can shift the “blame” for these deadlines, if you want, to FedEx or other delivery services – the deadline is the deadline, and it’s out of your hands. Encourage co-workers to drop off their packages by a firm deadline if they need to get something mailed promptly. Make it clear that anything dropped off after mail has been collected won’t go out until the next day.
Emailing your co-workers about the daily drop-off deadline may be necessary in the early stages of your new system. Also, posting reminders in the mailroom, and in other logical locations, keeps current staff on track and gets new team members into the routine.
Provide Adequate Storage
Without a designated spot for people to put outgoing packages, your colleagues may wind up keeping them on their desks longer than is ideal, or placing them randomly throughout the mailroom. Invest in shelves and boxes that can hold different types of packages to keep all mail in one spot. Make sure you clearly label which area of your mailroom is for outgoing mail to avoid confusion.
Request the Right Information
Let your co-workers know that mail will not be sent out unless it contains the recipient’s address, the return address and other necessary details. Make a sign to display in the mailroom that includes a checklist of all the needed information.
Your team should also be aware of what happens when packages are delivered to you without this information. If they understand their mail will be delayed, they may be more likely to include all the required details next time.
Set Up Mailroom Stations
It’s one thing to be handed a fully wrapped package, but it means more work for you when your coworkers use materials that won’t stand up in transit. Encourage people to properly wrap by stocking the mailroom with all the necessary supplies, including boxes, labels, tape and envelopes. Organize these materials in order of how your co-workers will use them when packing. An instruction sheet outlining what it takes to prepare a package to withstand the mail may also help.
Consider posting instructions that detail the right box and filler for certain types of packages — for example, packing peanuts work best in smaller boxes. If your coworkers need an extra nudge, think about including a note to warn them that their packages will be delayed if they aren’t wrapped correctly.
Look Into Tech Solutions
If your company processes enough mail, think about investing in tools and technology to help lighten your load. For example, a postage meter that weighs packages, prints out shipping labels and calculates postage can save time and money.
You may also benefit from mailroom management software that tracks your incoming and outgoing mail, if your volume of mail is high. This software automates most aspects of mail processing. For example, some software will notify you of an uptick in outgoing mail, so that you can ask your carrier for more pick-up times.
The right approach to mailroom management may ultimately be to manage it less. With the right system in place, and guidelines for your team to follow, you can gradually encourage co-workers to do more.