Managing an Uptick in Employees’ Inbound Personal Mail
Put yourself in your employee’s position:
Your wife’s anniversary is coming up, and you’ve ordered her a diamond necklace. The package is due to arrive at your home on Friday.
Nightmare scenario 1: Your wife gets to the package before you, opens it, and your well-laid plans for a romantic evening capped off by the perfect gift go poof!
Nightmare scenario 2: The package sits on your doorstep all day while you and your wife are working. Someone driving through the neighborhood sees it sitting there unattended and steals it. The company denies responsibility, and you’re left with nothing to show for your efforts—oh, except a big credit card bill.
Nightmare scenario 3: The package comes while you are at work but requires a signature. You have dawn to dusk work meetings on your schedule tomorrow (your anniversary day), and there’s no way you can break away during business hours to retrieve the package from the post office. Your wife gets an IOU instead of a diamond necklace.
There’s one way to solve all of this: have your package delivered to work.
More and more packages
If you’ve been into your corporate mailroom lately, you’ve probably seen a significant uptick in activity. In 2019, ecommerce grew by nearly 15% in the U.S. That adds up to a lot more packages. Of course, 2020 sent those figures into the stratosphere with the advent of COVID-19. The virus will go away, but experts predict that e-commerce will maintain its foothold, even when we’re free to venture out and shop without masks. In other words, those packages are going to keep coming—and they probably won’t just be work-related.
If you poke around in your mailroom for a while, you’ll likely see plenty of packages that have nothing to do with work. They’re personal items ordered by employees, and why not? Consider the perks of workplace delivery.
- No porch pirates. Those opportunists who steal mail off of people’s front porches—it’s pretty hard for them to infiltrate the corporate mailroom. You can minimize theft by having things sent to work where they will most likely be received by a person rather than sitting unattended on your doorstep.
- No missed deliveries. If a package is sent with “signature confirmation” and you’re not there, you’ll be left to chase it down. Mailroom attendants can help with that, saving you big hassles later.
- Protects confidential items. If you get an item for your eyes only, such as the aforementioned diamond pendant for your wife, you won’t risk it being seen by the people you live with before you can get to it.
What does This Mean for Your Business?
Sure, this is great for the employees, but what about for you? Now, you need more manpower to sort and deliver the packages. You’re also on the hook if a package gets damaged, even if that item has nothing to do with your company at all. Once the courier hands the package off, it’s your responsibility. And what about space? Do you have room to accommodate all of those deliveries?
You have some options here. You could make a strict policy prohibiting employees from having personal items shipped to the workplace, and if the problem is getting out of hand, this may be a viable option. Keep in mind, though, that it could be hard to police. Does your mail staff really have the bandwidth to detect which deliveries are work-related vs. personal based on shipping labels? This could degenerate into a “he said, she said” affair that creates suspicion and ill will.
On the other hand, you could allow personal deliveries to continue as a perk for your employees, but if your mail staff is being overwhelmed, you’ll need to find ways to help your mailroom run more efficiently. Consider these options.
- Get a scanning app. Still using a handheld scanner for inbound packages? Move into the 21st century where there’s an app for that—specifically a package receiving app. With this app, you can use most any computerized device to scan labels using optical character recognition (bye bye, manual entry). This eliminates errors and saves time. When your processes are streamlined, your mailroom won’t be significantly affected by a smattering of personal packages flowing in each day.
- Communicate. When you look for a mailroom app, make sure to choose one that facilitates digital communication with package recipients. For example, our PackageX cloud-based package tracking system can auto generate an email or text to recipients every time a package is received. Employees can then send a quick reply by clicking choices that indicate how they want to handle pick-up/delivery. The software can also generate auto-reminders if someone doesn’t pick up their package in a designated amount of time. This can help you move packages out quickly to free up storage space—and you won’t have to worry about chasing anyone down. The software does it for you.
- Get package lockers. This is a considerable upfront investment, but it keeps things in secure locations and allows employees to pick things up at their convenience—whether for work or personal reasons.
- “Smart room” for mail. This is a high-tech version of smart lockers that allows for greater flexibility with storage space. Rather than putting a package into a designated locker, a courier can enter credentials to access the smart room. They can then scan the label on the package and place it on an open shelf. Employees will receive a notification that the package has been delivered. After they present credentials to enter the smart room, they will be directed by a digital map to find their package. If they reach for the wrong one, an alarm will sound. This method is high tech and high security while requiring limited manpower
Having personal packages delivered to work is a nice convenience, and you’re likely to score brownie points with your workforce if you afford them this option. The trick is not to let it burden your workforce or your bottom line.
If you find ways to modernize and automate your mail processes, you should be able to do this without much pain or strain. It’s a step we recommend to companies of all sizes in this era of burgeoning e-commerce.
Want to find out if it’s right for you? Check out our ROI Calculator. You punch in the details, we’ll let you know if switching to mailroom software will save you money—and how much.