Pandemic has changed the dynamics of the global shipping and logistics industry. The global parcel volume exceeded 131 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach 266 billion in 2026. In the US only, the parcel volume grew exponentially year over year since the Covid outbreak, with 20 billion package volume in 2020, up 37% from the previous year. A similar impact was observed in office mail and package delivery worldwide. Let's take the example of a commercial real estate company that offers shared workspaces. They received approximately 488,633 packages in 2020 and 948,438 in 2021 (approximately 2x more than 2020) as per the data obtained from the PackageX platform.
On average corporate mailrooms receive approximately 1000 packages every day, and this number will continuously grow with time, thanks to the rise in "online shopping." Office mailrooms have become busier as employees ship their personal packages to their workplaces. Many commercial office spaces lack the resources to manage personal and business packages efficiently.
Therefore, you need to develop a clear mail and delivery policy that defines the rules for personal package delivery at the office and the responsibility of every employee regarding mail handling at the office.
Here's the detailed guideline on developing a mail and delivery policy for your offices with an in-depth analysis of the pros and cons of allowing personal packages at work.
The Need for Mail & Delivery Policy
Employees find it easier to ship their personal packages to offices than to their homes. One of the reasons is that packages are not left unattended at the front door of homes during the day, reducing the risk of package theft. While it is convenient for employees, offices need to weigh those conveniences because extra delivery traffic drains office resources. The ripple effect of online shopping causes package pileups in the office mailroom, which takes up a lot of space.
Moreover, it also brings up privacy and security-related issues. For this purpose, an office should have a solid mail and delivery policy to address these issues preemptively. It will help the staff and employees understand the expectations regarding the packages that circulate through the office. Also, the front desk and mailroom staff will have a clear action plan to deal with any possible violations of official mail and delivery policies.
Pros & Cons of Allowing Personal Packages
Employers can allow or prohibit employees from getting their personal packages at work. This decision is primarily based on the pros and cons of personal package delivery at offices.
Let’s have a look at some significant pros and cons of allowing personal packages in the workplace.
- It takes stress off the employees as porch piracy is at an all-time high. Their packages are not left at the door unattended, and they get them on time.
- It allows you to turn your office mailroom into an employee perk.
- The employees feel valued when their company facilitates them in taking care of routine errands while still at work.
- Offices will be liable if any package goes missing or is damaged.
- It is hectic for the mailroom staff to handle so many packages.
- Storage issues occur as the packages pile up.
- Higher risk of inefficiencies or snags in smooth logistics operations.
- Confusion between personal and business packages.
- Chance of receiving inappropriate materials at the workplace.
Mail and Delivery Policy Considerations
In case you decide to allow personal package delivery at the office, the official mail and delivery policy should include the following guidelines:
- What will be the mechanism for package handling?
- Identification of the place from where employees can pick up packages.
- Development of a verification or security procedure before releasing packages to the recipient.
- Set a threshold for personal packages that can be delivered to the office. In this way, you can reduce the number of personal packages at your office.
- If you have set a limit for the number of personal packages, you need to decide how to flag an employee for over-shipping.
- How will employees verify their identity in companies where front desk staff might not know all the employees personally?
- What kind of notification system will be used to notify employees about their personal or business packages?
- Who will monitor the enforcement of your office's mail and delivery policy?
- What will be the consequences of policy violations?
Define Risk & Privacy Expectations
Most offices do not want to be held responsible for any possible damage to the delivered packages. Also, they do not want their front desk staff to spend time finding lost packages for the employees.
Therefore, you need to clarify in your mail and delivery policy that the office is not responsible for employees' mail or packages. Employers should give their staff a clear indication of "no privacy" for the packages sent to the workplace. The law also supports the employer's right to open the package sent to offices if it's not marked as "Personal or Confidential."
So, when you create your official mail and delivery policy, make sure to include mail privacy expectations in it.
Training & Communication for Package Handling
There should be a dedicated section in your policy to specify how mailroom managers or administrators should handle mail and packages. You should clearly define the package management process that includes notifying recipients about their packages.
Smarter companies are now using automated package management systems like PackageX Receive to streamline their logistics operations. Apart from mail sorting, you should also train your staff to recognize suspicious packages.
How to identify suspicious packages?
As per the Department of Homeland Security, the following packages should be considered suspicious:
- Bulky, uneven, and rigid packages
- Package with misspelled or badly written labels
- A package with no postage or excessive postage
- Leaks, stains, powders, and materials protruding from the package.
If your office receives a suspicious package, your staff should know what to do. There should be an emergency response plan that instructs the staff on how to handle the situation and who to notify. The administrator must verify the harmlessness of a package by checking the return address.
Optimize Package Management with Software
Regardless of your mail and delivery policy, you should have an automated package management system at your office. It lessens the burden of your front desk staff and streamlines the process. Products like Receive, Ship, and Track enable you to digitize your package receiving, shipping, and tracking operations with better accuracy and more security. You can notify the recipients about their packages through text and email notifications along with easy scanning, matching, and logging through the powerful OCR technology of the PackageX platform.
Mail and delivery policy in offices is created to establish expectations of employees regarding personal and business packages being shipped to offices. It should provide clear guidelines to ensure fair practices and legal compliance. Corporate offices or flexible workspaces should have a clear mail and delivery policy to summarize employees' responsibilities regarding package handling. Some important considerations that should be kept in mind while developing the policy are listed above. However, you should keep reviewing and updating your policies according to your company's needs.