office mail policy

How to: Developing the Best Mail and Delivery Policy for Your Office

Office mailrooms are getting busier as more and more people have personal packages shipped to the workplace.

This is, of course, thanks to the drastic rise in online shopping. Employees may find it much safer and more convenient to receive their orders at work rather than at their homes. 

While it may seem like no big deal for employees to ship packages to themselves at work, the extra delivery traffic can start to drain serious resources at your office over time. As online shopping continues to skyrocket, those boxes will start to pile up. 

Sending personal purchases to the workplace also brings up issues of privacy and security. Your staff policies should proactively address these so employees understand expectations when it comes to packages circulating through your office. 

Your front desk staff or mail room staff also need to have a clear understanding of how to handle potential problems or violations of your official delivery policies.

Start by solidifying a “Mail and Delivery Policy” that summarizes all of your employees’ responsibilities when it comes to handling the mail that comes into the office. Here’s a guideline of what should be included:

A Policy for Personal Deliveries at the Office

The first thing you need to decide regarding your mail and delivery policy is whether or not your office will allow personal deliveries at work. 

Employees may really appreciate being able to ship their packages to a safe place. However, you have to weigh those conveniences (and the happiness of your employees) against the extra costs of staff managing those packages.

Here are a few of the hidden costs of personal office deliveries:

  • More staff interruption as additional delivery people come in and out of the office more frequently
  • More space is taken up in the mailroom or at the front desk with personal packages (which can become a significant problem around the holidays, for example)
  • More work for your mailroom or front desk staff organizing and distributing packages to their recipients
  • Arguably more risk for confusion and security breaches, due to a greater variety of packages and delivery businesses

These added costs may not be significant if you already employ a full-time mailroom staff member, or if you have just a few employees with a dedicated front desk staff. But for other companies with dozens of employees and a single front desk administrator with plenty of other responsibilities, the extra work can become a serious headache.

On a related note, your mail and delivery policy should also clarify whether or not employees can send personal mail or packages from the office. For example, if your office gives certain employees access to shipping supplies or postage for business purposes, note in the policy that these services are reserved exclusively for business use. 

Free download: 3 More Policies to Consider Including in an Employee Handbook

Rules and Procedures Regarding Personal Workplace Deliveries

If you do decide to let employees ship personal packages to themselves at the office, the mail and delivery policy should also include guidelines about the following: 

  • How the packages will be handled
  • Where employees can pick up their packages
  • Whether any verification or security procedures will be in place before packages are released to the recipient (Does their full name have to be on the package? For larger companies where the front desk staff might not know all employees personally, will they have to verify their own identity in any way?)

You should also consider what kind of notification system, if any, will be in place to alert employees to any personal mail or deliveries. 

Finally, consider whether anyone will be in charge of monitoring and enforcing your office’s mail and delivery policy. What will the consequences for violations of the policy be?

Clarifying Risk and Expectations of Privacy

You don’t want to open the door to even more headaches, like your front desk staff having to spend time hunting for employees’ “lost” personal packages, or your company somehow being held responsible for potential damage to packages after they arrive. 

In your mail and delivery policy, make sure to note that employees cannot hold you responsible for their mail or packages.

Attorney William Denham also suggests that employers give staff a clear indication that there shouldn’t be any reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to mail sent to the workplace.

Denham says that in most cases, the law supports the rights of employers to open mail sent to their offices “unless it’s clearly marked as personal or confidential and there is no compelling reason to do so.”

You should include mail privacy as part of the official employee privacy policy, and note it specifically in the mail and delivery policy, too. (Always run employee agreements by your business attorney, who can vet them for you.)

For more, download: 3 More Policies to Consider Including in an Employee Handbook

Training and Communication

Dedicate part of your mail and delivery policy to specifying how administrators should handle the mail as it comes in. We’ve mentioned a few of those protocols already, such as how to notify employees when packages arrive. 

Bigger companies or those that specialize in physical products might have more complicated requirements for sorting mail. But regardless of how complicated your mail sorting processes are, all administrators should know how to recognize suspicious packages and what to do when they see one.

According to The Department of Homeland Security, employees should consider it suspicious if a package is any of the following:

  • Rigid, bulky, lopsided or uneven
  • Badly written or with misspelled labels
  • Marked with excessive postage or no postage at all
  • Notable for a missing, nonsensical, or unknown return address
  • Marked by leaks, stains, powders, or protruding materials

The U.S. Postal Service also has helpful and detailed information regarding actions to take in the event that your office does receive a suspicious package. Your staff should understand that they are not to touch the package. There should be an incident response plan in place that instructs them on exactly who to notify, and how the rest of the staff should be alerted. 

In most cases, your admin should be able to check the return address and verify the harmlessness of the package.

Track Deliveries with Visitor Management Software

Regardless of what your official mail and delivery policy entail, using a visitor management system helps to alleviate the costs of handling personal deliveries.

Visitor check-in apps like The Receptionist can keep a record of who comes into the office and for what reasons, including deliveries. Administrators can run reports to see just how many deliveries were made, on which days, and for what purpose so they can adjust policies and staffing accordingly. 

When you can see exactly how and when deliveries are made in your office over time, you can adjust policies and staffing accordingly. Click To Tweet

The Receptionist also makes staff notifications much easier and more efficient. Your staff can see can be alerted of food or package deliveries at any time via Slack notifications or email messages and come straight down to the front for pick-up, rather than sending your front desk staff on a mission to find them!

Plus, digital check-in apps like The Receptionist make visitor check-in simpler and more pleasant for both administrators and guests, thanks to streamlined processes and user-friendly interfaces.

If you want to learn more about The Receptionist, click here to request a free, no-obligation demo.

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