Many office communications are now sent via email. However, offices still receive -- and need to send -- at least some paper-based documents or parcels. How an office manages its mail is an important consideration. It can have an impact on how well the organisation meets its goals.
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Some office mail can simply be picked up from behind the front door. However, some offices do not have their own front doors. Offices that share a letterbox, have to arrange a collection following a mail delivery. Where mail is delivered to a shared, locked mailbox, negotiate to have an extra key cut. Most come supplied with two keys but there may be more than two offices sharing the same mailbox. The normal flow of office procedures could be disrupted where a company is unable to access mail because a key cannot be located.
Some offices receive large volumes of mail. This might include orders, invoices from suppliers, utility bills and general correspondence. An organisation has to decide whether its policy is to hand out the mail to the named person on the address or to have a nominated person open all the mail. There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods. The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure recommends creating an established procedure to deal with suspicious looking packages.
It is important to process the correspondence in order of importance. Cheques should be sorted into a pile, ready to be banked at the earliest opportunity. All cheques should be recorded in a remittances book. Orders should be handed to the order department for immediate fulfilment. Other correspondence should be dealt with thereafter. Bills should be paid promptly to ensure utilities are not cut off. Complaints should be treated sympathetically to ensure the company retains its good reputation.
Outgoing mail should be gathered in a safe central location, like a mail room. A nominated person should be responsible for taking the mail to the post office at an agreed time in the late afternoon. Most UK post offices close at 5.30, so 4.30 is a good cut-off point. This will give the nominated courier time to get to the post office and conduct all the necessary transactions. Important mail should be dispatched by first class post. Less important mail can be sent via second class post, if the company wishes to reduce postage costs. Companies should also consider using courier firms -- their postage rates are significantly lower than Royal Mail for some items.
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- “The Secretary for the Corporate World 2006 Edition”; Dionisia G. De Guzman, Ph.D and Cipriano E. De Guzman, Ed.D; 2006
- “Secretarial Procedures”; Thelma J. Foster; 1990
- The Guardian: Collect+ launches cheaper parcel delivery than Post Office