What comes to mind when you read the words dancing in the mailroom? If you’re a Will Ferrell fan and love Christmas movies, think of the 2003 film Elf. When Buddy (played by Ferrell) learns he isn’t really an elf, he heads to New York to find his father. While visiting a department store, he’s mistaken for an employee and put to work in the store’s mailroom, where he dances on a table.

That simple scene highlights crucial information about mailrooms. First, New York City has the highest demand for mailroom staff. Second, over 50% of mailroom personnel are men.  And third, the average worker’s age is 47. The mailroom sequence also provides management tips for the 21st-century mailroom.

1. Find a Large Space

Gimbel’s (the department store in the movie) mailroom is huge compared to the closet-sized rooms with stacked cubbies that many companies call a mailroom. Small spaces limit the number of employees who can work at one time. Movements are inhibited to avoid running into equipment, which can slow the mail sorting process and lower productivity.

Mailrooms handle inbound and outbound mail. Without adequate space, mail can be misplaced, sorted into the wrong bins, or lost completely. Having a storage area that meets the needs of mail processing is essential to an efficient mailroom (look closely at the left side of the mailroom with its envelopes and packages sticking out of boxes and cubbies).

2. Purchase Equipment

Today’s mailroom may not use pneumatic tube systems to deliver mail to different floors, but it should have basic equipment such as the following:

  • Franking Machines: Corporate mailrooms need franking machines to stamp a logo on an envelope or print a barcode on a mailing.
  • Label Makers: Depending on company size, a label maker may be a cost-effective solution, especially when connected to the network.
  • Postage Meters: Meters are great for calculating the postage on items less than three ounces.
  • Mail Sorters: Sorting mail by hand can be time-consuming. Mail sorters are designed to automatically separate mail according to destination.

The more automated the processes, the greater the productivity. Less time is spent doing the routine, so more time is available for the unexpected.

3. Organize the Space

Mailrooms need organization. They should have designated areas for various functions. Incoming mail should arrive in a space separate from outbound mail. If not separated, items could easily be misplaced or even lost. Each functional area should have all the supplies and resources needed to complete the required tasks.

Decluttering is another way to minimize lost or misplaced items. Establishing a schedule and procedure for disposing of items will minimize the space taken by unused or outdated items. If items are confidential, a secure destruction process should be in place.

Physical mail security is just as important as cybersecurity. Mailrooms should have an established framework for sending and receiving sensitive information, with a designated space that can be secured.

4. Modernize Processes

Gimbel’s mailroom had chutes above each workspace. Mail came out of the chutes onto the mail clerk’s station, who then had to sort the mail. The process was disruptive and labor-intensive. Mailrooms should modernize the process for greater efficiency.

Technology can automate many mailroom processes. Mail sorters can drop items in bins according to preset criteria. Items the technology can’t identify could be placed in a bin for a clerk to evaluate. Looking through a few items is far less time-consuming than evaluating mounds of mail that land on a desk. 

Consider adding barcode scanning solutions to mailroom capabilities, especially for packages that are sent from other companies or vendors. Networking all devices enables information to be centralized and accessible by anyone in the mail room. A centralized database can serve as a knowledge base for new hires and is useful for disseminating new processes. It can also establish security controls and allow remote access.

5. Storage

Mailrooms require lots of storage space. Sensitive mail should be stored separately from general items. Incoming and outgoing mail should be located in different spaces to prevent cross-contamination of items. Each grouping requires a separate bin for storage.

Depending on the enterprise, storage bins could number in the hundreds. Having postal totes that can be nested reduces the space needed for unused containers without increasing the risk of misplaced or lost items. Nestable postal totes offer cost-effective and lightweight solutions for corporate mailrooms.

6. Make Room to Dance Nestable postal totes

If a mailroom has enough space for employees to dance, it probably has sufficient space for efficient mail processing. And if mailroom managers have modernized processes and purchased advanced equipment, employees should have time in their day to dance. If mail is properly stored, it opens up space for employee engagement. Making room to dance means finding the time to engage employees in the social fabric that creates a positive work environment. 

For more information on how postal totes can encourage dancing in the mailroom, check out our line of environmentally responsible postal totes.