The modern mail center may seem like an oxymoron, merging a traditionally paper and parcel field with innovative technology. As the hybrid workforce continues to grow, with no sign of stopping in the coming years, mail center managers have been required to pivot to navigate the complexities of this new hybrid era. Print and mail providers have a seemingly endless array of daily tasks, and with the added challenge of monitoring employees both in-office and at home, updating their strategy to connect with the current state of the workforce is key. So, how can mail center managers alter their strategy to support the hybrid workforce while promoting continued growth and success? From offering increased digital services to implementing technologically advanced initiatives such as smart lockers, mail centers minimize time spent on redundant tasks, maximize profit, and create a sustainable strategy for the hybrid future.
Design Your Mail Center for Digital Growth
The hybrid workforce has become the new normal, and it is easy to see why. As Millennials and Gen-Z workers search for jobs that promote career growth opportunities and mesh with their current lifestyle, companies are working hard to meet these requirements to gather new recruits. According to the 2022 Gallup poll, “The Future of Hybrid Work: 5 Key Questions Answered with Data”, 38% of respondents would like to be in the office two to three days per week, while 29% would like to work in the office less than two days per week. With close to 70% of the workforce wanting to remain at home during some portion of the week, enacting digital initiatives for your mail center can alleviate delivery pain points that mail center managers face daily.
So, how can mail centers support a hybrid workforce through digital mail? There are numerous software platforms available for mail center management, many of which offer benefits that help managers maintain mail center organization while ensuring that the needs of their facility are exceeded. Mail centers can increase delivery efficiency by digital mail scans, allowing all scannable pieces to be sent to the appropriate parties, to which they can decide whether they would like it held, delivered, forwarded, or recycled. As a result, those who are not in the office frequently still maintain oversight of their packages while reducing excess mail that builds up in an office mail center. Furthermore, mail centers can create specific accountability points for important digital mail, such as pieces dealing with legal or compliance regulations. Mail centers can accurately document accountability, ensuring that sensitive mail is delivered correctly. Finally, time-sensitive deliveries, such as documents that require signatures, can be sent digitally to parties that work remotely.
Implement Integrations to Improve Delivery
The first step in optimizing a mail center to support the hybrid workforce is to improve collaboration through digital mail initiatives. This sets the stage for employees and mail center workers alike to become accustomed to a technology-forward mail center and ultimately makes additional transitions easier for all parties. Certain software platforms that offer digital mail solutions also provide additional offerings, such as integrations that assist with mail and parcel delivery. Smart lockers are a fantastic example of this and an investment that will ultimately bring your mail center to the next level. Statista’s global market research shows that the smart parcel locker market will grow to $1.63 billion by 2028, a 102% increase over the next six years. According to Insider Intelligence, last-mile delivery accounts for over 50% of shipping costs. Smart lockers offer improved delivery options that promote security while allowing for a more flexible pickup schedule.
With traditional delivery systems, mail center workers often run on inefficient delivery routes, with no oversight into who is in a building during a given day. With many offices also offering hot-desking options, delivery times could be severely delayed as workers scramble to find package recipients, to no avail. With the implementation of smart locker integrations, mail center staff simply places a package in a designated locker, to which the recipient receives a notification that they have a package ready for pickup. Recipients can also receive a secure pin or QR code to their locker, reducing the potential for theft and allowing employees to pick up their packages during suitable times for them.
Set Your Mail center Apart with Sustainability Efforts
Often forgotten but integral to the success of the modern mail center, sustainability efforts play a prominent role in optimizing your mail center for the hybrid workforce. When thinking about mail center sustainability, it is common to believe that there is not a large carbon footprint being made. However, with an unsustainable mail center, additional emissions and energy are used that could have been avoided. Consider this, large-scale facilities with inefficient delivery routes produce emissions each day as delivery drivers circle around the facility to find recipients.
Additionally, without software to identify order volumes, drivers may have to make multiple trips to the same mail center due to inadequate staffing and preparation. By offering optimized routes and zero-emission fleets, such as electric or hybrid fleets like FedEx, pollution and emissions are significantly reduced. According to a 2020 survey conducted by Unily, 65% of respondents are more likely to work for a company with a robust environmental policy. With the continuation of “The Great Resignation,” aligning with the values of potential employees is more important than ever.
“Green” logistics initiatives, along with the implementation of digital mail center management tools, creates a cohesive mail center that not only pivots to support the hybrid workforce, but sets the stage for an efficient and sustainable future.
Delia Burl is the Digital Marketing Manager for SCLogic, an in-building logistics company headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland. With a focus on facilities management software for enterprise and higher education clients, Burl collaborates with industry leaders across the facilities sector to guide organizations into the modern facilities era through digital marketing and social media initiatives.