- Missing just one item of mail – deadly pandemic or not – could be a costly mistake for a business.
- Just like any mailroom, receiving and sorting mail is a fast-paced job – and it requires the human touch.
- Alexis Lloyd, Community Manager at Nexus 1201 Executive Suites and Jack Srour, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder at Jay Suites, New York, share their best-in-class mail processes.
Last year, when shops and client-facing businesses were forced to close, many business centers stayed open. That’s because they were classed as ‘essential businesses’ owing to their daily handling and distribution of clients’ mail.
What makes mail so important?
Bills, taxes, compliance-related notifications, legal paperwork, checks, identity documents, new bank pin codes, invoices… all these essential items, and more, are sent and received through the postal system.
For businesses that sign up to a flexible workspace or a virtual office, they consent to having their mail received by the center and stored or redistributed on their behalf. It’s one of the reasons why entrepreneurs use virtual offices, to shield their home address from an influx of mail.
However, missing just one item of mail – deadly pandemic or not – could be a costly mistake for a business, particularly if it relates to time-sensitive legal or tax information.
But for now, and for the foreseeable future, mail is still essential – and it needs to get through.
So how does it work?
Allwork.Space spoke to Alexis Lloyd, Community Manager at Nexus 1201 Executive Suites in Atlanta, Georgia, and Jack Srour, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder at Jay Suites, New York, to learn their best-in-class mail processes.
The Human Touch
Just like any mailroom, receiving and sorting mail is a fast-paced job – and it requires the human touch.
“Every morning Sydney or myself will gather the mail that’s delivered by USPS from the mail room and then proceed to sort through the pile,” said Alexis Lloyd from Nexus 1201. Mail is filed and stored alphabetically, before notifications are sent out.
At this stage, mail scanning takes place for those clients that request it, and then the team moves onto the forwarding process.
Like most centers, both Nexus 1201 and Jay Suites offer a variety of forwarding frequency options, including weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly. Forwarding typically takes place at the end of the week, to allow for every piece of mail to arrive; any items that don’t make it into the batch are stored for pickup or included in the next forwarding round.
Given the sensitivity of mail, security is paramount – and this is something that centers pay close attention to.
“We use private distribution mail systems with keys so clients can rest assured their mail is secure,” said Jack Srour from Jay Suites.
And while mail sorting and forwarding is clearly very manual, technology is weaving its way into the process.
Nexus 1202 and Jay Suites currently offer their own mail scanning and notification service. Lloyd notes that this process is proving “very efficient”, while Srour added that they may digitize their existing scanning process in future, based on client feedback and demand.
This, he notes, would enable businesses to be truly “virtual” and operate from anywhere in the world.
As with every task that requires human hands, time is always a challenge.
Offering a virtual office service exacerbates this challenge because in theory, there is no limit to the number of virtual clients a center can sign up – providing, of course, there are enough people to take care of the mail.
“The biggest day-to-day challenges would be how time consuming the mail process can be with so many clients,” said Lloyd. “We overcome this by creating methods and plans to help us stay organized and get out the mail efficiently, and we are always brainstorming to find ways to tweak and improve our methods to make it run faster.”
Likewise, Jay Suites is constantly innovating to come up with faster, more efficient processes both for their clients, and their staff.
“We developed newer systems based on client feedback. For example, we offer a mail notification package that lets the client know anytime mail comes in for them” — this helps reduce impromptu calls and visits to the center, therefore saving time and helping to create a more streamlined workflow.
But it does beg the question: Could the time-intensive task of mail sorting gradually reduce, given the national decline in mail?
Interestingly, as of now, Srour hasn’t seen any notable long-lasting decline in mail volume at their centers.
At Nexus 1201, Lloyd noticed a lull when the Covid-19 pandemic first hit, “but as things started to return to normal mail has actually been on the rise, and on some occasions we’ve received an extreme amount.”
What’s the Future of Mail?
Right now, processing business mail is still very much a human process.
But how might this change in the future of work?
“Although there are so many more ways to communicate, a lot of business still has to be conducted through ‘snail mail’, and I feel we will always have a steady mail flow,” said Lloyd.
Physically gathering and sorting mail is a hands-on job for center staff – and is likely to stay that way. But technology could help other processes become more streamlined.
“Mail forwarding could definitely become a little easier in the future. Perhaps a system that will automatically print addresses for the designated weekly, bi weekly and monthly forwarding dates. That would use less time and would be very beneficial.”
For Srour, the future of mail “will likely include a digitization and notification system, where a client will be alerted once a piece of mail arrives.”
He believes this could be customized, so clients are only pinged if mail arrives from a specific client or vendor.
“The future of almost everything today, and the things we can accomplish, come from the web.”
For as long as mail remains an essential part of our lives, there will be people and processes taking care of it. Automation will continue to weave its way into the mail process at workspaces and virtual office centers, but for now — and for the foreseeable future – at workspaces like Nexus 1202 and Jay Suites, your mail is in good hands.