If there is one phrase that we have become used to hearing in the past ten months, it would be “the new normal.” This phrase has become the mantra of 2020. Some have accepted the phrase as a call to pivot; others have rejected it outright. Whether we choose to accept it or not, the pandemic has forced billions of people to rethink every aspect of their lives. Simple tasks like getting groceries and attending social functions require a completely different approach than previous years. These changes have not just affected our personal lives; they have completely reshaped our professional environments as well.

Companies and facilities have had to shift how they handle operations, from who they allow on-site to how packages and mail are delivered. Several key workflows have guided companies through this challenging year; these new protocols could become hallmark processes as “the new normal” becomes normal. Here are some of the workflows that have carried our customers and us through the multiple uncertainties of 2020.

1. Curbside Pick-up Workflow

Let’s begin with the most ubiquitous workflow of 2020: curbside pick-up. While curbside pick-up for mailrooms is a relatively newer workflow, it is now an almost universal purchase option for many different business types. The key to staying safe is to decrease face-to-face human interaction in enclosed and poorly ventilated spaces. In short, both staff and clients are safer when mailroom customers do not need to enter the mailroom space. Whether it is a kiosk check-in or a remote drop-off location, each mailroom can increase safety by making the changes that best fit their operation and clients’ needs.

2. Digital Mail

Though some mailrooms used digital mail before the pandemic, this workflow has become essential as companies shift employees to remote work. This workflow converts incoming white mail to a digital format, allowing it to be delivered to the addressee electronically. Digital mail provides mail visibility to employees and enables them to choose their handling preference, all without having to be physically present in the building.

3. Remote Package Delivery/ Intelligent Lockers

Critically rethinking logistics and operations to stay safe has been a hallmark of 2020. Greater safety comes when fewer people are in physical spaces. Thus, companies (mailrooms) have decided that delivering packages to remote locations or intelligent lockers is a safe and viable option. While intelligent lockers were already a pervasive part of logistics, the increasing need to put social distance between delivery personnel and clients has significantly raised the demand for this technology on both the shipping and receiving side of operations.

4. Remote Package Quarantine

The 24-hour package quarantine workflow would seem like an excessive option in any other year. However, in 2020, this became a crucial way to slow the spread of COVID-19. This workflow is also a relatively simple one, as all you need is extra space dedicated to holding packages, vigilance, and good communication between staff. This is a simple and effective strategy to mitigate any opportunity for disease spread through human contact.

5. Holiday Visitor Tracking Workflow

And now, finally, a workflow specifically designed for the rush of the holidays: visitor tracking. During the holidays, facilities are busier than ever with more foot and package traffic. Facilities should counteract this trend by allowing an increase in foot traffic to merit an increase in visitor protocol. Simple things such as 24-hour advance notification for visitors, limiting the spaces visitors can go, and tracking their movement within the facility can make a difference in keeping employees and visitors safe this season. At year’s end, the greatest gift you can give to your staff is the peace of mind knowing that you are keeping them safe from COVID-19.

How has your facility adapted in 2020? Which workflows have worked the best for you? Let us know by emailing us at [email protected].