As a global society, we are rapidly approaching the end of the second year within the COVID era. As we have navigated these tumultuous months, we’ve learned many new skills; chief among them has been the ability to adapt. At the beginning of the pandemic, we made incredible changes to how we interact, and as infection rates started to drop, we have been able to loosen restrictions.
However, we have to understand that the crests and peaks of the current pandemic will continue over time. Its reach is boundless, and its end is uncertain. Thus, your workforce plan should be nimble and agile enough to adapt to each new wave.
As vaccines roll out and communal spread tapers off, companies can transition back to a primarily in-person style of service. However, as we approach another peak moment in transmission with a new variant, a hybrid workforce is a viable option for business continuity.
Reducing In-Person Office Hours
Among the first steps in establishing a hybrid service model is a reduction of in-person hours. With every hour reduced, the possibility of staff exposure drastically diminishes. As great as this change may be, it cannot happen overnight, or you are bound to have a lot of angry customers and staff. Instead of implementing immediate changes, it is best to inform your staff and customers early about the planned transition, with each change being implemented in phases. For example, if you see transmissions trend upwards, inform your customers that changes could be coming soon, thus giving them a head start to make their adjustments. This strategy should help your workforce and clientele feel that you have been honest and transparent about changes.
Expanding Virtual Services
Now that you’ve given your staff an extra layer of protection by reducing your in-person office hours, it is time to provide access to your services via virtual outlets and features. Your goal as a mailroom should be to provide the same level of service regardless of the number of in-person hours you offer your customers.
Thankfully, SCLogic offers many tools that allow you to continue to provide an uninterrupted customer experience. Mailrooms can use the Digital Mail workflow to provide insight into what white mail and packages arrive for each employee or student without leaving their home offices. Digital Mail works particularly well with the Virtual Mailboxes workflow as any received white mail can be stored in a barcoded folder rather than a physical mailbox. Lastly, the Address Forwarding workflow allows your mail center to redirect mail to a user-defined address. Intra clients can easily integrate the address forwarding workflow into their existing ERP system to ensure they always have up-to-date addresses.
Putting More Buffers In-Between Staff and Customers
There are some mailroom services for which you need to have in-person staff. However, you can still protect your team by limiting their proximity to customers during these necessary interactions. Now, of course, physical barriers like sneeze guards and PPE are the most typical safeguards for staff/client interaction. Still, there are ways to limit proximity and interactions further, as we have learned throughout the pandemic.
Touchless and curbside delivery have become a stalwart process for handing off mail and packages to employees or students with limited human interaction. Curbside delivery reduces the number of individuals inside a facility as customers receive their items outside the building. Kiosks and intelligent lockers often remove the need for human interaction altogether, enabling touchless delivery. Users can access Intelligent lockers via a scannable badge or a mailroom-provided QR code. Kiosks allow clientele to access and request services without speaking directly to a staff member; customers can select items that meet their specific needs and put in a request electronically through a user interface.
Is your mail center implementing new processes as offices and schools reopen? Are you interested in learning more about SCLogic’s take on the ongoing-COVID-19 workplace? Let us know. Email us at [email protected].