Mailroom as Important Hub of Efficient Workflow in the Organisation

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Published: 17th December 2010
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The workplace is a important department of each organisation. Omotosho [1979] described the office as "the place [room or building] in which the paperwork of an organisation is carried out." He added, "It is the nerve centre of any organisation." According to Denyer [1974], "an office is any room where clerical work is habitually performed as the work of that room: ..."

Traditionally, the function of the workplace has been described as offering the service of communication and record. Whilst this was maybe enough information in the past, it is inadequate these days. A a lot more current definition, according to Mill and Standingford [1966], suggests five key functions of receiving, recording, arranging, giving information and safe guarding assets.

Effective Workflow in the Workplace

For the office to carry out its functions, planning the layout of the workplace is critical. This planning depends on the kinds and sizes of the organisation. One of the elements regarded in planning the layout is workflow.

Osuala regarded as workflow as "vital in determining the efficiency of office layout" and mentioned, "It refers to the motion of info either vertically [in between supervisors and subordinates or vice versa] or horizontally [in between employees of the exact same responsibility level]." He stressed further that "for the most efficient workflow, personnel and equipment really should be arranged in such a way that the details moves in as straight a line as achievable to avoid backtracking and criss-crossing patterns.

Mailroom & Workflow: The Concert

Osuala saw 'communication network' as the link in between efficient workflow and the Mailroom. He pointed out that in addition to studying the flow of work in between individuals and departments, it is also vitally crucial to analyze the nature of each oral and written communication between individuals and departments.

Omotosho [1979] extended the 'communication network' to external contacts of the organisation. He expounded that written communication is usually in the types of mail: letters and correspondence. These written communications are letters, orders, invoices and different types and memoranda. They are data flow inside and outside the organisation.

The section of the organization chiefly concerned with these written communications is the Mailroom. As a result, the contribution of the Mailroom to effective workflow can't be over-emphasized.

The Mailroom

The Mailroom otherwise identified as the Mailing Department is an crucial part of most medium and significant-sized organizations. By means of the department flow all the incoming letters, correspondence and parcels; the outgoing mail is collected, stamped and dispatched; and in some organisations, internal messages are transferred from department to department.

Whilst contemplating the contribution of the mailroom to the facilitation of effective workflow, Bunting [1979] concluded that all messages need to be dealt with promptly and effectively. He, however, emphasised that there need to be order and approach in order to stay away from confusion and mislaid or forgotten correspondence. A excellent deal of care and attention ought to, consequently, be to mailroom workers and equipment.

Mailing Program

Handling mail in the mailroom can yield a dividend to the organization, or adversely impact departmental productivity and profitability of the organisation. Mail handling is classified into three primary categories: incoming, internal and outgoing mail.

- Incoming Mail. These are mail received by the organisation. They are normally opened [unless marked 'Private' or 'Confidential'], dated and sorted, and distributed throughout the organisation. Every thing in this section is urgent and critical and ought to be treated so. Incoming mail can be grouped into three classes:

i. Urgent Mail. These are mail needing the prompt attention of either the manager or secretary. They are telegrams, cablegrams, orders and remittances.

ii. Less Urgent Mail. These are mail for which attention could be delayed for sometime. They consist of circulars, publications and notices.

iii. Private Mail. These are mail meant for opening by the addressees. Such letters are marked on the envelope 'Private/Confidential' or addressed to officers by name rather than by their workplace titles.

The initial two groups can be opened in the mailroom and routed to suitable departments. Private letters really should be left unopened, as they might not have something to do with the business in common. Suppose such personal letters are opened in error, a note ought to be created on the envelope, that is, 'opened by mistake'.

- Internal Mail. The mailroom can be utilised as an intermediary or sorting station for the distribution of internal correspondence, which have originated within the organisation and which are destined for some other departments. Files, which are sorted departmentally and letters/circulars containing messages for a number of departments can be distributed in this way.

- Outgoing Mail. These are letters sent out by the organization. They might be sent out to consumers, government agencies, press, and the public. Outgoing mail represents the image of the organisation and care ought to be taken in preparing and dispatching them.

Mailroom Personnel

The personnel in the mailroom are clerical workers. Although they begin their operating career in this section, it is nevertheless responsible work. Their performance makes or mars workflow efficiency in the organisation.

Basically, there are some valuable qualities for the staff in this department.

- Punctuality. The clerical workers ought to arrive at the office earlier than the standard office hour. For instance, one hour or thirty minutes before the opening hour.

- Capability. They really should be in a position to do the work for which they are employed. This competency is essential. They really should have a common and thorough potential to read and write English completely. That is why it will not pay any organisation to recruit/employ a secondary school dropout or 'school cert fail' as a clerical worker. Also, they really should be in a position to follow directions readily.

- Understanding. They should have a working expertise of the organisation of the business in general and in distinct of the departments and the system in use for every purpose in the department.

- Speed. They should be ready to work efficiently well under a brief time and even beneath stress to make sure that mail are sorted and routed to respective department swiftly.

- The 'Extra Mile' Rule. The clerical workers really should have a willingness to work hours, which are slightly various from normal office hours.

- Self Discipline. They need to usually be available at work, and have a sense of commitment. They really should be patient, trustworthy and always keep secret.

Mailroom Automation Process

Technologies and other improvements in strategies of work in the workplace in recent years have helped the efficiency of workflow in the organisation. Mailroom gear contributes significantly to the efficiency flow of work in the workplace too.

- Letter Opener. When the mail arrives in the mailroom it is normally, opened by machines in a couple of minutes. The machine shaves the envelopes open with out any harm to the contents. This machine is electrically operated. It has an automatic feed and can open 500 letters in a minute.

- Date Stamp. Once the letters are opened, the documents can be stamped with either a rubber stamp or a little hand-operated punch. This punch prints the date and time of receipt on the letters. At the identical time, it also progressively numbers the stampings and incidentally, record the quantity of letters received.

- Trays. The mail might now be sorted into trays for dispatch to the various departments. The trays, which might be produced of wire, plastic or metal, will probably fit into tray stands on the desks of executives and, at this stage, they represent 'IN' trays. The Office Assistant may gather an empty tray when he delivers the morning mail but he is more specific to gather a full 'OUT' tray late in the afternoon.

- Folding Machines. When the 'OUT' trays are brought into the mailroom, folding machines are used to fold, crease, slit and perforate them. They are used to dispatch big quantities of circulars or newspapers. Machine precision folding for window envelopes simply because the address will appear in the proper location. Each hand-operated and electrically operated machines are obtainable.

- Letter-sealing Machines. Letters are ready for placing in the envelopes. In the absence of a machine there would be the slow messy method of damping the envelopes flaps and pressing them down. One technique is to lay a series of envelopes in line so that a wet sponge can be run across the gummed flaps in one moment and to press the flaps to the envelopes before the gum dries up once more.

- The electrically operated sealer is quicker and it is developed to deal with any size of envelope. With one filling of the 'sealer' water container, thousands of envelopes can be sealed. The envelopes are stacked in a vertical pile at the back of the machine and, as they stand one upon the other, the bottom envelope is moved to a place exactly where the flap is levered back and damped by a wet brush. The flap is folded back onto the envelope and pressure is applied. The envelopes are then stacked in the receptacle on the correct.

- Composite Machine. A composite machine will fold the documents, insert them into an envelope and seal the envelope.

- Mail-tying Machines. These machines will tie any package of any size, form or substance in less than two seconds. The machine is enclosed by a strong wire frame, which acts ass an effective guard.

- Postal Franking Machine. These machines print an impression of postage paid in a fraction of the time it takes to choose, moisten and affix a stamp. Unlike stamps, franking machines' impressions do not require to be cancelled and post-marked by the Post Office. Nevertheless, organisations making use of franking machines have to meet some conditions with the manufacturers and the Post Office.Franking machines are avaliable at

Documents binders are also a crucial piece of office equipment.

- Franking an envelope has the identical impact as a postage stamp. The chief benefit of a franking machine is that it eliminates the tedious work of sticking stamps on to envelopes or other packages. Other advantages are:

i. Speed. On a hand-operated machine, up to 2,000 letters an hour might be franked, whilst an electrical machine might frank up to 15,000 an hour.

ii. Safety. It eliminates the use of loose stamps.

iii. Accounting Worth. The dials on the machine provide an accurate record.

iv. Advertising Worth. As it franks, the machine can simultaneously print the organisation's name on all outgoing mail.

v. Comfort. For instance, the need for repeated balancing of a post book is eliminated.

vi. Dispatch of Mail. Because letters are already franked, they are not held up by the Post Office for official franking.

vii. Expense Effectiveness. It can save printing fees on envelopes. Instead of an advertising slogan a rubric such as "If undelivered, please return to business XYZ" can be printed.

- Addressing Machine. Addressing machines are used to write addresses on letters or postal, can also be adapted for other uses, such as the heading of invoices, time cards and so on. Nonetheless, the main function is still the addressing of mail, which is frequently sent to the exact same particular person or group of persons. Examples are minutes and agenda, circulars or newspapers. Lastly, they are in the form of printing and duplicating.

In addition to the various equipment already mentioned and discussed, the following are also of worth and are used in the mailroom.

- Jogger. This is a machine, which vibrates papers into alignment ready for stapling or binding.

- Shredder. This is meant for destroying confidential and secret documents.

- Trolleys/Baskets. They are meant for the collection and distribution of mail.


The mailroom contribution to effective workflow cannot be overstressed. If there is high and concerted performance on the part of the clerical workers, the organisation will benefit; the departments improving their productivity and the organisation itself becoming much more lucrative. But, if there is slackness in the activities of the mailroom, workflow will be hindered.

The office functions involve the method of active info. Also, the written communication aspect of this info has been identified with the mailroom - the principal reason why the mailroom exists.

Lastly, workflow in the office achieves efficiency when the personnel and equipment in the mailroom are combined together for this objective.


The following ideas are offered to the medium and large-sized organisations. These ideas will aid them to update the activities of work in their mailroom. They will also enable these organisations to boost the work life of their clerical staff.

- Automate the Mailroom. The purchase of up-to-date mailroom gear is paramount for today's company. This need to be completed right after contemplating the capital outlay of the organisation. Other components are availability of these gear, expense of maintenance and durability. Mailroom equipment is indispensable in this age of info technologies to allow the clerical workers meet the growing demands of their jobs.

- Maximize Mailroom Workers. It is crucial that clerical workers are properly utilised. This really should be carried out by preparing job descriptions for all the clerical workers in the mailroom. They need to be frequently appraised whether or not they are performing in compliance with their job descriptions.
Successful Supervision. There should be efficient and thorough supervision of the clerical workers. A more senior office worker really should often be present to supervise the receipt of incoming mail [especially exactly where cash/cheque is involved] and to deal with the agencies.

- Training and Improvement. Presently, there is no school in Nigeria that specializes in training clerical workers for mailroom actions. Courses like Mailroom Practices, Mailroom Procedures and Mailing Strategy & Automation really should be introduced into the relevant curriculum of studies in greater institutions of understanding in Nigeria. The Human Resources Department of individual organization really should also train their clerical workers often.

- Equitable Remuneration. Clerical workers really should be equitably remunerated in proportion to their input and overall efficiency.


Bunting, E. [1979]. The Office Worker, Cassel, London

Denyer, J. C. [1974]. Office Management, MacDonald & Evans Ltd, London

Harrison, J. et al [1979]. Secretarial Duties, Pitman Books Ltd, London

Mills, G. & Standingford, O. [1966]. Office Administration, Pitman Publishing Ltd, Pitman House, London

Omotosho, J. N. [1979]. Office Practice & Business Methods, Macmillan Publishers Ltd, London & Basingstoke

Osuala, E. C. [ ]. Workplace Management At A Glance, Africana Publishers Ltd., Onitsha, Nigeria

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