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While many businesses and schools rely more heavily on electronic communication, some still offer mailrooms that handle any paper mail that goes in and out. A mailroom is similar to a personal post office for the business or school. Those who work in the mailroom do many of the same things that postal employees do.
One of the main functions of a mailroom is to handle all of the external mail for the company or school. The post office delivers all of the mail for the location to the mailroom and picks up all outgoing mail. The mailroom employees then sort all of the mail so it can reach its intended recipients. In some places, the mailroom employees deliver the mail directly to each department, while others require someone from the department to come pick up the mail.
Many companies rely on the use of internal mail to send correspondence and paperwork back and forth. Employees place documents into special interoffice envelopes and address them to the specific person and department. Mailroom employees either pick up the interoffice mail from the departments or department employees bring the interoffice mail to the mailroom for distribution. In some companies, mailroom employees make the deliveries, while others require departments to check for their own interoffice mail in the mailroom.
Especially in larger schools and businesses, the mailroom is responsible for making sure that all outgoing mail has the appropriate postage. Schools in particular are often considered nonprofits and sometimes qualify for special postage rates. The mailroom employees check over all outgoing mail and give it the appropriate postage based on its purpose in relation to the business. Employees also weigh packages and determine the postage cost for shipping. In some cases, the company may use its own postage meter, which allows the company to save money by paying exact postage on everything from letters to large packages.
While the mailroom is mostly responsible for the internal mail and anything that goes in or out through the post office, it also typically deals with other shippers as well. Anything that is sent to the business often goes through the mailroom first. This means that delivery personnel often drop their packages off to the mailroom rather than trying to locate where the package actually belongs. Likewise, if anyone receives a package that does not belong to him, he can take it to the mailroom to get it to its proper destination.
In addition to dealing with postal workers and other shipping personnel, mailroom employees often interact with other workers within a school or company, as well as students at a school. In cases where the mailroom simply sorts the mail into individual mailboxes, students and employees come to pick up their mail. If there is an issue, such as something that hasn't arrived or a problem with accessing mail, it is up to the mailroom employee to handle any questions and troubleshooting. Working in a mailroom requires good customer service skills to keep everyone satisfied.
Kimberly Turtenwald began writing professionally in 2000. She has written content for various websites, including Lights 2 You, Online Consultation, Corpus Personal Injury and more. Turtenwald studied editing and publishing at Wisconsin Lutheran College.