Does Your Information Governance Policy Control Your Mail Room? Shouldn’t it?

Should the mail room be owned by the information governance arm of the Firm? It has been a perfunctory function aligned with other physical office services, but now with most fee earners working at least 50% of the time from home, it is mission critical. Mail workflows launch new work, and therefore often billable activity. This means matter centric record creation is starting right from mail delivery, not later, from a pile on a desk.

Since scanning and document description is involved, it is more technical as well. In short, no matter who this process belongs to organizationally, it needs to be a part of your well thought out Information governance policy, and refined on an ongoing basis, just like any other records management.

Inbound mail contains time sensitive client information. So with the pandemic and work from home initiatives you scan it – thinking only temporarily. But if you are still delivering mail physically or re-delivering again after scanning portions, you are missing an opportunity to elevate and economize with this form of record keeping in line with your information governance policies. Make it digital only.

The mailroom is now the biggest source of where digital has not yet happened. What if you looked at it as that place where the creation of a fully functional and complete digital matter file (DMF) begins?

Mail can be delivered directly into the repository (DMS) where is classified, worked on, refiled and reclassified again right from the beginning.  It is actually pretty easy to elevate this process and get control.

1) Establish the recipients, and which teams they belong to. You are already getting detail requests of “if you get this, send it there”, or “copy to my secretary/staff…” Formalize it!

2) If you are not scanning directly to the DMS, you could be. This allows images to be routed immediately to someone who can evaluate the importance and take action.

3) Arm and educate your mailroom staff. Records folks are more valuable when they understand the distinctions among various transactions and their business purpose, right? Same here. Even if this only results in better subject lines in the email of a scan, the combined working machine can triage and prioritize better, and with less wasted time, culling junk, duplicates and distractions.

4) Officially ‘add’ mail to your records policy and retentions. We know the filtered target documents already have a home here, but there are steps and process before that is determined. And 40% of mail can be left on the cutting room floor after it has been checked for anything of value. Let’s have an appropriate destruction bucket for that. 30 days would seem appropriate.

5) Lastly if you are multi-office, you do have the option to centralize mail – further capitalizing on these new efficiencies. Think of the fully maximized efficiency and savings!