Every day, new paper arrives in law firms in the form of documents delivered by UPS, USPS, or FedEx. Before the pandemic, it was custom to sort and deliver this new paper to the desks of folks responsible for its disposition. That all changed when the pandemic sent us home. Suddenly, the daily mail was in the office, and we were at home.
Mail There and I’m Here
Firms innovated various workflows to bridge the gap. Email was a popular solution, although fraught with risks and efficiencies. Another solution was to continue delivering paper mail items to vacant desks. Folks would then commute to the office on occasion to review the mail and send it to the appropriate “storage location” for safe keeping or disposal (the shred bin, the working file at home, or perhaps the file room). Each “location” represented a separate workflow. Of course, another popular solution was to simply scan the inbound mail and send as an attachment to its recipients.
DocSolid took this as an opportunity to innovate. We developed a Digital Mailroom solution which delivers daily mail directly to the DMS with email simply used to notify recipients of new mail. These notifications were sort of like hearing the rattle of the mail slot at the front door.
But the problem of the mail and the recipient being in different places still needed to be solved along with the concurrent problem of routing the paper version of the mail items to their appropriate “storage locations.”
The Hub Bub
The team at DocSolid went to work on how to “bridge the gap” between the location of the mail – which still arrives at the office – and the recipient who is working at home who needs to get the mail to the appropriate storage location, whether that is the file room or the document management system.
Bridging the gap meant giving the recipient a way to control the workflow of the paper mail even after it was digitized. The answer: the Hub.
The email “notification” sent by the DocSolid Daily Mail system includes access to a “Hub” which allows the mail recipient to communicate with the mailroom team back in the office where the physical mail resides.
The recipient can send messages to the office team that offer instructions on how to handle the paper mail items. Choices like “discard” or “hold for filing” guide the mailroom team on handling the paper mail. It’s simple and intuitive and helps resolve these 3 common user questions quickly and seamlessly:
#1 – When do I know I have mail to look at? The Airmail2 system uses email but only when it’s efficient to do so. It is very efficient to send an email (a notification) to a mail recipient letting them know they have mail (yes, “you’ve got mail”). The recipient doesn’t need to check for new mail – they’re notified when it arrives.
#2 – How does the recipient “route” the physical paper? The mailroom back in the office is busy scanning paper mail. The recipient is at home and is notified of new mail – and can examine it in the DMS. But how does the recipient let the mail room know where to dispose of the mail? It could be a request to “place on desk” or “forward to records” or “shred” (yes – shred … for the intrepid). The ability to provide this disposition instruction is built into the Airmail2 Hub.
#3 – How does my colleague know about new mail? The Airmail2 solution supports “pairings” – matching other folks with the mail recipient so that all appropriate folks are notified of new incoming mail. This is managed by the Airmail2 system which can update pairings as they change (for reassignments, vacations, etc.).