The beauty of coworking spaces is that, except for some general rules about things like safety and privacy, everyone gets to do as they please. People come and go as they wish, visit other coworking spaces at will, or stay away for extended periods.
It is just this freedom that makes it challenging to successfully manage a coworking space. One of the most important decisions that managers of shared working spaces have to make is how to deal with incoming packages and mail.
For many commercial coworking spaces, being able to handle packages and mail for clients is important. However, even the largest of these find it impossible to set up rigid protocols for package management.
The key to successful package management in coworking spaces is to design it to be versatile and responsive while maintaining a high level of reliability and security. At the same time, cutting costs remains paramount. For these reasons, old-school manual systems do not work for modern coworking spaces because they would require expensive full-time mailrooms and staff.
However, intelligent package rooms running on package management software can take away the headache and rigidity of traditional mailrooms and create a smooth, efficient, and affordable package management system for any kind of coworking space.
One of the biggest coworking space companies, TechSpace, found it hard to find an appropriate solution for such a dynamic environment as theirs. TechSpace management stumbled upon Notifii Track and loved it for its simplicity and ease of use.
TechSpace succeeded not just because the company implemented an effective package management system, but also because of its internal protocols and policy. In the same way, coworking space managers need to follow standard practice when building a package management system.
1. Set Up a Package Management Strategy
Coworking space administrators need to realize from the get-go the amount of responsibility they take on by letting clients use their addresses to receive packages. There are dozens of regulatory and legal policies to comply with including Know Your Customer, anti-terrorism laws, and policies regarding privacy.
This is why it is important to approach the problem professionally. A package management strategy allows proprietors to evaluate important aspects such as:
- How much volume of packages is going to be received at peak times
- How that volume is expected to grow in time
- What compliance measures will be needed, depending on federal and state laws
- How to deal with unusual scenarios such as missing or damaged packages, hazardous packages, or deliveries for clients who cannot be reached
- How much mail and package management will cost, and thus how much to charge clients for the service
- How to ensure accountability for packages received on behalf of clients
The package management strategy will need to be developed alongside the mail handling system. This will help to set the groundwork for clients and prevent any misunderstandings.
2. Establish Non-Negotiable Needs for Package Management
From the strategy developed, it becomes possible to establish a baseline of what a package management system needs to accomplish. For many coworking spaces, this includes features like:
- Self-checkout to minimize the need for full-time labor
- Logging for accountability and security purposes
- Notifications to alert clients when they have received a package
- Maintaining records for auditing and compliance purposes
- Security, safety, and health compliance
- Flexibility to be able to handle both low and high-volume seasons
- Handling different brands in the same facility
It is important to establish a baseline for what needs to be accomplished with the package management system because it informs what type of system will best meet these needs. There are many kinds of systems available today from different vendors, all of which leverage software and hardware assets differently to provide a unique solution for each client.
For example, Notifii is designed to be a cloud and app-based SaaS service built with simplicity in mind. It offers advanced features such as automated notifications while maintaining a simplified logging system (Notifii Track). This is what gives Notifii the kind of portability and versatility required for dynamic co-working spaces.
3. Set Aside a Dedicated Space to Handle and Store Packages
Despite the kind of package management system used, the most practical way of handling packages is to have a designated package room. The room acts as a storage area for safety and convenience purposes, and it also ensures that the lobby is kept free of clutter.
Having a package room also makes it easier to track packages and minimize cases of lost or stolen deliveries. The room will have access control, security features, as well as properly labeled shelves or cabinets to hold packages for the different clients in the facility. This room must have enough space to hold both small and large packages.
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4. Choose the Right Package Management System
When starting, many coworking spaces prefer to have a front desk and receptionist handling the mail and packages. This is terrible for efficiency at the lobby, given just how much time and effort is needed to physically log packages and track down their owners until collection.
With 6.2 minutes spent per package, having several packages daily can seriously hurt the productivity of your staff at the coworking space. The other systems available include on-premise systems, smart package lockers, and software-based package logging systems.
All these vary in terms of costs, maintenance, and simplicity, so coworking managers need to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of each before making the decision. As we have already concluded, the flexibility and versatility of software-based solutions are the most economical, versatile, and simple solutions for coworking spaces.
5. Install Security Measures
Coworking spaces usually have minimal staffing out of necessity. However, they still need to ensure the highest levels of accountability, security, and compliance standards which is why high-end security measures are necessary.
It is possible to have a self-service mailroom with automated security systems, just like ATM systems.
- Most coworking spaces already have local security officers. The same officers can be trained on how to handle any emergencies related to suspicious or threatening deliveries
- Install digital security measures including sensors, CCTV cameras, access control, and manning of security live feed at the security desk
- X-ray scanners for small packages with security teams monitoring the live feed
- Use of smart access control systems that also record biometric information such as fingerprints or iris scans
All these security measures are intended for self-service package delivery and pick-up systems. These are necessary when minimal mailroom staff is present or when convenient, contactless delivery is desired.
6. Install an Automated Logging and Notification System
At the heart of the whole package management system is the need for an automated logging and notification system. When a package is delivered, the system logs it in by recipient and address using features such as optical character recognition (OCR) scanning, QR codes, or photos of the package.
With the information logged in, the system then sends an automated alert to the recipient and lets them know when and where they can collect the package. This kind of digitized system eliminates the need for manual, expensive processes such as paper-based logging and the need to call or email clients about their packages.
As a software-based package management system, Notifii Track capitalizes on its inbuilt OCR features to log packages from photos snapped with a phone or tablet camera. The information derived is then used to alert clients using SMS and email, all without any manual intervention.
Notifii Track for Coworking Spaces
Managers of coworking spaces have to deal with many probabilities when designing the right package management system for their facility. It needs to be flexible yet robust enough to handle the fluctuating demands of different clients.
Notifii Track is a SaaS package management software that takes all of these variables in stride and provides a seamless, extremely robust yet simple system that can be deployed at any scale in shared working spaces. To see how well it would fit into your facility, schedule your free Notifii Track demo here.
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