Handing the mail                    


handling the mail



The various services provided by the post office to the individual and to business organizations were discussed. Almost all business receives letters and send out letters. There is outgoing mail and incoming mail to be processed.  Efficient handling of both can make the office function more effectively. Here we are going to be looking at the handling of incoming and outgoing mail. By the end of the reading you should be able to:

1.      Handle incoming mail, inter office mail and outgoing mail

2.      Outline the different filling classifications

3.      Outline the general rules for filling.


Handing incoming mail


Incoming mail contains new orders, inquires, complaints, cheques, reports and many other types of messages from other businesses or organizations. Many of the day’s activities are determined by what is in the morning’s mail. The sooner this mail is processed, the quicker the required service or response can be given. Therefore, firsthand knowledge of the procedures for handling incoming mail is most important.


Receiving the mail:


Mail is collected as early as possible from the post office box or mail bag by the personnel assigned to do this job. This is deposited with the personnel assigned to incoming mail. Here, the envelopes are sorted into three groups, private, official and confidential.


Opening the mail:

In small offices you might open the incoming mail with an ordinary letter opener. However, an office that receives a lot mail such as a newspapers or magazines office can save time by using a letter opening machine.


Removing the contents:


The next step is to remove the letter and any enclosures from the envelope. Once the letters and enclosures are unfolded, mail clerks use the date and time stamp to record the time and date of receipt.




Enclosures might include cheques, bills, reports, circulars, samples and diagrams. Special care must be taken to avoid loss or separation of these items from the covering letter.

All envelopes must be inspected carefully. Offices where letters are opened must be well lit. if an enclosure is missing when the letter is opened, the clerk should check carefully to ensure it has not been lost in the mail room. If it is not found, not enclosed should be written in pencil or pen against the reference to the enclosure in the letter.


Sorting the mail:


After the mail has been opened, and the contents removed, it is the job of the mail room clerk to sort the mail for distribution of the departments and persons concerned. It is important that this should be done as quickly as any delay in delivering the mail prevents an immediate response to vital matters.




If an item of incoming mail contains a number of points that requires the attention of more than one department, arrangements must be made to see that the department involved deal promptly with this matter. This can be done either by messenger service or by the mail room making a photocopy of the letter and sending one to each of the departments involved.

1.      Incoming correspondence is opened

2.      The letters are stamped

3.      They are then delivered to the users in basket

4.      The users attend to the correspondence

5.      Users place letters in out basket for delivery to files dealing with the mail.


Handing outgoing mail


Once the incoming mail has been taken care of, outgoing mail must be handled. Businesses, large or small want to reach their customers and suppliers as quickly as possible. Therefore, the office mail clerk must do everything possible to speed the outward movement of mail. The following are some of the responsibilities of the mail clerk:


Collecting the mail:

The same messenger who distributes incoming mail correspondence that is ready to be sent out.

Preparing the mail:

As soon as outgoing mail reaches the mail room, a number of functions are performed to save time and money and prepare the material for safe and speedy passage to the person it is posted to.


A clerk assigned to outgoing mail may use a basket or a pigeon hole to subdivide outgoing mail according to type or class such as first class mail, airmail, registered are international mail.


Obviously, the letter should receive the immediate attention of the receiver; therefore, the next step in the mailing procedure is to fold each letter neatly and quickly. There are now automatic folding devices available for handling large amounts of circular and letters.


Most companies use regular envelope for ordinary correspondence and window envelopes for invoice and monthly statements. When a window envelope is used, it is important to have the name and address written in the correct position so that it will line up with the window when the form or letter is fold and inserted.


Mail is weighed to determine the postage. There should be a postage scale as part of the mailroom equipment.



Individual pieces of mail may be stamped with regular postage stamps. However, a large volume of mail can be more efficiently stamped by postage metering devices called franking machines. One type of franking machine prints the proper amount of postage directly on the envelope. It prints the postmark, the date and an advertising slogan all at the same time. Another model of franking machine prints the required postage on gummed tape which is then pasted to the packet. This is very convenient for stamping parcels and odd shaped packets. A certain amount of credit is secured at the post office and every time the machine prints an impression, the amount of postage used is recorded on the machines meter. This is read monthly or quarterly by the post office to check the cost of the postage used.


Dispatching the mail:

The sooner outgoing mail is sent on its way, the sooner the desired result can be expected. The clerk should try to send to the post office twice a day, during the morning and again later in the afternoon.


Handling interoffice mail:

The volume of internal mail passing through the various units, office and branches of a large organization can be a serious problem.

The following procedures can be used in handling internal material because it does not leave the organization:

1.      Interoffice messages are usually prepared on special abbreviated stationery called interoffice memorandum forms.

2.      Interoffice memoranda may be dispatched without envelopes, especially if they do not contain confidential information and are to be delivered to offices in the same location.

3.      When interoffice message are sent in envelopes, the envelopes are reusable. This saves money and time.

4.      If three piece of interoffice mail are addressed to the same person at a distant branch, all the pieces can be assembled for dispatch in a single envelope. This procedure saves envelopes and postage, because if they are posted in separate envelopes, the cost of envelopes and postage would be three time the cost of one.

5.      When an interoffice memorandum arrives at its destination at another branch, it should be treated immediately. That is, it should be sent immediately to the officer it is addressed to.




Filling is the art of putting or arranging documents in a row. Filling is done for two main reasons:

1.      To keep correspondence and other documents tidy and clean.

2.      To have recorded information readily available whenever reference is ade to it.


Filling systems

Filling system are varied and the type of system are adapted depends on how large the organization is. A filling system can either be centralized or departmentalized. Centralized filling means that all the files are kept and controlled together in one room under the care of one or more clerk. Departmental filling means that each department does its own filling rather than using a centralized system.

An efficient filling system must be:

a.      Simple to understand

b.      Economical to install and maintain

c.       Compact, to save space

d.      Expandable to meet future needs

e.      Quick to operate

f.        Adaptable to meet changing needs and

g.      Consistent in its process.


Filling classification methods

There are a few basic filling methods or plans by which papers are arrange or classified. These classification methods are:

Alphabetical filling:

This is when the papers are arranged alphabetically like names in a telephone directory or the words in a dictionary.

Numerical filling:

This is a method whereby every folder for each name is given a number. The folders holding the papers are then arrange numerically.

Geographic filling:

In the geographical method, letters are filled according to their places of origin or destination.

Chronological filling:

This means arranging the files in a time sequence or according to date. This method is not often used as a basic system but as a normal method of filling papers within a system.

Subject filling:

This is filling according to topics; the different topics can be arranged alphabetically, numerically or geographically.


Rules for filling


1.      Always file neatly and make sure that the paper edges are straight.

2.      Make sure that the letter is put in the correct file

3.      Put the letters in the file according to the date they come in with the most recent letter on top

4.      Don’t allow your files to become bulky. Open a new file immediately a file starts showing signs of being too big

5.      Always remove a complete file if you need a letter from it, never remove individual papers from a file because they can easily be misplaced

6.      Open up a file marked miscellaneous if there is sufficient correspondence from one source

7.      Whenever file is temporarily removed for a job, note it down in an absence book card

8.      File daily to keep the system up to date

9.      Observe the following rules when putting files in a cabinet or drawer.

How to attend to incoming and outgoing mails

Assuming you are referring to postal mail: 

Incoming Mail

Once you have your own place, you will need to start checking your mail on a regular basis. Depending on your living situation, this could mean going to a central mailbox for your apartment complex or checking your mailbox at your house. Once you have your mail in hand, sort through it and set aside any bills or other items that need to be dealt with right away. The rest can be set aside to go through later.

Outgoing Mail

When you have items that need to be mailed, you will need to take them to a post office or mail box. If you are sending something locally, you can just drop it in a mailbox. If you are sending something further away, you will need to take it to the post office and buy the appropriate postage. Once you have done that, just drop your item in the mailbox and it will be on its way!

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Services of the Post office



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