For your information

The Postal Service is publishing a special coronavirus pandemic-themed edition of Area Update, its print newsletter for employees.

National Update: Special COVID-19 Edition includes a message from Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan, information on coronavirus resources and news about how employees are working through the public health crisis.

The newsletter is expected to begin arriving in homes during the week of May 25. A PDF is available now on Blue and LiteBlue.

Regular editions of Area Update are published quarterly for each of the organization’s seven geographic areas. The publications cover a variety of topics, including employees’ efforts to promote USPS products and services, workplace safety and local stamp dedication ceremonies.

To keep its workforce updated during the pandemic, the Postal Service also offers COVID-19 Blue and LiteBlue pages, along with a usps.com section that has resources for employees and customers.

Passing it on

A letter carrier’s chat with a customer on her route recently led to a sale that has brought in nearly $91,000 in revenue for the Postal Service.

Austin, TX, Letter Carrier Kendra Lawson submitted a lead through the Customer Connect program after a local business owner, David Blake, told her he’d like to talk with someone about shipping options.

Jeremy Grieser, a Rio Grande field sales representative, followed up with Blake, who makes one-of-a-kind glass memorials and jewelry that is infused with cremation ash.

The customer was looking to lower his shipping costs and wanted package tracking and insurance, as well. Grieser recommended Priority Mail, a product that would meet Blake’s needs and also provide him with predictive pricing and consistent delivery times.

The resulting deal is expected to bring in $90,750 in revenue, which has been added to the Postal Service’s Race for a $Billion campaign total.

The initiative — which is at $695 million, according to a May 21 ranking of all district contributions — aims to raise $1 billion through employee-provided sales leads before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

“Kendra Lawson’s service to her customer got him the information he needed to better serve his own customers and his bottom line,” said Mary Anderson, small-business engagement director at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC. “The Postal Service is in partnership with our Main Street USA customers to help them grow their businesses — and that partnership starts with carriers like Kendra.”

In addition to Customer Connect, employees can submit leads through the Business Connect, Clerks Care, Mail Handlers, Rural Reach and Submit a Lead programs.

The Sales Blue page has more information about the lead-sharing programs, including instructions on participating.

Not open

The Postal Service wants employees to use caution when reviewing promotions for Federal Employee Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) alternatives.

USPS employees recently began receiving emails from Premier Protection Insurance that offer several alternative FEGLI plans.

The plans aren’t associated with the Postal Service and aren’t supported by the Office of Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance, the organization that processes and pays claims under FEGLI.

Open season, which begins each November, is the once-a-year opportunity for federal employees to make changes to their health coverage or choose a new plan.

Official announcements regarding open season appear on official USPS letterhead. Additionally, the organization communicates about open season through articles in Link, postings on the Wellness Blue and LiteBlue pages, and direct mailings to employees’ homes.

The Postal Service recently introduced an email notification feature that alerts employees to messages from external sources and reminds them to use caution before opening, clicking links or viewing attachments.

If you’re a USPS employee and you receive a benefits-related solicitation and are concerned about its validity, email the Wellness team at healthandwellness@usps.gov.

Report suspicious emails using the Report to CyberSafe button in the Outlook toolbar. You can also send the email as an attachment to CyberSafe@usps.gov by selecting the suspicious message and clicking the Ctrl, Alt and F keys simultaneously.

Mind over matter

The USPS Wellness team wants to help employees maintain healthy lifestyles during these uncertain times.

One option is meditation, which can help people experience thoughts and emotions with greater balance and acceptance.

According to experts, meditation has been shown to improve attention, decrease job burnout and improve sleep. Research also shows meditation can help people with diabetes control their symptoms.

The USPS Wellness team offers three videos that can help employees learn meditation and other “mindfulness” techniques. The videos range in length from one to three minutes to help employees fit them into their busy schedules.

The videos are available on the Wellness LiteBlue page, along with segments on cooking, exercise and other topics.

Employees can watch the videos on a voluntary basis. Non-exempt employees may only watch them while off the clock or during authorized breaks.

Employees who have questions should send an email to healthandwellness@usps.gov.