Safety first

The Postal Service urges employees to wear face coverings and adhere to social distancing procedures as coronavirus infections continue to spike across the nation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, face coverings and social distancing of at least 6 feet from others help reduce the spread of the virus, which is transmitted through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes, sings or talks.

Face coverings help protect you from the respiratory droplets that can be inhaled or deposited on mucous membranes in the nose and mouth, and they help protect others. However, people can still spread the virus, even if they don’t have symptoms.

To help ensure your safety, USPS requires you to:

• Wear face coverings when there is a state or local order to do so and when in public or in the public-facing parts of postal workplaces. If you can’t wear a face covering for health reasons, immediately contact your supervisor to discuss reasonable accommodation.

• Wear face coverings even in the non-public portions of postal workplaces when social distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained.

• Adhere to social distancing guidelines including while on delivery routes, while at retail counters and while inside postal workplaces, including plants, docks and lunch and break rooms.

You should also practice proper hygiene by washing your hands often for a minimum of 20 seconds. When soap and water aren’t available, use a 60-percent or higher alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Facilities should have sufficient coronavirus pandemic-related supplies on hand.

The Postal Service recently distributed a stand-up talk with this information.

Counter talk

Friendly chats with customers have resulted in Retail Associate Carolle Griffin submitting more than 10 leads through the Clerks Care program.

One conversation with the owner of an online cosmetic company yielded more than $15,000 in new revenue for the Postal Service.

Mona Ramsey, the business owner, who is a regular customer at the New Augusta, IN, Post Office, said Griffin had been very helpful in helping her build her business.

“I was mailing out packages almost daily, and she told me the Post Office would pick them up from home, and I should look at other mail products,” Ramsey said.

After that conversation, Griffin submitted a lead through Clerks Care. A business development specialist followed up with Ramsey, and the Postal Service signed a $15,567 shipping deal with the customer.

Revenue generated from Clerks Care leads is counted toward the USPS Power of One campaign to raise revenue through sales leads from employees.

“Our retail associates are in a great place to get to know their customers,” said Mary Anderson, small-business engagement director at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC. “A quick conversation across the counter can lead to real help for customers and more revenue for the Postal Service.”

The Sales Blue page has more information about Clerks Care and the Postal Service’s other lead-sharing programs, which include Business Connect, Customer Connect, Mail Handlers, Rural Reach and Submit a Lead.

Share your feedback at uspslink@usps.gov. Your comments could be included in the “Mailbag” column.

Cyber Monday

The Postal Service wants everyone to know it will be ready to deliver their Cyber Monday purchases this year.

In a news release this week, USPS reminded customers that products and services like Click-N-Ship, Package Pickup and free Priority Mail boxes, available on usps.com, allow them to take care of their mailing and shipping needs at home.

Additionally, the organization is encouraging customers to watch several “how to” shipping tips videos YouTube and to refer to the USPS Holiday Newsroom website for domestic, international and military mailing and shipping deadlines.

Online purchases on Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, are expected to hit $10 billion in 2020, a 39 percent increase from last year, according to market researcher Adobe Analytics.

Overall, online shopping sales in November and December are expected to reach $189 billion, up 33 percent compared with one year ago, Adobe Analytics estimates.

While the Postal Service expects significant volume increases, precise predictions are difficult this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the organization expects holiday customer traffic to increase beginning Dec. 7, with the season’s busiest period for mailing, shipping and deliveries occurring Dec. 14-21.

Share your feedback at uspslink@usps.gov. Your comments could be included in the “Mailbag” column.

Two weeks left

Postal Service employees have two more weeks to change their health coverage or enroll in a new plan.

Open season, the annual period when USPS employees can make benefits changes, ends Monday, Dec. 14.

Employees can choose from a variety of health, vision and dental coverage through the following programs and plans:

• Federal Employees Health Benefits Program

• USPS Health Benefits Plan, for non-career employees only

• Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program

• Flexible spending accounts

The Open Season LiteBlue page has information and resources, including FAQs, educational videos, and a link to a health plan comparison tool from Checkbook’s Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees.