Peak performance

The Postal Service accepted more than 13.2 billion cards, letters, flats and packages during the holiday season, according to preliminary data released this week.

The volume from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day exceeded the 12.7 billion pieces accepted during the same period one year earlier.

The average delivery time for holiday mail and packages in 2021 was 2.7 days.

The season’s highest volume came during the week between Saturday, Nov. 27, and Friday, Dec. 3, with 2.8 billion mailpieces accepted for delivery.

“Our mission to deliver for America is an enormous responsibility, especially during the holidays,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. “I am humbled by the hard work and dedication of each and every one of our 650,000 employees who, despite the challenges of the pandemic, helped bring joy and commerce to people across the nation.”

The unprecedented preparations for the 2021 peak season began at the start of the year. These initiatives not only addressed many of the challenges of the 2020 peak but aligned with Delivering for America, the Postal Service’s 10-year plan to achieve financial stability.

These efforts included:

• Workforce stabilization: the conversion of 63,000 precareer employees to career positions as well as a national drive to hire 40,000 seasonal employees;

• Workspace expansion: the leasing of an additional 13 million square feet to assist in mail processing;

• New equipment: the installation of 112 new package sorting machines and 50 large package sorters; and

• Transportation flexibility: the leasing of 3,300 trailers and the addition of 1.6 million square feet to the surface transfer center network.

“Under our 10-year plan, we made major operational improvements and strategic investments across the organization throughout 2021,” DeJoy said.

“It has made a significant difference and contributed to our success this holiday season, but our work isn’t done. Every day is an opportunity to fulfill our commitment of service excellence to the American people — and on that, we intend to deliver.”

Winter walking

The Postal Service wants employees to take precautions when walking in winter weather.

Snowy and icy conditions increase the likelihood of slips, trips and falls that could result in pain, injury and lost productivity. To avoid these accidents, employees should follow these tips:

Wear proper footwear with good tread and grippers (ice cleats);

Walk with care and take short steps;

Take extra precautions when entering and exiting your vehicle;

Use handrails on steps; and

Wait for vehicles to stop completely on snow- or ice-covered roadways before crossing a street.

The Safety Blue page has more information, including Safety Depends on Me! videos on working in winter weather.

Start new with you

People everywhere are making resolutions to lose weight and focus on short-term dietary changes in the new year.

The USPS Health and Wellness Team wants to remind employees that weight management is most successful when viewed as a lifestyle behavior, not a temporary goal.

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is important throughout your life and prevents the development of many diseases.

Various factors — such as family history, genetics, metabolism, environment and habits — contribute to a person’s weight.

Being overweight may lead to higher risks for serious health problems, such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, stroke and cancers.

Individuals who are underweight also face health risks, such as malnutrition, decreased immune function and fertility issues.

Weight management helps to lower risk for certain diseases and gives you more energy.

It’s part of your self-care that incorporates healthier eating, regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, managing stress and balancing the calories you eat and drink with the calories your body uses for daily activity.

Try these tips to help manage your weight:

Move more and sit less. Limit screen time and time spent sitting. Create ways to increase steps throughout the day.

Schedule time for physical activity and stick to it.

Track eating habits. Include more fruits and vegetables. Start with reducing food or drink intake by 500 calories a day if your goal is weight loss.

Set goals that are specific, attainable and forgiving (not too strict).

Plan for setbacks. Refocus and resume your goals.

It’s never too early or too late to achieve a healthy weight.

The Health and Wellness team’s information does not constitute medical advice. Individuals should seek consultation with their own health care professionals.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health and USPS January Wellness Toolkit websites have more information.