Office correspondence means communication in writing on subject of mutual interest either within the organization or outside the organization and it takes the form of a letter, a circular, and a notice. The written communication sent through the post office or the messenger is called, “dak” or mail. When the ‘dak’ is received by an office from different sources it is called as incoming mail. Handling of such incoming mail has given a paramount importance because improper handling of data create various problems. Hence the mail should be handled with speed and accuracy.
Efficient handling of mail requires establishment of a definite procedure which are termed as steps of handling of mail. These steps are :
Receiving the mail.
Sorting the mail.
Opening the mail.
Scrutiny of the contents.
Recording the mail.
Distribution of mail.
Follow up action.
Receiving the Mail
Generally mails are received once or twice a day delivered by the postman. When the volume of correspondence is large, a post box or post bag is hired in the post office and an office peon is required to collect the mail form the post office. Sometimes letters are received through the messengers of other offices.
Sorting the Mail
Sorting of letters means grouping of letters on definite order. The letters are grouped either on the basis of their nature or destination or contents. Sorting of letters may be done before opening of letters or after opening of letters. When it is undertaken before opening, private and confidential letters are separated from the ordinary letters.
Opening the Mail
In small organization letters are opened by the officer or head clerk. When the volume of letters are large, these are opened by mail-opener. In a large organization mails are handled by a mailing department and a clerk is engaged in opening of letters. Till the date of receipt of letter is recorded, the envelopes detached from the letters should be kept. When the letters are marked private, these are opened by the concerned person.
Scrutiny of Contents
After the letters are opened, the contents are removed from the envelopes and are scrutinised. The purpose of scrutiny is to ascertain the department to which the letter relate. Any enclosures of the contents should be properly verified and noted.
Stamping the Mail
After proper scrutiny, the date stamping of letter is done. Sometimes the date and time of receipt is stamped on the letter. For stamping of letters, a stamp is prepared which contains the serial number, the date of receipt and time of receipt if necessary. A reference stamp is attached if the letters relate to number of departments.
Recording the Mall
After the stamping work, letters received are recorded in inward mail register or letters received book. Before recording of letters in the register, the contents are scrutinized properly so as to ensure the department to which it belongs. The inward mail register contains serial number, date of receipt, senders name and address, nature of contents, subject of the letter in brief, remarks and initials of the officer with date.
Distribution of the Mail
This is the last step in the inward mailing routine. In this stage letters are handed over to the concerned department. The letters are distributed through messengers or sometimes with the help of mechanical devices like conveyor-belt or pneumatic tube.