Hey Lifehacker, One of the tricky things about online shopping is that the goods tend to arrive during business hours, and for those of us that don't work from home, that means a trip to the post office to pick up the merchandise. However, when your local post office is only open during business hours, that presents some problems. The obvious solution is to use your workplace as the delivery address, but I wonder if there is any sort of etiquette here? How many items per month is reasonable? Do some types of work deal with this better than others? Cheers, Delivery Dilemma
The short answer is: it very much depends on your employer and the type of work you do. If you work in a white collar job where mail gets delivered to your desk anyway, then the odd parcel or two is not going to make much difference. At Lifehacker's publisher Allure Media, for instance, so many deliveries show up for work purposes as it is that the odd extra parcel due to online shopping isn't going to be a concern. And if your boss expects you to put in long hours, it isn't unreasonable to expect that some of those out-of-work-hours tasks be simplified by an online delivery.
If you work in an environment where you don't have a fixed desk or where you're largely off the premises, then it could be more complicated. And it's easy to see why certain organisations (such as supermarkets or fast-food outlets) might ban the practice: there's nowhere secure to store the delivered items and staff hours vary frequently.
All told, it's simply good manners to establish whether or not this is accepted behaviour in your workplace. If you're in a relatively small business, you can ask the boss directly. In larger organisations, check existing HR documents or ask your manager. And don't go nuts: an item a week isn't going to be a problem, but daily deliveries suggest you really need your own PO box.
Speaking again in general terms, smaller items such as books or clothing are rarely an issue. What might be unreasonable? If you're in a large workplace, you might need to think twice about getting something large or delicate (such as a big-screen TV or a crate of wine) delivered to the office. At the very least, you should let the relevant area of your business know that you're expecting something to be delivered on a given date, and promise to take it off their hands as soon as possible.
One final thought: if you're having goods delivered to work, it's often worth paying extra for delivery tracking (via registered mail/Express Post registered mail or through a courier), to ensure you can see when the item is due and that it's signed for when it arrives. With standard postal items, if something goes missing between the mail system and your desk, chances are you won't be able to pinpoint the source of the problem.
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