Sweden and Finland are the only two countries in Europe in which mail deliveries are still made to individual front doors in apartment blocks. Multi-occupancy mailboxes are a given in the rest of Europe.
Most apartment blocks in Denmark had multi-occupancy mailboxes installed in around 2010. The Danish Postal Act regulates the delivery of mail. The law contains an exception that states that people who for some reason cannot collect their mail from the box can still have it delivered to their front door. In 2016, there were 16,000 recipients who still received deliveries to the door. The financial benefits and the establishment of a better working environment for mail carriers were the main arguments for introducing the boxes in Denmark.
There is a network called Forum for Multi-Occupancy Mailboxes in Sweden, which consists of PostNord Sweden, Bring Citymail and Fria postoperatörers förbund (Independent Postal Operators’ Association). Via this forum, these members work together in order to increase the number of multi-occupancy mailboxes in use in Sweden.
“The main issue relates to improving the working environment. In recent years, the working situation has changed considerably for mail carriers. They are now out delivering mail for much longer during the day. They have more households to go to and a greater proportion of large items to deliver. It is not uncommon for a mail carrier to deliver to 800-1,000 different places in a single day. In this context, going up and down stairwells to deliver mail to the door involves considerable strain on their knees and shoulders. Multi-occupancy mailboxes improve their working conditions significantly,” says the Head of the Forum for Multi-Occupancy Mailboxes, Lisa Jones.
Benefits for mail recipients
Multi-occupancy mailboxes also provide benefits for mail recipients, as they can receive larger items in multi-occupancy mailboxes than in normal letterboxes and thus do not need to collect such items from a partner outlet. They also do not need to have a hole in their front door, which constitutes both a security risk and can also be a source of noise and smells coming into the apartment from the stairwell.
During 2016, the Forum for Multi Occupancy Mailboxes converted 67,000 traditional letterboxes into multi occupancy mailboxes in already existing buildings. There were also 37,000 multi-occupancy mailboxes installed in new buildings.5
“This is a record. We have a clear strategy that we follow in a focused manner. We want to make the future postal market more efficient, so that it works as well as possible for mail recipients and also for postal operators. Our 19 salespeople across the country meet major property owners in a regular and structured approach, in order to have good discussions with them about the benefits of multi-occupancy mailboxes. This is really having an impact,” says Lisa Jones.
In terms of persuading property owners to introduce boxes, PostNord has no right to decide on the matter, but can only make recommendations and provide information about the benefits of the boxes. According to Lisa Jones, the greatest resistance to installing multi-occupancy mailboxes is because of the misconception that it is expensive to purchase them. In fact though, they only cost around SEK 500 per apartment. She hopes that even more property owners and residents will discover the benefits of having their mail delivered to a multi-occupancy mailbox in the future.
Info box multi-occupancy mailboxes in Sweden
- There are currently approximately 2.5 million homes in apartment blocks in Sweden. Around a million of these, or 42 percent, already use multi-occupancy mailboxes.
- The cost of acquisition of a multi-occupancy mailbox is about SEK 500 per apartment.
- There are numerous benefits from using multi-occupancy mailboxes, including better working conditions for mail carriers, and also the fact that it is a more secure and comfortable solution for residents, because the boxes allow the direct delivery of larger items of mail.