Employee volunteering from the other side

Let’s be frank—as much as any of us love our jobs, we are always thrilled when an activity comes along that will take us out of our daily routines and away from our desks for a few hours.  Sometimes, even just the occasional fire drill is enough.  So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I got the opportunity to leave the office early to participate in an employee volunteering event at my previous job. “Wow,” I thought, “several hours outside of the office and away from my computer during the work day!”  Amazing.

My team and I spent a productive morning weeding and clearing rubbish from a park in New York City that was greatly in need of some TLC. However, while getting away from the emails piling up in our inboxes was great, in the end, it was the feeling of satisfaction at having spent our time doing something positive for the community, as well as the new people from the office we had a chance to meet (Steven from Finance! Jeffrey from IT—what a guy!) that made the day a huge success.

Since I’ve recently joined the staff here at TimeBank as Employee Volunteering Administrator, I’ve been excited to see employee volunteering from the inside.  From the initial inquiry we get from corporate clients, to tracking down the perfect opportunity that will make them feel useful and fulfilled, the process is far more nuanced than I had ever given it credit for as an employee volunteer.

Now that I can truly appreciate it from both sides, I’m eager to get as many Christmas volunteering events in the calendar as possible this holiday season. Christmas volunteering is a great way for employees to get to know their colleagues better in a relaxed, informal setting (in jeans and t-shirts!) whilst providing a great service to the community. Also, Christmas volunteering is a wonderfully inclusive activity for the whole team to participate in, and as such, it makes a great complement to a company Christmas party. While holiday parties can be a lot of fun, it’s easy to forget that not everyone is up for a boozy afternoon. Volunteering is a fun, productive activity that everyone can partake in as lead up to the remainder of the festivities. And for those of us going on to the holiday party afterwards, it provides good fodder for chatting over a pint.

As far as I can see, it’s a win-win for everyone!

On a final note, let’s keep in mind that volunteering isn’t just for Christmas and charities have year-round needs for volunteers. If you’d like to get your team volunteering now or at any other time during the year, take a look here and if you'd like any more information call me on 0203 111 0721 or email  judita@timebank.org.uk.