Last week, the interns at OpenSesame took the morning off to volunteer at the Oregon Food Bank with a couple of other tech companies around Portland. Taking unbelievably flattering group photos in hairnets, latex gloves and aprons was just one of the perks of the event. We made our contribution through packaging onions waiting to be shipped off to families all around Oregon.
What we often see is that people genuinely want to volunteer, but find it difficult to maintain their work-life balance. However, studies show that 70% of young employees believe that companies should use volunteering as a professional development tool, whereas only 28% stated that their company actually does so. Other studies also show evidence that employees wish and seek to get involved in volunteering through their companies.
What would happen if all volunteers just suddenly quit showing up to work? Utter chaos, I would imagine. Volunteers make up a significant portion of our society, and their time and dedication create a great impact on the economy. Learn how you can help be a part of that change!
Companies have many valuable resources–skilled workers, connections, etc., that some organizations do not always have access to. As a member of the community, it should be a part of a company’s agenda to give back to the people that support your product or service.
Building a stronger community can also benefit the company itself. The future generations entering the workforce will see the long-lasting effects made by volunteers, and will grow and develop into motivated, strong individuals.
Employees of larger companies tend to organize events within their own teams or groups, and camaraderie lacks fluidity across structural departments. Volunteering can often involve physically or mentally strenuous activities. Sharing these experiences together and working together towards a common goal will build a sense of teamwork.
Changing your typical workplace setting and stepping into a completely new environment requires a certain level of adaptability and open-mindedness. Volunteering requires you to operate on someone else’s watch, which may seem unfamiliar and even uncomfortable in the beginning. However, you will gain new perspectives and networking opportunities with people outside of your circle. As you work to mitigate the challenges faced by the community, you will find yourself acquiring some practical as well as soft skills that can help you to succeed in the workplace.
It’s never too late to volunteer. Find a cause that your company can support, and get out there and give back!