Volunteering at Work?

2009 September 15
by Kate O'Neill

The food bank
Creative Commons License photo credit: monkeyatlarge

I’ve been pretty caught up in a volunteer project lately, helping to put on a tech conference in my local area. We’ve reached that part of the process where everyone’s been working hard and we’re all starting to get a little burned out, just as we’re entering the crunch time where there’s a lot to do and a long way to go.

It’s got me thinking about how volunteering can impact, and at times improve, your life, your professional skills, your world view, and so on.

Apparently I’m not the only one thinking about this, because from the Harvard Business Review comes an article by Sylvia Ann Hewlett about increasing employee engagement by encouraging volunteering:

Simply giving employees access to charitable work through their job is an effective way to amp up engagement. More than a third of the 106,000 employees of BT (formerly British Telecom) already actively volunteer during their off-hours, according to a company internal survey. Another 30 percent would like to. That’s why in April 2009, BT introduced its first coordinated, companywide Volunteer Program.

BT’s vision is to effectively pair work teams and individual executives with productive volunteer opportunities that match their personal interests and career development needs. For example, a division that needs team building may spend a day together erasing graffiti off inner-city walls. One CEO of a BT business unit is volunteering his time mentoring the CEO of a charitable organization.

In some of the companies where I’ve worked, we’ve had organized days for working in a food bank, or perhaps for helping out with a home building project. Does your company provide opportunities for volunteerism? Do you seek out volunteer opportunities outside of work? What benefits have you gotten from volunteering?

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Delicious
  • Sphinn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • FriendFeed
  • Squidoo
  • Technorati Favorites
  • Share/Bookmark
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline