As the holidays draw near, there are no shortage of charities and other organizations in need of volunteers. If you have a little free time, it’s always a rewarding experience to share your time and talents with those in need. Of course, if you can spare some of your employees, volunteering as a team building exercise can help bring your office closer together while making a difference.
Reasons to volunteer as an office
While businesses automatically think of tax write-offs when they hear about a charity, volunteering as a team can do so much more for your bottom line than a few extra deductions ever could. Helping those less fortunate has a way of bringing out the best in people. When people are at their true best – not just the way they behave at work – it’s easier for bonding to occur.
Another reason volunteering as a team works is because it forces people who may never have to work together to interact. Since volunteer tasks often involve behind the scenes work, there’s usually plenty of time for your employees to talk. When the people who’ve never exchanged more than a few pleasantries with each other begin to talk, they can find common bonds that will help strengthen your team’s sense of unity.
And let’s not forget that your company may receive some kind of recognition if your volunteer efforts are substantial enough. In an age where advertising costs are skyrocketing, every bit of free recognition counts.
Ways to get your team more involved
The primary objection everyone has to volunteering is that they don’t have enough time. If you’re planning your company volunteerism efforts during the holiday season, this may legitimately not be an excuse. The key to getting a favorable response from your team is to meet them in the middle.
In order to make joining the company’s volunteer efforts more doable, consider:
- Giving substantial advance notice so employees can make child care arrangements
- Offering multiple shifts to better accommodate people’s schedules
- Scheduling the volunteer event to start on a workday afternoon, allowing employees to volunteer on company time in addition to their own time.
If physically going somewhere as a team is out of the question, volunteering as a team is still possible – if you’re willing to get creative. For instance, you could split your employees into teams and hold a contest for which team can bring in the most toys or canned goods. At the end of the campaign, hold a short – and fun – meeting to announce the winning team.
Really, it matters little exactly what volunteer activity you select as long as you use the time to foster a true sense of teamwork among your employees.