Volunteering from home for the first time
Tomila Sahbaei | July 12th 2021 | 2 min read
After one year of following COVID-19 pandemic protocols, it is safe to say that most of you are likely comfortable working with technological alternatives of communication and meeting spaces. What about volunteering? This article will help you to better understand how these changes affect volunteering and provide tips on how to excel in your placements!
1. Understand the applications your organization uses
Whether it be Zoom, Discord, or Google meetings, it is important to make yourself comfortable with the technology that your team uses. Don’t be afraid to ask what applications your organization expects you to be proficient in. Once you are aware, experiment with the applications and make yourself familiar with the tools and commands. Additionally, LinkedIn offers learning courses on certain applications and can be used as a tool to increase your level of proficiency.
2. Designate a specific place as a work space for yourself
Studies have suggested that people work better when they differentiate areas of work from areas of leisure. For you, this may mean doing your volunteer work in a different room than your bedroom or having a desk in your room that you only use to complete your work. Having access to these spaces , however, is a privilege within itself so perhaps even if you cannot differentiate between spaces, consider facing a different area of your room when you work or going to a public library for a couple of hours – with proper PPE of course!
3. Leave your camera on
While we know this may not be a popular move, given the reduced amount of face-to-face interaction, leaving your camera on can provide a warmer sense of interaction than simply speaking to a blank screen. Some organizations may even require you to keep your camera on because it facilitates the building of relationships between people. This is particularly important if you are helping out at an online volunteer event or attending a team meeting.
4. Be organized
While stay-at-home protocols have typically given people more time on their hands, procrastination and poor time management still exist and it’s important to be aware of that as a volunteer. Having a simple calendar or notebook to write down tasks and events in can do wonders. This will help you stay on top of things and provides a sense of structure that can be difficult to grasp under the current circumstances. Additionally, working in a clean and comfortable space is another important factor. Rid yourselves of nearby distractions, and create a workspace that makes you excited to work in.
5. Continue to build relationships
Though we are online, and networking opportunities have decreased, you still have the opportunity to develop your relationships with other individuals – even if it is via a Zoom call. If you find yourself getting along with someone in your organization, perhaps someone you look up to, don’t hesitate to ask about meeting sometime for a “virtual coffee chat”. Remember that when the opportunity presents itself, you will eventually meet with these individuals in person!.