The coronavirus pandemic has sadly separated many people from their jobs, friends and loved ones. But it has also invoked a forceful humanitarian effort, and brought others together in ways we never could have imagined.
News of the devastation caused by COVID-19 is in no short supply, so we wanted to take this opportunity to home in on something positive that has emerged from the crisis. The overwhelming number of people who have registered to volunteer and help those in need through schemes such as I-VOL through Volunteer Ireland.
Opportunities for volunteering during this time include essential grocery deliveries for the vulnerable or befriender phone calls to support those who are in isolation. Volunteers are advised to consider their own health and to ask if somebody would like help before informally volunteering in their local community.
Has a member of your workforce signed up to help in the fight against coronavirus? Or perhaps you employ people who have expressed an interest in volunteering? This would be good news as there are many wonderful benefits associated with the pursuit.
Why is volunteering good for employees?
Volunteering not only provides support to those in desperate need but can also be a fulfilling accomplishment for those who selflessly devote their time and goodwill.
Giving back to the community, or perhaps even further afield in this example, can be beneficial for a person’s mental and physical health. In addition to boosting morale and providing an important sense of self-worth, volunteering affords opportunities to improve many transferable skills such as communication, problem solving and teamwork.
Those who partake in volunteering are also likely to show compassion and altruism in other aspects of their life, such as in their place of work.
The benefits to your business
Employing people who show a passion for charitable work can do wonders for your company culture and overall business. Supporting, and actively encouraging such activity can attract positive and open-minded people during a recruitment drive and assist your employee retention programme.
In a time where we are reminded of the threat of climate change and amidst the coronavirus pandemic, employees are looking to their employers for leadership in new ways. Your company’s contributions to social responsibility can retain good people in your business, open new doors for partnerships and strengthen your surrounding community. All of which is good for business.
How can I help employees who want to volunteer?
With such a high demand for volunteers, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the rules surrounding employees who wish to volunteer.
You are not obliged to allow employees time off to volunteer; however, you may like to make allowances if there is less work for employees to do at this time. This would be unpaid authorised absence. Ask us if you are unsure.
Due to the extremity of the coronavirus crisis, employees who are former personnel of the Permanent Defence Force may be re-enlisted to assist in relief efforts, and Reserve Defence Forces employees could be called upon to activate, which brings its own challenges and legal requirements, If you have questions about managing Defence Force personnel or employees who are volunteering to help fight coronavirus, contact your local HR Dept for advice. We are here to help.