Online volunteering – your team needs these 4 types of members

Not everyone is looking for a remote work option, however, there are some who prefer working from home. The desire may come due to various causes. It can be physical limitations, personal or professional circumstances, or simply one’s own preference. To give you a better idea of what untapped potential lies in the world of online volunteering or home office workers, here are the 4 most common types.

The highly qualified Sara Fleißig (33 years old)

“Hi, I’m Sara and I’m always happy to share my knowledge. I would almost call tackling new projects and developing them further my hobby. I see challenges almost as a basic requirement for me to be interested in the subject. What am I supposed to do in a project where everything is already running smoothly?

As an entrepreneur, I’m pretty busy with my projects and hardly have a real daily routine, especially when I have to travel for business appointments. However, since I am used to working in a home office, this would be a super opportunity for me. I would love to share more of my knowledge and network for a good cause, however, I need the opportunity to be able to contribute flexibly and without being tied to a specific location.”

Long-time member Helmut Aktiv (68 years old)

“Good day my name is Helmut Aktiv and I have always been active in my community. The Neighborhood Watch is super important for me and that’s where I have a lot of friends. For a good community, it is important to tackle things together and show solidarity. That has always been and still is my principle.

Now, since me and my wife are retired, we have fulfilled our dream and live in our second home in Spain on the coast over the cold winter days . There we feel comfortable and are very happy, over the summer we try to come to Germany regularly. The distance to our family is not so difficult for us, because we are in regular contact. The family WhatsApp group and regular Skype conversations with our grandchildren are great. However, I miss continuing to be involved in my old club. While I can get involved over the summer, there are no opportunities over the winter. It would be nice if I could continue to participate in our club life from Spain as well.”

The globetrotter Svenja Wandel (19 years old)

“Hey, I’m Svenja and I just got back from my internship abroad in Washington. After my high school graduation I did a voluntary social year in Cambodia and this actually changed a lot in me. On the one hand, I have grown up, but above all I have experienced first-hand what globalization means. I have never been so aware of our responsibility to other people as I am at this moment. I’m happy to share my experiences. After my voluntary service I started to study International Management because I would like to change the world in the future.

I would like to get involved and gain my first practical experience. My studies are very theoretical and I would like to see how it works in practice. A social enterprise that gives me the opportunity to help shape things or an association would be great. That would give us a win-win situation. However, I move frequently and my studies challenge me sometimes more and sometimes less. I am already used to working from home. That’s why I’m looking for a way to get involved that’s location-independent and flexible, it can’t be that hard, right?”

Digital activist Till Neu (16 years old)

“Hi I’m Till and I’ve been active in student council for a long time. I am worried about my future, because climate change and its consequences will hit me hard. I think the Fridays for Future campaigns are pretty cool and I try to participate as often as I can. I think I got that from my neighbor, she’s always been very involved and that always impressed me. Taking social responsibility is cool. Many claim that my generation is not politically engaged and only hangs out on their cell phones. I think they just don’t understand that we now engage via mobile, so basically like home office only more flexible. Political memes or online petitions are our means of choice to gain influence and shape this world. That works out pretty well even in our age group.

The last time I talked to my neighbor, she was very sad because her club was lacking young people. She says the members are getting older and new members would be missing. I would love to help her, but the dusty methods they use don’t appeal to me. Sitting down in a room with coffee and cake and following long discussions bores me. I’d rather use the time to start the next online education campaign with my friends from the student council. But it is a pity that we cannot join forces. My neighbor’s club and my friends from student council we could learn a lot from each other.”

“We don’t need much, just that we fit together!”

Sara, Helmut, Svenja and Till are potential team members who are super committed but have not yet found the right offer for themselves. You probably also know people in your environment who you would like to have on your team but are unable to attend your events due to their professional or personal circumstances. Or the last top employee who left their team because they changed residences. These are lost potentials, where one should think carefully about the possibility of cooperation. How can you win Sara, Helmut, Svenja or Tim for your team?

These people all have in common that they like to freely divide their time and want this to be as flexible as possible. They want or need to be location-independent so that they can combine their everyday life with their tasks. A partial or full home office commitment is a nice way to give them the flexibility they need. However, don’t worry about letting these people do their jobs unobserved. They are team members who bring an incredibly high level of motivation of their own and feel responsible for their tasks. They have been practicing this independent way of working for years (possibly even their entire lives?) and are proud of it. They have found their routine and are reliable. Working and communicating digitally comes far more naturally to them than it does to many of us.

Take the chance!

As you can see, these digital employees have incredible potential, which can also enrich your team. Being able to engage and participate digitally with you opens doors for these people. Of course, the infrastructure and work processes have to be adapted accordingly and HR managers have to learn what digital team management and building means. This effort is worth it for the new perspective their digital members can bring them, and don’t worry online employees are just as human as their offline counterparts.

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