Let me give you some context; I wrote this blog post from a bunk bed in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico. A few of my Salesforce coworkers and I joined other volunteers from around the world to help rebuild roofs in the area that were destroyed by Hurricane Maria as part of an effort organized by All Hands and Hearts.
At Salesforce we are privileged to be given seven VTO (Volunteer Time Off) days a year. It’s not only a suggestion to volunteer, but part of our DNA as a company. The positive impact this value has made on our community is something that makes our Ohana truly special. For years you may have heard our Co-CEO Marc Benioff say, “The business of business is not business. The business of business is improving the state of the world,” and that’s a value exemplified in the 1-1-1 model.
Given that I have some “hands-on” experience with this topic, I wanted to share why every team should find a way to volunteer together.
As I mentioned, Marc frequently believes that the business of business has a responsibility to improve the state of the world. Taking the time to volunteer will first and foremost make an impact on this world that is bigger than yourself. Volunteerism can be as simple as preparing and serving meals to those in need, visiting homebound seniors, or making cards for hospital-bound children — making a positive impact is contagious. No matter how big or small you may feel that impact is, there is always something special to be gained from making the world a better place.
How much does sharing that fun fact about yourself in the team meeting increase team cohesion? Taking the time to break out of a day-to-day routine has an impact on people. Getting out of the office, maybe wearing different clothes, or using your hands rather than sitting behind a computer are all ways to break down walls between people. It could be finally talking to your vice president you never get one-on-one time with or learning something new about your cube neighbor, getting in a new environment (like on top of a roof in Puerto Rico), and volunteering opens up possibilities for connecting.
It is well-documented that happy employees are more productive employees. You can, of course, do this through a holiday bonus, free lattes on Tuesday, or bring your dog to work day, but these changes are temporary. What really drives lasting happiness is achieving a sense of accomplishment. Of course, this sense of accomplishment should happen organically throughout your workday, but you can increase that feeling by helping others in your community.
It’s impossible not to smile while helping others. Getting that rush of emotion can help alleviate some anxiety and stress that the work week brings. Everyone deserves the opportunity to grin a little more in their day, and there's probably no better way to make that happen than making this world a better place.
No matter your schedule — we can all find some time —especially in this busy holiday season to slow down and help others. Being able to do this with your co-workers can positively impact your work relationships and provide your team with far-reaching benefits.