Last July, employees of HP’s commercial organization located in cities around the world participated in a neighborhood clean-up project — together.
Over the course of a week, hundreds of members of the 10,000-person, globally distributed team logged on to the citizen-scientist app Marine Debris Tracker and hit the street — or the beach or the trail — alongside colleagues and family members and picked up trash. They cataloged each piece of paper and plastic they found, disposed of it in the Earth-friendliest way, and logged their progress on an online leaderboard. By the time the project finished, employees from Barcelona to Bucharest and Madrid to Mexico City had logged 17,000 collected items.
As hybrid work becomes the new normal for millions, employee volunteerism is settling into a hybrid model of its own, where projects are coordinated online for global teams and take place on volunteers’ schedules. It’s a structure, proponents say, that allows for flexibility, team engagement, and the kind of bite-sized compassion breaks that can improve employees’ mental health and reduce stress.
“You can engage people all over the world,” says Meghan Lamont, the Barcelona-based chief of staff and communications manager for HP’s sales operations team. “And because you’re all contributing to the same project at the same time, it almost feels like you’re in a face-to-face volunteering event.”