The 5th December is International Volunteer Day, so here at First2HelpYou we thought that now it would be the ideal time to look at how to incorporate using a lone working device for volunteers.

Volunteering At Christmas

According to statistics gathered by The Guardian, over the Christmas period one in five adults in the United Kingdom look to volunteer their services, in one form or another.

Maybe it’s because that’s the time of year when people naturally start thinking about those worse off than themselves, or the long dark winter nights lead us to want to do something to help those of us who find Christmas and winter an uphill struggle.

Either way, it is a great time to volunteer, whether at a foodbank, a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, a domestic abuse centre or anywhere that you can spare a few hours of your time.

If your business is taking on volunteers then,  just like lone working, there are some associated risks, especially if they will be volunteering outside in and at night.

So, what can you do as a business, to keep your volunteers safe?

the image shows an outstretched hand with kind words surrounding it

Provide Necessary Training

Most large and established charities or organisations should have standard policies and procedures for anyone new who will be volunteering for them, but if you are a smaller company, or this is the first time you are working with volunteers then you may not have anything in place.

It is important that volunteers are provided with the same information as regular members of staff.

Communication is key, volunteers should be provided with clear job descriptions and made to feel welcome.

Don’t overload them with technical jargon or assume they know what to do, give plenty of chance for input and feedback, being careful not to rush through the paperwork so they have time to ask questions.

Make sure they are provided with the same health and safety training as other employees.

As part of your health and safety procedures, you will need to carry out risk assessments on any locations that volunteers will be working in.

Giving positive feedback at the end of each day or shift is an additional way of helping volunteers feel valued and that they have made a difference.

One other tip that should seem obvious but so many companies forget, is to make sure someone says goodbye to them when they have finished work.

It is all too easy because they are not regular staff, to forget about them when it is time to go home and it can be quite dispiriting to have to leave after a hard days work without anyone saying thank you, goodbye, see you tomorrow, have a nice weekend etc.

the image shows a group of happy volunteers

Lone Working Volunteers Or Working In A Team

Will they be working in a team or alone? If in a team, introduce them to the other members of staff so they feel welcome.

If they are working alone, it is important that they are clearly told this in advance. This way they can have time to make sure they are comfortable working on their own (or not) rather than feel railroaded into doing it because they don’t want to let anyone down.

Lone Working Pool Devices

Here at First2HelpYou, we think that a lone working pool device will provide an additional layer of security for your volunteers, but what is it and how does it work?

Well, a pool device is a shared lone worker device that can be used by numerous people.

A company could have several pool devices with the same user details. Users could then, pick up any of these devices and use them.

When a user takes a pool device they would need to leave an amber alert message stating their name, this allows the monitoring station to contact the correct person following an alarm activation.

An amber alert is where a user can leave a message about where they will be and how long they will be there for. If the allotted time has passed then the alarm receiving centre will create an alert.

We would recommend that pool devices are kept in an easily accessible area and left on charge when not in use.

They are useful for groups of users who lone work infrequently, which would be ideally suited for volunteers.

Organisations would need to ensure there are enough units to cover the number of people lone working in a day and there is no limit on the amount of users on one pool device.

Get In Touch

If, like many other companies this year, you are considering working with volunteers and think using a lone working pool device for your volunteers will help them to feel safer, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

We also have a buyers guide here if you would like advice on all of our lone worker solutions.

You can telephone us on 0333 7729401 email us at sales@First2HelpYou.co.uk or use our online contact form here.