How to make the most of your remote assignment

Here are our top tips for making the most of your remote volunteer assignment.

Man on this computer working remotely from his desk.

Volunteering remotely provides plenty of opportunities for personal and professional development and fulfilment. Here, we've pulled together five top tips for making the most of your remote volunteering experience.

Focus on building relationships

Before getting stuck into the goals of your assignment, make sure you and your partner organisation colleagues set aside time at the start of your meetings for personal check-ins and life updates. Showing genuine interest in the lives of your colleagues and sharing details of your family, interests and life outside of your assignment, is just as important as the assignment itself. 

Getting to know one another personally as well as professionally, will foster mutual trust and respect with your partner organisation and form a solid foundation for you to work towards achieving your assignment objectives together. This is particularly important when working in an online environment.

Communication is key

Discuss early on with your colleagues how best to communicate with each other. Also talk about who you should be in contact with regularly, and if there are other people that may be involved to a lesser extent.

Email, Zoom and other chat platforms might be familiar to you but may not to your partner organisation. Have a chat about what platforms they use to communicate and what will be most effective to keep in contact during your assignment.

Internet connectivity may be an issue at times for you or your partner organisation, so we recommend having a couple of options available.

Video calls are a great way to develop relationships and may be a good option once a week, however, it might be more practical to communicate regularly through chat using apps such as WhatsApp.

Set realistic expectations

We understand that remote volunteers have work, family and other commitments and interests outside of a remote assignment. With that in mind, it's important to talk to your colleagues about what hours and days of the week you will be available throughout the assignment. 

Equally important is establishing when and how often you will respond to communications if it is outside of your agreed working hours.

Working together across different time zones can be challenging to navigate, so keep this in mind when determining which country you will be working with. It may be that working outside of normal working hours in a different time zone is preferable so that your assignment can fit around your other commitments.

Priorities can change week on week but be sure to keep open communication with your colleagues to make any adjustments.

Create a work plan

Depending on the length of your remote assignment, it may be challenging to complete all the assignment objectives.

A good way to keep on track is to develop a work plan with your colleagues and to regularly check in to see how you're tracking. Priorities may change along the way so it's important to decide early on which goals should be prioritised to support your partner organisation.

Always remember your in-country team is available for advice throughout your assignment, so be sure to contact them if you need support.

Make the most of it

People volunteer for many different reasons. Whether it's to gain professional experience in a new field, broaden networks, build friendships, give back to community, or to learn something new.

While you may not be travelling overseas as a remote volunteer, there are still plenty of opportunities to discover a new culture, such as taking language classes, learning how to cook local cuisine and hearing from partner organisations about their work in gender equality, climate action and more at our global webinar series.

Make the most of these opportunities to learn about the culture and lives of your colleagues as this will help deepen mutual understanding and respect and potentially build lifelong friendships.

Find out more about remote volunteering and discover our latest remote volunteer assignments.

Find out more about remote assignments

From applying to working on an assignment. Learn about the steps necessary to volunteer remotely.

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