From admin to work
By Kim Haskins
If you've taken time out to devote to other aspects of your life, such as travelling or raising a family, the prospect of a return to work can seem intimidating. It's natural to feel out of the loop, and outdated skill-sets can knock your confidence. What's more, if you've spent a long period of time at home, you might be keen to expand your social network as much as your employment potential.
Is admin for me?
Many volunteering roles provide an excellent opportunity to reintroduce yourself into any workplace, and administrative positions are no exception.
If at first the word 'administration' doesn't exactly stimulate your voluntary desires, dig a bit deeper - you'll find it demands a broad range of practical and interpersonal skills as well as a great sense of responsibility.
Operating the photocopier may not feel the same as making a multi-million pound deal, but if the main players in that negotiation are depending on you for the documents then your contribution is just as valuable. Whether you're providing support in a commercial or a charity environment, people will quickly come to value you for a job well done.
One of the more attractive aspects of volunteering in administration is the variety of opportunities. Just as each business, charity or office environment is different, so the support needs of individual members of the workforce can further tailor the role. Consider what the word 'administration' could encompass and you'll begin to get the picture of what's out there – for example, from inputting data and creating mailouts for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, to helping out at reception in Holloway Prison or carrying out general admin and dog-walking duties for Manchester Dogs' Home.
It's likely that volunteering in admin will mean that you meet lots of other people. The office environment will hopefully be friendly and sociable, and you'll need to know what others expect from you in order to help them fulfil their roles.
And there are lots of part-time and flexible-time voluntary administration positions – useful if you have other commitments.
Administration doesn't just have to be about typing, answering the phone and filing, either. By showing your efficiency and commitment, you'll find there's great potential to expand your role beyond paperwork and take on more responsibilities.
What's in it for me?
In summary, admin volunteering can provide:
- The chance to help an organisation or cause you care about;
- An opportunity to find out if you're suited to working in an office environment;
- A chance to develop skills, identify your strengths and build on them;
- Experience and training on the latest computer software packages;
- An opportunity to make new friends and contacts.
Search the Do-it database for admin volunteering opportunities in your area.