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Gaining new perspectives through volunteering

In many of our companies, employees have the opportunity to use their work hours volunteering for a charity or organisation of their choice. Meet some of our people and find out what it means to spend their time helping others.

Visma’s goal is to shape the future of society for the better through technology. Many of our employees contribute an additional part of their time to help charities and organisations. At Visma Enterprise and Visma Public in Finland, they allow employees to spend one working day a month learning from volunteering.

Laura Saarainen, Product Director at Visma Public, knows how volunteering can help gain new perspectives and contribute to a better understanding of end-users needs.

She has spent several days volunteering at Mielen ry. This organisation aims to promote mental wellbeing, and help lay the ground for services supporting work on mental health and substance abuse and development projects.

Laura has volunteered for the mental health awareness organisation, Mielen ry.

Rewarding for both parties

Laura decided to see if someone needed her skills and professional background in a LinkedIn post. This is where she got in touch with Mielen ry. They needed assistance with a program aiming to help their clients.

“Through discussions and workshops, I was able to give them some new thoughts and ideas. At the same time, I got a better understanding of what struggles some people are facing in their everyday lives in terms of employability and mental health,” Laura explains.

Working with this type of organisation was new to Laura. She is quite busy in her day to day work, so finding time for volunteering could be a struggle at times. But meeting the people at Mielen ry and being able to help them proved rewarding for both parties.

“As a digitally native person, it was eye-opening to learn that many people have issues working with digital services. It gave me a new understanding of UX attributes and why this is so important for the end-users,” Laura continues.

“I love how you can use your working days volunteering. It sends out an important message to employees in that we should care about doing good for the community and not always focus on the business end of things. I think it is important and would encourage everyone to contribute, even though it might be difficult to balance with your day-to-day work,” she concludes.

Learn more about the charitable causes we support at Visma

Helping through coding

Joni Hänninen, a Senior Software Developer at Visma Enterprise in Finland, has also used his professional skills to help out in his community.

Joni did his own project for a small game team in Vaasa, developing a program that divides the blocks and games into different game points at their gaming event. Working with this had come to Joni’s attention in the gaming community while living in Vaasa, but there was not much time left after spending his days coding at work.

“The volunteering incentive is a great opportunity to do a useful job as a volunteer, and at the same time to develop professionally. New projects give you a different perspective on coding work,” says Joni.

The project used some of the same technologies he uses at work, but also involved new technology. According to Joni, this can give you “aha” experiences for your own work.

Joni has also participated in a mini stream marathon, raising funds for the Finnish Mental Health Association, Mieli ry.

“Through my own hobby, I was able to help others and raise money for charity as well. Plus, it’s nice to be able to play video games on the company’s payroll,” Joni adds jokingly. “The streaming day was fun, and at the same time, I got to chat on topics I’m interested in. The event itself was not very big, but donations piled up, bringing on a good mood for both myself and others.”

Joni hosted a mini stream marathon to raise funds for mental health association Mieli ry

The mini stream marathon may become a more frequent event where Joni could continue participating. Inspired by this, Joni is also considering arranging a charity event for an organisation by himself.

Joni challenges everyone to spend even that one day on something important and relevant to themselves when offered the opportunity by their employer. He also argues it gives a lot of power to do your everyday work.

Company for the elderly

Petra Mahlamäki works in customer service for Titania at Visma Public. Petra’s previous volunteering experience is through her children’s hobbies at sports clubs.

Petra volunteers by helping the elderly in her home town

Now that the children are older, Petra thought about channelling the volunteering incentive towards a matter close to her heart – the elderly. So he contacted the charity organisation in Jyväskylä to see if they needed volunteers to help the elderly.

Petra was referred to the Jyväskylä home service. Her first assignment was to accompany an elderly man. The program included joining him for coffee and a chat on the balcony, of course taking the covid-19 restrictions into account. Petra used her second volunteer assignment to spend a morning with a dementia patient, playing cards and looking at old photos together.

After these initial meetings, Petra’s calendar includes future meetings with outdoor activities until the summer holidays.

No advanced skills are needed for this job; social skills are the most important, bringing joy to oneself and others. Petra noticed how even small things matter and that there is also a need for so-called “digital coaches”.

“For my other client, the aspect ratio of the TV was wrong, and the picture was small. I fixed it, and the older man was delighted with the bright and improved TV screen. When I visited another person, we sent a text message to his son together, as he had not been successful in doing this before,” Petra explains.

“The great opportunity offered by my company was a kick start for me to do this. Normally I could spend the same amount of time watching a TV show, but now I can use it for something much more meaningful,” says Petra.

Also read: Boosting equality by supporting communities across the world

Combining dancing and information systems

Seppo Hoffrén works with Personec F product at Visma Public. He is a long-standing volunteer at the Finnish Dance Sports Association. When the opportunity for volunteering by Visma was offered, the goal was clear – he would help the Dance Sports Association with their information systems.

“4-5 years ago, the association launched a project to renew their information systems. Everything is based on volunteer forces, and the project will continue throughout the year – at least a day once a month,” says Seppo.

Seppo is combining his hobby with his skills by volunteering for the Finnish Dance Sports Association.

The work is interesting to Seppo. In addition to his IT skills, the dance system and competition rules are familiar to him through his competitive dance hobby. In this way, he utilises both skills and can reconcile them when helping to renew the information systems.

Seppo recommends volunteering to everyone. It is often normal, especially in sports clubs, for a small proportion to volunteer and others to “advise” but not sacrifice their own time. According to Seppo, everyone should find the time to volunteer in an area that interests them and makes them feel good.

Learn more about how Visma contributes

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