5 Ways to Keep Employees Engaged Without Leaving the Office

Nov 20, 2012 7:00 AM ET
Feeling chained to your desk? You can still make a difference.

Volunteering is CSR

When times are busy, often employee volunteering takes a back seat. Our CSR and employee engagement programs tend to get de-prioritized amidst looming deadlines and end-of-year rushes.

But this is also the time when community involvement and employee engagement is at its most important. This is a key time to remind employees that giving back is part of who you are as a company, and to engage them in ways that will strengthen their commitment to their work, to your company and to each other.

It’s also a great way to give employees a break when stress in the office gets to be too high. They get to take a break and do something different while still accomplishing something productive and valuable.

Here are ways you can urge your employees to stay engaged and do some good even when they can’t get out of the office to volunteer:

Organize a Green Team

Perhaps the office verve around recycling has petered off a bit, or you’ve noticed a lot of people printing out their emails lately. Get a few dedicated employees to post signs up around the office, send emails, and remind people how easy it is to be green (sorry, Kermit.)

Hold a Food Drive

If everyone brings in a few cans of food each week, your office could feed dozens or hundreds of hungry people in your area. Talk to a local food pantry and rally your employees to become a part of the initiative.

Casual Days for Donations

It’s all about the carrot vs. the stick with this one. Give employees the option to come into work in jeans and other casual wear – if they donate to one of your company’s nonprofit partners. Letting go of the business casual for a day or two is definitely incentive enough for me.


Just because your employees are too busy to take hours off and go somewhere to volunteer, doesn’t mean they can’t help nonprofits in small ways from their desks, the lunchroom, or waiting for the bus. Organizations like Sparked.com and Help from Home connect individuals with microvolunteering opportunities.


Maybe it’s too late in the year to plan any big days of service, but there are ways your employees can volunteer together right in the office. Hold a mini-hackathon! Invite a local nonprofit to come present to your employees about a special need they have, and then provide food, drinks and encouragement as your marketing, product and engineering teams work together to come up with a solution.

How does your company keep employees engaged in giving back when times are busy? Share in the comments!