From catching up on your favourite TV show and learning to cook new meals to enrolling in an online training course, the extra time afforded to you by working from home can be used in a variety of ways to benefit your personal or professional life.
But how can you use some of this time to benefit the lives of others? For the altruists keen on helping others while isolating, and those who just want to give their hobbies a greater purpose, we put together this list of opportunities for accountancy and finance professionals to volunteer from home.
NHS Volunteer Responders
Possibly the most important volunteering opportunities currently available are those supporting the overstretched NHS. Most of the opportunities on offer do involve going outside - such as delivering essential items to vulnerable people or transporting vital medical supplies - but Check-in and Chat Volunteers can provide short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness as a consequence of self-isolation. Although this programme has been temporarily put on hold as the NHS processes the initial 750,000 volunteers, registration will re-open in the coming days.
Join more than 53,000 digital volunteers around the world using their phones and computers to help Amnesty International’s researchers sift through vast databanks of images, documents, social media messages and other digital information. By volunteering for Amnesty Decoders, you will be making a meaningful contribution to human rights work by easing the information overload faced by researchers. Since launching in June 2016, the Decoders platform has completed seven projects ranging from identifying Darfur villages at risk of attacks to looking at abuse and misogyny directed at female Indian politicians on Twitter.
Silver Line Telephone Friends
The Silver Line operates the only confidential, free helpline for older people in the UK that is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can make a difference to the lives of older people struggling with loneliness by registering as a Silver Line Telephone Friend. Once registered and matched with an older person, you will call or write a letter to each other each week.
If you have a knack for sewing, knitting or crochet, registering with Loving Hands might be the perfect opportunity for you to volunteer from home. Loving Hands brings together talented crafters to create clothing, blankets, hats, animal coats and much more for carefully vetted charities and groups around the world including the RSPCA and The Salvation Army.
Befriending Services with Age UK
One of the ways in which Age UK aims to battle loneliness in later life is via a befriending services scheme called Call in Time. Once registered, you will be matched with an older person who has similar interests to your own and provide them with regular conversation and companionship over the phone.
Volunteering as a Digital Connecter at The Mix will see you provide vital support to vulnerable young people and connect them to further help, from the comfort of your own home. For 3 hours per week, you will be on hand to connect under 25s in need with advice services, support groups, places to sleep and more. Full training and support is offered to those who register as a Digital Connecter.
An ideal home volunteering opportunity for the amateur cartographers in our audience is to register with Missing Maps - an open, collaborative project where you will help map previously uncharted areas where humanitarian organisations are trying to meet the needs of vulnerable people. Using satellite images and drawing tools to mark up buildings, rivers and more, you will be directly helping first responders to make valuable, potentially life-saving decisions.
Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is a free app available on iPhone and Android devices that helps blind people and those with low vision to navigate their daily lives by connecting them with sighted volunteers for virtual assistance via a video call. Installing the app and becoming a sighted volunteer, you may help people with anything from checking expiry dates and distinguishing colours to reading instructions and navigating their surroundings.
Every birdwatcher around the world has a unique cache of knowledge and experience. eBird was founded with the aim to gather this information from birdwatchers and then make it freely available in aid of science, conservation and education. Alongside this, eBird creates tools that make the hobby more enjoyable and rewarding, making this a unique opportunity for keen bird watchers and those new to the activity to use the pastime for the greater good.
The United Nations Volunteer Programme
Utilise your professional skills by taking part in a project with the United Nations Volunteer Programme. Teaming up with organisations to address and solve sustainable development issues, you can get involved in a huge variety of activities ranging from project management and research to writing, translating and design.
Translators without Borders
Are you fluent in more than one language? If so, volunteering from home for Translators without Borders (TWB) may interest you. TWB is a non-profit organisation that provides language and translation services to humanitarian and development agencies around the world. Become a part of its global network of translators to help non-profit organisations overcome communication barriers and increase access to critical information and services.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of opportunities to volunteer from home. If you are passionate about a particular cause or want to turn a different hobby into a remote volunteering opportunity, a quick internet search will likely turn up something to suit you.