Half of our team at WHYFOR has recently made their mark on history. That’s a bold statement, we know. More than a statement, it’s been a bold effort. And more than being bold, every effort was honest and heartfelt and moving and rewarding.
That’s what you come away with after volunteering at a mass vaccination clinic — set up in response to a crippling and lethal global pandemic.
Yeah, we have work to do. We have websites to design, banner ads to build and meetings to take. We have projects, some that push us to squeeze in a little extra time after 5 or before 9. This wasn’t because we had time to fill.
It was because helping the people in our community who need it most just seemed like a bigger priority. So, when time slots were assigned to WHYFOR team members, it just happened. What’s one day, anyway, if it means you’re helping to save lives?
For perspective, none of our client work is deadly. But a pandemic is.
And what did WHYFOR see and experience while volunteering at the clinics, an effort that completely aligned with our values as a brand? A range of emotions, including a sense of gratitude for being part of a professional team that values humanity in a way that goes beyond just saying it — but by doing it.
“I lost it.”
That’s what one of us said after seeing an elderly couple come through the line, holding hands, eyes glossed over with tears, saying they were excited to see their grandkids again.
“That was really special.”
That’s how one of us felt after seeing people who were old enough to qualify for a vaccine arrive at the clinic without an appointment, but — with the help of volunteers — properly register on site and receive their vaccination.
“We had people lining up in cars, registering, so we didn’t have to throw any (vaccines) out.”
This is what one of us experienced early on, when things were still confusing and people were still figuring out how to register. This same team member started driving elderly friends and neighbors to receive their vaccinations and later reported:
“Now, you’re in and out in 15 minutes.”
And then there was this, thoughts from WHYFOR’s main man, to all of us after he volunteered. We aren’t a pomp and circumstance people at WHYFOR. We’re more of a “hey, this is cool” nonchalant-type people, which means we all did this history-making volunteer thing on our own.
No company mandate. No heavy suggestions. Nothing. It’s just built into our culture that if something is important to you, as an individual, do it. Being part of this moment in history was one of those important things that needed zero explanation, even when it’s during a workday.
“I do encourage (if you can and if you want) everyone to consider volunteering so you too can experience the joy, hope, thankfulness, love, support and connection. Don’t hesitate to use work time if you are interested.”
News outlets have reported that more than 85,000 volunteer hours have been accrued at just one of the Valley’s vaccination sites. It’s cool that WHYFOR logged some of those.
And of the 1 million vaccinations administered in Arizona as of early February? Half of our team had a hand in that. Not in giving the shots — because we’re good, but not that good. But, you know, in getting people there.
So, we’re quietly proud over here. But also filled with gratitude. It’s a privilege to be able to help, and it’s also one to be able to see, feel and experience brand values with zero effort. It’s just who we are.
If you emailed all of us today at WHYFOR, half of us would respond with an “Out of Office” message. Okay, maybe fewer, because there’s always those people who forget to turn theirs on.
The point is, we’re half-staff down today. Nobody’s sick. Nobody’s on furlough. Nobody’s on vacation, we think — we’ll check the shared calendar to be sure. Eventually.
We just like Fridays off in the summer. And we don’t wait around for a holiday to give it to us. WHYFOR exercises a Summer Friday policy, which more than half of American companies offer as an employee benefit, according to Business Insider.
It’s pretty amazing. We use our time to sleep in, adventure, run, chill with our family, catch up on Netflix, go to Target or generally….just. not. work.
Research indicates that Summer Fridays, where employees get the whole day or a portion of the day off, boosts morale and improves productivity. And who doesn’t want that? That kind of seems to reflect at least a couple pillars of operational success.
This year, though, it seems more important than ever before. At a time when we’re all working from home, a place we share with bored kids, working spouses, and dogs determined to bark their way into as many conference calls as possible, a little time off the clock is precious.
It’s hard to disconnect when the commute is just a flight of stairs, especially when the avenues of escape we’ve come to rely on are unavailable and (gulp) not really safe right now. And despite the current climate in society, deadlines haven’t disappeared, urgent needs haven’t gone on hiatus and challenges haven’t taken the summer off.
That would have been amazing — any one of those.
So, time is valuable. It always is, but particularly right now. Time to not work on a day we usually do — it offers a bit of mental freedom that has been hard to come by in recent months.
That, and WHYFOR believes it’s just good practice to acknowledge hard work.