Volunteering – time well spent

Tom Chapman 7th April 2021

As Stephen R.Covey famously said:

“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it”. 

I’m sure the logic behind this phrase is why businesses and individuals can walk into multi-year transformation projects with such confidence. They covert time into investment, changing waste into value. They also recognise the value of other’s time – partnering with people who have been through the journey before. People who have already invested the time so others don’t have to – effectively “cheating” time by reaching their destination earlier and avoiding rework and expensive delays.

The value placed on time is because it is a finite resource. And in the same way businesses clock how we spend our time at work, set contracts by an agreed set of hours and keep us to a set number of holi-days, individuals weigh up the worth of their hours by how they choose to spend them.

Because, ultimately, you can never put sand back in your own hourglass.

So how do we choose to spend this finite resource?

Remarkably, ten million UK adults choose to create a “volunteering army” during the pandemic, spending incredible amounts of time volunteering in their community. The same research revealed that most say they will carry on after the lockdown ends, helping to sustain a formidable infrastructure created during the crisis.

Tom Chapman was one of these volunteers.

With over 11 years of experience in the DevOps industry, Tom started his career as an SDET, writing automation platforms for distributed data processing systems. Today, he has extensive expertise in Digital Transformation, Kubernetes, MuleSoft and most major CI/CD tools, driving substantial value for ECS clients by making improvements across the entire software stack to deliver better code faster. Normally found Leading Pods in our enterprise clients, Tom is also one of our technical trainers on our new DevSecOps course.

When he’s not contributing to the world of DevOps, Tom can be found in a high vis jacket or on the other end of a phone call, supporting COVID-19 related efforts in his local community.

Having done some volunteering with the NHS responders at weekends before, Tom used a day in March 2021 to pick up where his duties had left off. His day was split into two halves; in the morning, Tom was accepting ‘alerts’ on the NHS Volunteer Responders app, and in the afternoon, Tom worked as a steward (car park attendant!) at a vaccination centre nearby in Borehamwood.

As part of the volunteer responders, Tom’s responsibility was to reach out to individuals who had opted in to weekly or fortnightly alerts to help with one or more of the following:

  • Avoid busy places by collecting their shopping, medicines and other important items
  • Have regular contact with other people by making regular friendly phone calls
  • Get to medical appointments by giving lifts.

Together, the amazing team of NHS Volunteer Responders have now completed more than 1.5 million tasks!

After wolfing down a quick sandwich, Tom made his way over to the local vaccination centre where he would help out for the afternoon.

Tom has been volunteering with Hertfordshire-based charity Communities 1st since the first lockdown. They support vaccination centres across Hertfordshire and North Essex. That day, he helped out at Med Mart Pharmacy in Borehamwood. In normal times the pharmacy is basically just a head office in a co-working building, but they’ve pulled the stops out to run a vaccination centre with up to three vaccinators at a time.

After people had been checked in and had their temperature taken, Tom’s job was to walk people from the car park to the office where the vaccines were taking place. Whilst the walk was only 20 metres of paving, it gave Tom a chance to hear some stories and chat briefly to people, helping them through a range of emotions from nerves to relieved and excitement. 11,000 steps later, Tom and his fellow volunteers had helped 300 people get safely vaccinated during the shift.

Time well spent.

Whilst Tom has been known to take holiday to achieve the above, he also taps in to the ECS volunteering days – an initiative that allows all staff the ability to take paid time to support a charity or a cause that’s close to their heart. Team members also get the support to pursue other avenues of volunteering – whether that’s building infrastructure to enable the tech community to get free hands-on training with the latest DevOps and clouds tools and platforms, or volunteering time to help students outside of ECS take their first steps into the world of technology.

In the same way the adoption of cloud technology accelerated and become a force for good in the world of business, volunteering has changed individual lives for the better, and is a positive change that’s here to stay.


Whilst lockdown restrictions are beginning to lift, there is still time to get involved and join the ‘volunteer army’. If you want to find out more about the charities in this blog, please check out their websites:







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