The Human Conveyor Belt
Here is a real simple one, that we often overlook. . .
WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER!
No matter what type of SE project you are working on, chances are you have to unload and load materials. Contrary to popular opinion, I have found that you should NOT do all the preparation behind the scenes in the name of being volunteer friendly. Keep in mind, there going to be some new folks showing up to your outreach. They are really afraid of “witnessing” or “evangelism” because they think most of the work here will be talking. Those of you that are veterans, no it is more about doing than talking. When folks gather for an outreach, they are either socializing, or fretting about all wondering if they will mess this up. Give them something to do. Here is way to encourage conversation, team building, and effective utilization of volunteers (if they are standing around they get bored then you will lose them). Let’s say you have 250 boxes of Coke Zero to move from the outreach shed into three SUV with ice and coolers waiting. Do not make the mistake you see above, where only three strapping young men heft the materials, walk it fifty yards or so, and load it.
Instead make a human chain. There is an art to this believe it or not. Look at the group of people you have meandering around and try to figure out how many you need to span the gap from the staging area to the truck. Next, arrange folks based on heigth and reach. Put them in a straight line from loading pile to target. Then, this is real important, have every other person turn and face the opposite direction. This will cause each person to be a “cog” in your human conveyor belt. They now face a partner. Now small boxes of just about anything (try to keep the weight under 15 lbs) will fly from one place to another via simple “pushing” of the object from one person to the next. Even better, since there is no twisting, bending, or lifting it will go smooth and easy. The nice thing about such an ergonomic system, is that it makes it easy for even kids to help out, and people can still have conversations with one another as they work since they are facing two people each.
Try it. . .you will slap your head after you see it work the first time and wonder why you didn’t do this earlier!