Forget the apple a day – new research by volunteering organisation CSV and Barclays reveals that employees who are given the chance to do something different can have lower sickness rates.
The survey found that 42 per cent of employers who allow staff time off work to volunteer said it helped reduce staff sick days, while one in six employees said they felt healthier after taking part in volunteer programmes.
The research, which builds on findings from 2005, also looks at how employee volunteering helps with recruitment, retention and staff morale.
Key findings include:
- 92 per cent of employees say that they would prefer to work for a company with an employee volunteering project than one that doesn’t.
- 90 per cent of employees feel that employee volunteering has improved staff morale.
- Around 59 per cent of employees feel volunteering makes them feel more energised and productive at work.
- 42 per cent say they are less likely to leave a job where there is an employee volunteering scheme.
The survey also questioned employers’ perception of the benefits of volunteering. All the representatives of the companies surveyed felt that volunteering helps staff morale and with recruitment.
- 85 per cent of employers feel employee volunteering helps with productivity.
- 28 per cent of employers feel that employee volunteering helps with staff retention.
Alastair Camp, director of corporate responsibility at Barclays said: “These figures show how big business is really catching on to the virtues of volunteering.
“Billions of pounds are lost to the UK economy each year through absenteeism. Volunteering can help reduce the number of sick days and increase business productivity, as well as produce happier and healthier staff. Overall, the saving to business could be enormous.
“At Barclays, volunteering is a core part of our culture – in 2005, over 26,000 Barclays’ employees took part in fundraising or volunteering community activities, which we believe has a knock-on, positive impact on our own business.”
According to CSV, the most popular form of volunteering is supporting young people. Around 39 per cent of respondents say they want to volunteer to help young people with numeracy, career options or mentoring.
This was closely followed by environmental work. Around 35 per cent of respondents say they want to help improve the environment through volunteering – although this option is more popular with men than women who prefer to work with the young or the old.
- CSV Make a Difference Day, supported by Barclays, is the largest single day of ‘hands-on’ volunteering in the UK and takes place on Saturday 28 October. For more information visit www.csv.org.uk/difference