Workplace volunteering increases five-fold post pandemic

Just over half of employees are reporting their bosses have organised workplace volunteering opportunities for them over the last year, research has found.

This is a five-fold increase on the one in ten helping their staff to give up their time for good causes before the Covid pandemic.

But the research has found that employers are failing to keep up with demand from staff for volunteering, with more than nine in ten calling on their bosses to do more to promote volunteering opportunities.

Among those surveyed for the research almost a quarter did not know how much time their employer allowed for volunteering. A similar proportion of staff members organise their own volunteering.

But “for many this acts as a barrier as they do not have time to both participate and organise the volunteering”, according to Works4U, which has carried out the research.

The social enterprise which supports businesses and communities to work together, also found a wide variety of times that bosses allowed for volunteering opportunities.

Two in five said there were given one day a year to volunteers, a third had two days, while almost one in six had three days.

Just 3% had four days allocated to volunteer a year, however, almost one in ten said that the equivalent of five days or more is available to staff but only on a case-by-case basis.

In addition, the research found that only around half of workers volunteered outside of work already.

Three quarters of workers rate the impact of volunteering highly, according to the research’s survey, which involved responses from 546 workers.

“This is a positive trend as impact of employee volunteering is a key metric and sometimes businesses can lose this focus with other indicators,” said Works4U.

‘The results of the survey and interviews we carried out are quite revealing,” said the social enterprise’s chief executive Dominic Pinkney.

“It is so great to see the level of employer organised volunteering increasing but fascinating that this is still far behind the expectations of employees.

“There has been a shift in perception of volunteering by employees, changing from being a nice to have, to being seen very much as a business-as-usual activity but not all employers have caught up.”

Research published by think tank Pro Bono Economics for business volunteering charity Pilotlight last month, found that between 17m and 21m workers do not have access to workplace volunteering.

This estimates workplace volunteering could be worth as much as £6.4bn to the UK economy, through boosting workers’ wellbeing and increasing productivity.

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