It can be very easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day of life. You get up, get ready, go to work, go home. Maybe go out with friends or family every now and then. And with as much time as we spend at work, it ends up taking up a large portion of your time. Your work can be extremely fulfilling, and you can be very committed to it, but you still might feel like you want to be doing something…more, with the time that you have.
One way that companies are encouraging their employees to feel more fulfilled in their work life is by encouraging volunteering. And because it can sometimes be difficult to find time to volunteer around other day-to-day activities, some companies are even encouraging volunteer work during company time, as a team, or allowing team members to take a paid day off for volunteer work.
The truth is, volunteering can have significant benefits, both to you and to your community. It can help you learn new skills, or reduce stress. It can help employees connect to one another in a more relaxed environment, and make them feel like the company they’re with is concerned with the world outside the office. These are all things that should be encouraged by a good leader.
And by helping employees be engaged in volunteer work, you can help them be more engaged team members in general. According to a 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey of employed adults from ages 21 to 35, millennials who often take part in workplace volunteer activities are almost twice as likely “to be very satisfied with the progression of their career.” And happy, engaged employees are hardworking, efficient employees.
One other benefit of encouraging volunteer work as a company is, frankly, good PR. By engaging in social corporate responsibility, you can make your company more visible in the community, and foster a more positive association with your brand. If members of the community see that your company and/or its employees are out and about, trying to better that community, there’s a chance they will become customers. And that’s great for any business.
But, disregarding the possible gain when it comes to customers, there are also great benefits for a company that allows its employees to engage in more volunteer work when it comes to company culture. According to an article on Fast Company in 2014, in a UnitedHealth Group study, 87% of people who volunteered in the previous year reported that volunteering helped develop teamwork and people skills, and 81% said volunteering together strengthened relationships among colleagues. That’s a phenomenal return on investment of time and resources, and those are the sort of results leaders should always seek out.
So consider encouraging volunteer work among your staff. Maybe take part in established volunteer day initiatives, such as Earth Day activities. Or even come up with your own volunteer initiative tailored to your company — like LinkedIn did with their InDay, a program that allows employees one Friday a month to give back to the community in some way.
There are countless companies out there for both clients and potential employees to choose from. Why not help yours stand out as one that wants to do just a little bit more when it comes to contributing to your community?