14 September 2006
by Adharanand Finn
Most employees say they would prefer to work for a company that allows its staff time off to volunteer, new research in the UK has found.
According to a survey of UK businesses out today by Community Service Volunteers' Make a Difference Day and Barclays, 92% of employees say that they would rather work for a company with an employee volunteering scheme.
Volunteering is also good for staff morale, according to the research. It found that 90% of employees feel that volunteering has improved morale in the workplace, while around 59% feel it makes them more energised and productive at work.
Employers also concur with the findings, with 85% of companies saying volunteering helps with productivity, while 42% of firms say that volunteering schemes help reduce the number of staff sick days.
Alastair Camp, the 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."
According to the survey, the most popular form of volunteering is supporting young people. Around 39% of respondents say they would like to help young people with numeracy, career options or mentoring. This was closely followed by environmental work (35%).
At the other end of the scale, however, only 3% of respondents say they would like to volunteer in hospitals, while just 7% say they would like to volunteer with young offenders.
CSV Make a Difference Day manager, Claire Ghoussoub, said: "It's really encouraging to see so many people dedicated to supporting young people and improving the environment. However we would also like to encourage more public sector employers to open their doors more widely to increase volunteering opportunities in hospitals, prisons and social services."