26 March 2024

Volunteering boosts productivity and employee wellbeing

New research estimates that employee volunteering leads to productivity gains worth at least £4.6 billion and is the key to boosting employee wellbeing

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New research from Pro Bono Economics (PBE), commissioned by national volunteering charity Royal Voluntary Service shows that employer-led volunteering is not only good for recruitment, retention and wellbeing, it actually boosts productivity and pay. The report estimates that employee volunteering leads to productivity gains worth at least £4.6 billion each year, or £4,551 per volunteer.

Based on the insights, PBE and Royal Voluntary Service have proposed a series of policy recommendations to support the benefits of volunteering to individuals, society and the wider economy. These include:

- Given the positive effects on productivity, there should be a collective effort to expand employee volunteering opportunities across the entire workforce, enabling everyone at work to benefit whatever their role
- Volunteering has been shown to have positive effects for the volunteers, the beneficiaries, communities and society as a whole; the government should show its full support for volunteering and invest in an activity which contributes to the nation’s prosperity
- The voluntary sector should continue to develop more flexible volunteering opportunities to enable wider participation around work commitments

Download 'A pro bono bonus: The impact of volunteering on wages and productivity'

Another piece of research - by William Fleming at the Wellbeing Research Centre at the University of Oxford - has also found that many wellbeing interventions by employers fail to improve mental wellbeing. There is, however, one notable exception — when companies support their workforce around the option of volunteering. According to Fleming, "volunteering is the only type of intervention to suggest positive effects on workers’ wellbeing."

Download 'Estimating effects of individual-level workplace mental wellbeing interventions: Cross-sectional evidence from the UK'

How can companies get involved in Chapter One?

Chapter One’s virtual, time-efficient, flexible model for volunteering will enhance your company’s employee value proposition, whilst fulfilling CSR or social value commitments around education, social mobility and inclusion. Employees can:

- volunteer online directly from their desks with no travel

- make a direct impact on the lives of children facing disadvantage

- support local communities across the UK

- improve their own well-being by helping others

- reconnect with your company’s social purpose

If you’re interested in joining us, we’d love to hear from you! You’ll find out who we currently work with on our partners’ page. You can contact us here or email sarah.taylor@chapterone.org.