Volunteering Days: Tick-Box Exercise Or Crucial Perk?

Photo by The Tampa Bay Estuary Program

You see it on job adverts. You see it plastered across careers pages. But how committed to the idea of ‘volunteering days’ are brands really? Is it just another tick-box exercise, like the fun office or 4pm Friday finish? Or are they actually embracing the idea fully?

Like many businesses, we also offer volunteering days. Ten of them, to be precise – paid, every year. To make sure we’re not all talk either, we spoke to our Chief Sustainability Officer Dorian Zanker to get his thoughts on how we’re approaching it.

What’s your experience of volunteering days?

Mention volunteering, and most people think of a ‘pain-in-the-arse wasted day’ or of musty-smelling charity shops.

Obviously, those people need to stick their head out of their cave. But, nonetheless, businesses can be reticent to allow their team to volunteer during work time. With pressing deadlines, commercial challenges and ‘so much to do’, it can be hard to break that inward-looking perspective.

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Why should businesses embrace them?

Volunteering is such an amazing way to not only ‘give back’ but to also ‘gain’ at the same time. Over the years, I’ve been struck by how my colleagues, without fail, have thoroughly enjoyed the way it pulls them out of the day-to-day grind and helps them see things in a more rounded way. It gives them some perspective, allows them to bond with other colleagues who they get to see in a different light and, of course, helps a worthy cause.

Staff, the business, the charity, and everyone you meet along the way – they all gain from the activity. And many companies are now recognising it, as part of their growing ESG awareness.

Already offering volunteering days? You get a virtual pat on the back. Chapeau! Not yet offering them? Maybe give it a whirl. You won’t be disappointed.

What tips can you offer those considering something like this?

At Capsule, we proactively encourage our team members to get out volunteering and do whatever floats their boat. For it to work, everyone must be engaged – so we’re not prescriptive about the activity or cause.

We hope – okay, maybe expect – our team members to do at least two volunteering days a year. In fact, we’ll support them in taking up to 10 days off work (fully paid). To us, it’s part of our responsibility to the community. But it’s also key to the development of our team.

When you’re scaling up, it’s hard to sweat the small stuff too. But lock in your values (like giving back) from day one, and it’s so much easier to take them with you as you grow. The same goes for your cover. Talk to us about building an insurance programme that supports your ambitions, evolves as you do, and has your values at its heart.

Photo by Markus Winkler

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