One of the biggest barriers to getting employees engaged in your CSR efforts is that they simply “don’t have the time” to participate. Hogwash. According to new research published in Psychological Science and conducted by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard Business School and the Yale School of Management, when people volunteer, it actually makes them feel like they have more time in their days.
Feeling Like We Have 24+ Hours
What is it about volunteering our time that makes us feel we have more hours in the day? According the research article, titled “Giving Time Gives You Time,” helping others increases our feelings of time affluence. So even though we can’t expand the 24 hours we have each day, using our time to help others makes us feel highly effective and capable, translating to a more “full” and accomplished feeling in our day. And the more we feel accomplished and that we’ve done a lot with our time, the more time we feel we have.
Giving Time is Addictive
The research also found that giving time makes us more willing to commit to future engagements, despite busy schedules. Once we experience the “fullness” one can gain from volunteering time, we are more likely to give our time again in the future. So if companies can encourage employees to get started – perhaps through a company-organized event or signature day of service – individuals will be more likely to continue to serve local communities throughout the year.
Research in Action
So the next time you’re met with the complaint “I’d love to use my volunteer time off, but I just don’t have the time” share that giving time to others will actually help the person feel more accomplished, and that they have more time to devote to the tasks clogging their days.