Time off. We all want it. Some have it. And we'd venture a guess that not many people really make the most of it. Sure, the "ideal" way to spend your time off is subjective, to say the least. But based on this week's article, it seems more people are finding value in a new type of time off -- time off that might even be better for the soul.
No, that's not a typo -- VTO is the latest thing to hit employee benefits. To sum it up, VTO is when a company offers paid time off for its employees to volunteer with nonprofit organizations. Volunteer time off is usually paid and is tracked separately from sick days or vacation days and are offered with a use it or lose it policy.
Though some companies are a little more structured than others, typically VTO is done during set periods, with approved charities, and is completely voluntary. (Though we wouldn't want to be the one person who chose not to show up at a charity event.)
Is VTO a real thing? Or just a trend?
Oh, it's real. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), roughly 21% of American companies offer VTO. In turn, CECP says more than 60% of enterprise-level companies are making VTO a big part of their plans.
Why the sudden focus on philanthropy? Looking past the obvious "good press" and PR benefits, research shows that dedicated VTO leads to improvements in:
Recruitment of young, socially minded talent
That last part is particularly important. Considering that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of employees quitting their jobs is higher than ever, getting the best young talent to fill (and stay in) those roles is key. These younger employees are more likely to work for a company that is socially active and aware, making VTO a key benefit offering on multiple levels.
The article goes on to explain more statistics about companies that offer VTO as part of a regular benefits package, and even gives some easy ways to manage a VTO program in your own company.
As you read this on a Friday afternoon, possibly getting ready for a few days off, consider how your company allows you to use your time off, and whether or not it can be put to better use. With a dedicated VTO initiative, it might soon be easier to truly make the most of your time away from work.
Fridays (with Benefits)is a weekly roundup of the latest headlines about employee benefits -- from FSAs to fitness programs and everything workplace wellness. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.