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Charity work improves business leaders' wellbeing and skills

Business leaders who volunteer for charities are happier and see an increase in their workplace skills, according to research by business charity Pilotlight.

The survey of almost 150 business executives suggests 89% believe volunteering increases their happiness and wellbeing at work.

Additionally, 87% say their charity work has improved their awareness of alternative leadership styles, while 85% report that the work has helped with their coaching skills. Almost two-thirds (62%) say volunteering has increased their job satisfaction.

Dr Beth Breeze, director of the philanthropy centre at the University of Kent, said that there is a "wealth of research" highlighting the benefits of altruism.

"[They range] from physiological benefits to the cardiovascular and nervous system, to social benefits such as larger friendship groups, to ‘ultimate benefits' such as a greater sense of life satisfaction," she said.  

"Most volunteers intuitively know this to be true – while observers only see them giving, the volunteer is aware how much they are also receiving."

Morgan Stanley head of community affairs EMEA Emma Tamblingson explained that the company feels it is "important to broaden our charitable activities" by allowing staff to volunteer in their local communities.

"Our employees’ volunteer efforts not only make a significant contribution to the charities and communities, but it also helps to develop skills and experiences beyond their normal working day," she said.