Google is often mentioned for it’s ‘20% time’ where its employees are allowed to spend up to twenty percent of their time working on a side project. Google justifies this through case studies such as gmail which came out of a side project and became one of it’s core offerings. They say it’s one of the things that helps them to remain an innovative company.

But I think the majority of other companies would have a hard time justifying this, and charities would certainly struggle to explain to their supporters why the people that work for it are only delivering to 80% of their capacity and are spending time working on things that ‘might’ pay-off in the future. So, I have a different take on it. Something called ‘Greater Good Time’.

Greater Good Time is about colleagues at charities helping to deliver extra value in existing projects. It’s about making current things better, rather than coming up with future possibilities. It’s about recognising that people have skills and knowledge outside of their day job that can be of benefit to the charity, and if those people are given the opportunity to spread their abilities to other teams, everyone benefits.

If a colleague has skills, knowledge or experience that might help a project be better than it would have been if the colleague didn’t contribute, then there is almost a moral responsibility for that colleague to be part of that project, even though it isn’t part of their day job. Delivering more value for supporters with limited resources is something almost every charity wants to do, and Greater Good Time is a way of doing that.