How to Make Volunteerism Part of Your Work Wellness Initiatives

Are you looking for ways to improve your employees’ well-being and increase participation in your employee wellness program? If so, you might want to consider adding altruism to your workplace wellness mix. That’s right. Giving is good for your employees. Really good.

When you support your employees’ volunteer activities, you’re also supporting four key pillars of a comprehensive workplace wellness program–emotional, social, mental, and physical wellness.

In the article, Health Benefits of Volunteering, the editors at CreatetheGood.org write that volunteering can counteract the effects of depression and loneliness, improve cognitive function, reduce stress levels, and boost the volunteer’s mood through the release of dopamine into the brain. Volunteering gives your employees the opportunity to engage with their community and feel good about themselves.

Plus, engaging in volunteering, donating to charity and other altruistic acts is good for your employees’ physical well-being. In his article for Scientific American, Frank Martela reports that volunteering can lower the volunteer’s blood pressure and that regular volunteer work is a predictor of longevity. How amazing is that?

So how can you make volunteerism a part of your workplace wellness culture?

Here are four of our favorite tips.

Give them the gift of time.

One of the best things you can do to encourage volunteerism by your employees is to give them time to volunteer. Offering employees paid time off to do volunteer work is an easy and effective way to help your employees spend more time giving to others. You might even consider allowing employees to work a four-day week to allow them to spend one day a week helping others. The 2017 Giving in Numbers report notes that volunteer programs that offer employees scheduling flexibility have strong participation rates. The rates of participation are even better when flexible scheduling is paired with paid time off.

Offer an altruistic incentive.

One of the benefits of volunteering is the emotional boost volunteers get from giving with no expectation of gain, so offering direct incentives to employees who volunteer may defeat the purpose. Instead, try offering a company-wide prize such as a picnic or other event to celebrate everyone’s volunteer efforts. Or, use a dollars for doers program to match the value of your employee’s donated time with a financial contribution to their charity.

Make it a date.

Want to let your employees know that you are serious about volunteering? Put a company-wide day of service on the corporate calendar. Partner with local non-profit organizations or let employees choose their own way to give on a dedicated day each year or–even better–each quarter. Promote these days of service in your company-wide communications and infuse your company culture with the spirit of giving.

Streamline the introductions.

You can help your community and improve your employees’ well-being by leveraging your company resources to help volunteers and organizations in need find one another. Bring your employees and your local community service organizations together by hosting an on-site volunteer fair. You can make it extra fun and healthy by hosting a farmer’s market or health fair at the same time. While you’re at it, why not invite the public and make it a real community-building event!

To facilitate volunteering year-round, partner with your local service organizations to match employees to their volunteer needs. Cybergrants suggests hosting volunteer information on your company website as one of its 10 Steps for Starting an Employee Volunteer Program.

Holistic wellness programs that address employees’ emotional, physical, mental, social, and financial well-being continue to gain in popularity every year. These programs serve not only to lower employer’s healthcare costs but also to aid in recruiting and retaining top talent. In 2017, SHRM reported that 79 percent of the employers it surveyed offered their employees volunteer opportunities.

Have you made volunteerism a part of your workplace wellness initiative? If not, there’s no time like the present to get started for the benefit of your organization, your employees, and your community.

We’d love to show you how we’re using volunteerism to help improve the lives of your employees and community. If you want to learn how to get started, follow this link and fill out our easy form. Want to reach us directly? You go it! Just call 503-512-5175.

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