Employee Volunteering: 5 Mental Health Benefits of Helping Others
Giving back to others can positively impact your employees’ mental health and overall well-being. In fact, there is a direct link between volunteering and psychological and physical health.
In this article, we’ll explore the correlation between volunteering and mental health. We’ll also list out five mental health benefits of giving back and present charitable team-building activities that can help you engage your employees in volunteering.
Volunteering Should Be Enjoyable
However, you shouldn’t force your employees to participate in volunteering activities that they dislike. Instead, encourage them to choose volunteer opportunities based on what they’re interested in, not what others think they should do.
If some of your employees enjoy hiking, cleaning up a local hiking trail in the woods near their home or office might be right up their alley. An employee who loves animals might be more invested emotionally and physically in helping out an animal shelter rather than donating money to an environmental cause.
When you encourage teammates to help others in a way that’s also enjoyable for them, this creates feelings of satisfaction, accomplishment, and community that you can’t match with simple job responsibilities.
5 Mental Health Benefits of Helping Others
The positive effects of volunteering are felt almost immediately. Volunteers feel happier and more relaxed when they focus on other people’s needs instead of their own.
These effects are stronger and longer-lasting in those who consistently give their time or expertise, but even occasional altruism can be an excellent mood booster.
Here’s a list of the five most significant mental health benefits of helping others.
1. Gives a Sense of Purpose
According to research done by the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, volunteering can help people overcome depression. This study concluded that the most probable reason for the improvement is that people are more sociable when they volunteer.
Loneliness and isolation are known causes of depression, as is futility. Most of us get into a funk and spend time stressing out over work and paying our bills on time. In doing so, we forget to take time to enjoy life, which can lead to depression.
Through volunteering, we discover a deeper meaning of life that helps us rid ourselves of negative emotions. It can be difficult to do good things for yourself. But when you’re in a position to do something good for others, you’re more likely to follow through with it.
2. Creates a Sense of Belonging
Volunteering can help eliminate or at least subdue feelings of isolation and loneliness. People who move to a new city to pursue a career often feel these emotions more strongly. And due to Covid-19 social distancing rules and work-from-home policies, feelings of alienation have only intensified.
Helping others can make employees feel like they belong to a purpose-driven group of like-minded people. Since everyone on the volunteer team is invested in the same cause, they naturally talk to and engage with each other as they progress with their activities.
Having common interests also creates a sense of community and camaraderie among volunteers. This sense of belonging helps develop feelings of happiness and contentment that replace those of isolation.
3. Increases Happiness
A study by the Journal of Social Psychology demonstrated that people who give to others feel happier. In the experiment, one group was encouraged to do something good for someone else for ten days, the other was told to do something new, and the third group wasn’t given any specific instructions.
The results confirmed that the participants who practiced acts of kindness reported having more feelings of happiness compared to the other two groups. An obvious conclusion is that people feel happier when they know they’ve positively impacted someone’s life, by either donating money, volunteering their time, or sharing their skills and expertise.
4. Boosts Self-Confidence
Being generous and helping those in need is an excellent way to boost self-confidence. In addition to that, people who give back or volunteer also achieve higher levels of self-worth. These traits are essential for those in leadership positions.
Employees who volunteer are also eager to take on new responsibilities or become more productive in their current positions. These types of individuals can be instrumental in spreading the volunteering spirit within the company and helping lead new volunteers.
5. Reduces Stress
Volunteering is also known to reduce stress. Relieving work-related tension in a healthy and purposeful way is crucial to preventing burnout and decreases in productivity.
Even employees who love their job need a mental and physical break from time to time. By encouraging team members to refocus their attention from work to a meaningful cause, they will naturally feel more energized and less stressed out.
How Can You Encourage Your Employees to Volunteer?
Team building events are a proven way to increase creativity and collaboration, build trust, and foster open communication among employees. When combined with volunteering opportunities, charitable team-building can also deliver mental health benefits.
There are hundreds of ways to make your team-building initiative more fun and engaging, whether in a strictly virtual environment or in settings that combine virtual and live in-person experiences.
Ideas for Charitable Team Building Activities
A charitable team-building activity like the Do Good Bus from TeamBonding is the perfect way to rally your team behind a humanitarian cause. By hopping on the Do Good Bus, your team will participate in activities that directly impact the environment, benefit those in need, or help four-legged creatures living among us.
Helping Hands is another example of an engaging charitable team-building activity that will encourage your employees to practice good communication, strategic thinking, and risk-taking. In this activity, teams have to work together to build kits of useful supplies, such as:
- Homeless Care Kits
- Disaster Relief Kits
- Back-to-School Kits
- Teddy Bear Kits
- COVID Feel Better Kits
- Soldier Kits
If you want to honor our servicemen and servicewomen, consider participating in Operation Military Care. This charitable team-building activity will give your employees a rare opportunity to create care packages for soldiers who are rarely or have never been on the receiving end of kindness.
These are just some of the ways TeamBonding can help you unite the entire team behind a meaningful cause while also fostering mental health at work. Contact us today and discover how TeamBonding can help make your next charitable team-building activity an unforgettable experience.