In the past couple of years, the worksite wellness industry has talked a lot about having the right “culture”. A positive wellness culture in the workplace contributes to the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of workers. It takes an integrated approach to wellbeing that includes not only our physical health, but our emotional health, our sense of purpose, our connections to our community and our overall quality of life.
One area to consider when expanding your wellness offerings is volunteering. One aspect of wellbeing is that tends to be overlooked is community wellbeing – engagement and involvement in one’s community. More and more employers are realizing that volunteering can help a person’s overall wellbeing. According to a UnitedHealth Group study, 76% of people who volunteered in the last 12 months say volunteering has made them feel healthier, and 94% say that it improves their mood. Companies are giving their employees opportunities to give back to their communities through any number of initiatives and they are reaping the benefits of happier, healthier workers.
Volunteering stands out as an activity that has all the right stuff. We’ve known for a long time that the hours and resources that individuals contribute through volunteer efforts make our communities better places. What this research from the UnitedHealth Group affirms is that there is a lot more: volunteering makes people feel better. Individuals who volunteer tend to be more active and engaged in their communities and in their health. Additionally, employers can play a significant role in allowing volunteering (see “Time Off for Volunteering”), and enjoy real benefits as a result.