Mental wellness is as important as physical health and wellness. Juggling between multiple responsibilities is one of the primary reasons for employees to not having a proper work-life balance, leading to stress, depression, and other mental concerns. This not only affects employee health, but also increases healthcare costs and impacts organizational productivity.
- What if there were simple ways to boost employee health and mental wellness?
- What if there is an easy way to enhance employee satisfaction and morale?
- What if there are ways to make their world a happy and better place to live in?
If there was one solution to all these queries, would you include it to your corporate wellness programs?
Well, the good news is – there is one such thing that can effortlessly help employees boost their mental wellness and it can be easily implemented through your corporate wellness programs.
It is Volunteering – a simple, non-strenuous, and easy act of helping and caring for others.
Why Have Volunteering As A Part Of Your Employee Wellness Programs?
There is enough evidence proving that holistic wellness is more than just physical health. Ideally, holistic wellness dimensions encompass various life aspects, including physical, mental, financial, social, and occupational areas. And, volunteering could leave a positive impact on almost each one of these areas.
There are many documented reports proving that volunteers have a relatively better physical health than the non-volunteers. Another study reported that older people who were volunteering for a minimum of 200 years annually had 40% lesser risk of acquiring high blood pressure. Reports also suggest that volunteers who suffer with chronic pain conditions reported reduced pain after a series of volunteering activities.
Emotional and Mental Wellbeing
A study by University of Exeter, UK, revealed that people who volunteered reported relatively less stress and depression, more satisfied with their lives, and had an overall better wellbeing when compared to the non-volunteers.
Boosting Morale and Confidence
With time, people have started craving to have and serve a purpose in their lives. Right from the baby boomer generation to the millennials and Gen Z, most people ensure they act or work with a purpose. Volunteering is known to give a wellness boost to such people who find happiness and satisfaction by helping others and other humanitarian acts.
Humans are naturally social animals, and all of us feel connected to others and the broader living community. Today’s busy lifestyles have disconnected employees from the outside social world as they are stuck in their work bubble. Through volunteering, employees can get out of this bubble to have a better social life and work-life balance. They feel less lonely or isolated, and gives them a sense of fulfillment.
How to Incorporate Volunteering Into Your Workplace Wellness Programs?
The primary goal of corporate wellness programs is to boost employee health and wellness, apart from boosting employee engagement, workplace culture, and growing the business. Incorporating volunteer programs to the employee wellness programs will not only help in improving mental wellness, but can also reduce employee turnover rates and recruit skilled talent.
Since the millennials are more likely to work with employers who drive a purpose, studies show that they are more likely to keep working productively and honestly for their employers who offer volunteering programs as a part of their workplace wellness programs.
Here is how employers can integrate volunteering programs into their corporate wellness programs –
- Know Your Employee Interests – Employees are not likely to participate or appreciate forced actions or activities. Volunteering is also supposed to be an activity where the employees are willing to participate by themselves to help others and to reap the wellness benefits of volunteering. Employers can conduct employee engagement surveys, hold discussions, and have meetings with team leaders or managers to know employee interests and support them with their cause.
- Set The Tone For The Program – Employers can organize a working day for volunteer services and set the tone to help the employees gain exposure to the program. Be it organizing food at a non-profit, or cleaning up public spots, make sure your employees are comfortable doing it. Owing to the COVID-29 outbreak, many employees are working remotely and are following social distancing norms. At such times, encourage volunteering by having your employees offer online tutorials, teaching sessions, or talk for a crisis line.
- Acknowledge Their Efforts – Giving due credit and acknowledging the efforts put by employees will encourage them to do better. Offer rewards or incentives for participation in the volunteering programs, appreciate their efforts in team meetings, and respect their dedication. Make sure it is wholehearted appreciation. More importantly, do not make it a chore to them, else the employees might lose interest.
Volunteering should be self-decision and it should not be imposed at the workplace. While some may already be volunteering for different organizations outside work, some employees may prefer spending that time with their friends and family. At the end of the day, it is all about volunteering for something that is good for mental wellness.