Three-quarters of volunteers say volunteering has made them feel physically healthier and lowered their levels of stress, according to a study released by United Health Group and the Optum Institute.
The study also illustrates that employers benefit from employees who volunteer in terms of better employee health and in professional skills development that employees use in the workplace.
Among those who’ve volunteered in the past 12 months, 78% say it has lowered their stress. Moreover, volunteers are more likely than other adults to report that they felt calm and peaceful most of the time, and that they had a lot of energy during that same time frame.
In addition to physical and mental health benefits, employees who volunteer say doing so has helped them learn valuable business skills. Sixty-four percent of employees who currently volunteer said that volunteering with work colleagues has strengthened their relationships.
“We know the lone wolf isn’t the kind of person that makes it in today’s world,” says Kate Rubin, vice president of social responsibility with United Health Group. “Working on a volunteering [project] helps build stronger relationships with colleagues and helps build that collaboration muscle.”
Top 10 Reasons to Volunteer
Thinking of becoming a volunteer? See a list of reasons that will help you make up your mind.
#10: It’s good for you.
Volunteering provides physical and mental rewards. It:
- Reduces stress:Experts report that when you focus on someone other than yourself, it interrupts usual tension-producing patterns.
- Makes you healthier:Moods and emotions, like optimism, joy, and control over one’s fate, strengthen the immune system.
#9: It saves resources.
Volunteering provides valuable community services so more money can be spent on local improvements.
- The estimated value of a volunteer’s time is $15.39 per hour.
#8: Volunteers gain professional experience.
You can test out a career.
#7: It brings people together.
As a volunteer you assist in:
- Uniting people from diverse backgrounds to work toward a common goal
- Building camaraderie and teamwork
#6: It promotes personal growth and self esteem.
Understanding community needs helps foster empathy and self-efficacy.
#5: Volunteering strengthens your community.
As a volunteer you help:
- Support families (daycare and eldercare)
- Improve schools (tutoring, literacy)
- Support youth (mentoring and after-school programs)
- Beautify the community (beach and park cleanups)
#4: You learn a lot.
Volunteers learn things like these:
- Self:Volunteers discover hidden talents that may change your view on your self worth.
- Government:Through working with local non-profit agencies, volunteers learn about the functions and operation of our government.
- Community:Volunteers gain knowledge of local resources available to solve community needs.
#3: You get a chance to give back.
People like to support community resources that they use themselves or that benefit people they care about.
#2: Volunteering encourages civic responsibility.
Community service and volunteerism are an investment in our community and the people who live in it.
#1: You make a difference.
Every person counts!
To access your AWP EAP services, call 1-800-343-3822. Your EAP is here to help with family, work, health and legal issues. EAP Services are provided at no cost and are 100% confidential.
Alliance Work Partners is a professional service of Workers Assistance Program, Inc.
Copyright © 2016 Workers Assistance Program, Inc