As we stood in a semicircle listening to instructions for our Volunteer Day, I felt complete pride, and even though I only knew the rest of the team for two weeks — I felt a synergy and bond for something greater than ourselves.
By combining volunteering with coworkers, you’ll develop stronger relationships in the workplace. Extensive research shows that when employees come together to help others, they help themselves by developing strong work relationships.
The value of coworkers volunteering together can’t be underestimated. Throughout the corporate sphere, there’s a rising interest in philanthropy. According to the Giving in Numbers survey, a formal employee-volunteer program is one that seeks to motivate and enable employees to volunteer under the employer’s sponsorship.
You’re bonding as you build a shed, clean a trail, or help at a local children’s center. When I joined my fellow coworkers to help children at a local daycare, we finger painted, pinned the nose on the snowman, and sang holiday tunes as the children danced to our haphazard musical ensemble. It definitely didn’t feel like work, more like play, and the upshot was many smiling faces.
Here are six benefits associated with volunteering with coworkers:
When employees volunteer together the walls of corporate hierarchy and departmental barriers tend to fall away. Picture this, you’re mixing cement and digging holes to build a playground for a local children’s shelter and your boss is mixing the cement as you add the water. You’re immediately placed on an even playing field and given an opportunity to develop a stronger bond with coworkers you might otherwise not associate with.
Volunteering can be addictive. Have you ever heard of “helper's high”? Endorphins are released when helping others and will continue to release when you think about the altruistic experience. During all-hands meetings, leadership can recall and remind employees of previous or upcoming volunteer opportunities. There’s a benefit in just recalling and remembering a company-sponsored volunteer day.
Beyond the benefits you’re providing those in need, you’re building your brand. Volunteering brings to mind compassion, trustworthiness, loyalty, and supportiveness. Who wouldn’t want to be associated with those values? As you care for others, you’re representing your company. Your company takes on those values you represent with your dedication to volunteering.
Helping others decreases stress, which helps you in the workplace. There’s enough stress to go around in the workplace; one can offset that stress with volunteering. A study by the Unitedhealth Group reveals that:
Volunteering enhances loyalty, happiness, and pride, which means you can lower your burnt-out factor and increase the possibility for a promotion or pay raise. Plus, people want to be surrounded by positivity and doing good work.
Strangely enough and perhaps counterintuitively, volunteering makes you feel like you have more time. When you slow down to help others, time slows down, and you feel like you’ve gained a few hours instead of losing hours. A study conducted by Cassie Mogilner found that when we volunteer, we feel more capable, confident, and useful. In a nutshell, you’ve accomplished something positive, and you’re confident you can again in the future.
Volunteering with coworkers has far-reaching benefits for both individuals and for the organizational culture as a whole. To bring volunteerism into the fold of your company, visit volunteermatch, a website that connects people to volunteer opportunities within your community.