Research has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to people dealing with higher levels of stress, anxiety, and a feeling of disconnect. Don’t believe me; just check out a few of the reports I have recently read in the list below. 

Right now, America is going through the “Great Resignation,” a time when many employees are throwing in the towel and quitting their steady job.  I was outside talking to my neighbors and two people had recently resigned; one more is seriously considering it, and another one is taking a leave from their company in hopes that some time out of the office will help him return and be able to cope with the current climate.

The reasons why people are deciding to jump ship vary.  I know people who have decided that life is too short to work for a company because it does not bring them joy. I know others who were also serving as their child’s teachers’ aid because their children were learning at home. It was just too many hats for them to wear, so their employee hat was the easier one to lose.  I know others who quit their jobs because their employers would not hire staff during the pandemic, but they continued to pour on more work.  In addition to learning new skills like running virtual events, they were picking up more responsibility. At the end of the day, most of the reasons are tied to being stressed, feeling disconnected, or trying to manage anxiety.

According to multiple research (see below for a sampling), volunteering helps people handle stress, gives people a renewed sense of purpose and a new outlook about their current situation. When someone is focused on taking care of someone else, they feel better about a grim situation that they are dealing with.

Volunteering……

 Increasing self-esteem. When you do good in your community, you feel a natural sense of accomplishment. You know that your inner good shows through.

Helps your physical health.  Research has shown that volunteers who give their time can lessen their blood pressure and cope with more chronic pain because they are not focused on what is happening in their bodies.

Makes you happier.  People are hard-wired to be communal and take care of others.  When you volunteer, your hormones release dopamine which makes you more joyful. 

Curves depression. When you are releasing dopamine and connecting with others, many people are able reduce their depression.

Able to relieve stress, anger, and anxiety. Making social contact can have a profound impact on one’s stress and anxiety. If you don’t believe me, just volunteer at an animal shelter and provide some love to our furry friends. Stress will melt away!

So now that you are aware that many of your employees need to volunteer to address their mental health, you may be asking, “how can I take care of my team?” The answer is Corporate volunteering.

Your social impact activities can be the key to keeping your team attached. Employees are more loyal to companies that engage them in the community. A PwC study identified that “Employees most committed to their organizations put in 57% more effort on the job—and are 87% less likely to resign—than employees who consider themselves disengaged.” If you can keep your employees engaged during this ‘work from home’ time frame, your company will not feel much of the effects of the “Great Resignation.”

Have your team leaders identify volunteer activities for their team to connect with the people they serve and their colleagues. These two connections will help their mental health and keep them engaged in your company.

If taking care of your employees is not enough reason to engage your employees in volunteer opportunities, here are some other reasons volunteer activities are good for your business.

Team Building.  When volunteering with their colleagues, employees create an emotional bond; they are more creative and build more trust.

Pride in the company. People who work for companies that give back to the community are prouder of their employers than those working for companies that only focus on profit. When their employers have a volunteer program, it demonstrates that the company cares about the employee’s families, neighbors, and community.

Commitment to the community.  Right now, society needs everyone’s help as we address various issues plaguing our community. Depending on your company’s values, pick a societal problem and address it. Whether it is food insecurity, healthcare disparity, racial tensions, or climate change, demonstrate the fact that your company is community-minded.

COVID Impact on employees
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7561673/
https://theindependentpanel.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Background-paper-9-Social-impact.pdf
https://futureofgood.co/article-collection/covid-19-and-it-effects-on-the-social-impact-world/
https://www2.deloitte.com/ua/en/pages/human-capital/articles/impact-of-covid-19.html

Volunteering good for people
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2020/07/29/volunteer-happy-mental-health/
https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_volunteering_can_help_your_mental_health
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/volunteering-may-be-good-for-body-and-mind-201306266428