Hosting a salad bar once a month or coordinating walking meetings clearly yield health benefits for your employees and your company. But there are more discrete ways to encourage healthiness in your work environment, such as volunteerism. The health benefits of altruistic activities range from reduced stress, which can have a significant impact on health, to the ultimate benefit of a longer life. Volunteerism:

  • Reduces stress and makes your employees happier
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases physical activity, especially for those who might otherwise be inactive
  • Lowers mortality rates
  • Expands time: People who volunteer their time feel they have more of it and tend to participate in the very things that will reinforce their long-term happiness, such as visiting with family and friends.
  • Motivates people: In one study, employees who volunteered with co-workers gained a work-ethic boost, were generally more devoted to current tasks, and reported feeling more capable.
  • Connects more people: They call them community projects for more than one reason – they tend to bring people together. This social connection can also lower depression symptoms.
  • Boosts the community’s health, too: For similar reasons, community work has a positive ripple effect on overall health and wellbeing.
  • Elevates your employees: Volunteering in a different capacity regularly introduces your employees to a new task and provides an opportunity for them to acquire a new skill.
  • Makes your company more amiable in the eyes of your workforce: More than 75 percent of employees who volunteer with their organization report feeling better about their employer because of the company’s involvement in a community service project.

Encourage your employees to donate time to improve health.

  • Plan a 5K walk/run. This activity marries health promotion with positive PR for your company.
  • Set up a healthy cook-off or cookout in your community. The best healthy recipe wins a prize!
  • Organize a day when your employees can participate in a city cleanup. If you think raking for an hour doesn’t burn calories, check out this resource!
  • Round up a one-time kickball event that raises funds for (insert organization of your choice). This would pair nicely with a wellness program physical activity challenge!
  • Gather some employees who are interested in urban farming. Your group can barter volunteering for an afternoon on a community farm (farm work is quality physical exercise) in exchange for fresh produce your employees can enjoy. This could be a bonus to participants in a wellness program fruit and veggie challenge.