When coworkers volunteer together, magic happens. We all know how awesome volunteering is—for your community, yes, but also for you. People who donate their time to a good cause routinely report feeling happier, healthier, more fulfilled, and way less stressed. This is why volunteering makes good business sense, too! Combining volunteering with coworking ultimately results in stronger work relationships and a more positive workplace environment.
Regardless of what activity you decide to do with your team—whether it’s planting trees, serving meals at a soup kitchen, or collecting supplies to donate to your local homeless shelter—there are some serious benefits to making volunteering part of your company culture. Here are five of them:
BUILD MEANINGFUL BONDS.
Sometimes, it can be challenging to connect with coworkers on a more personal level—hey, it’s no one’s fault; being in a work-driven environment (especially if it’s one with crazy-intense deadlines and long, stressful hours) will do that. Volunteering can help you build more meaningful relationships with your coworkers or employees, though, because taking part in an off-work activity together (especially one that’s focused on giving back to the community in some way) bonds people on a deeper, molecular level. Hierarchies and work-related tensions tend to fall away, and everyone’s just happy to be doing good together: This is the stuff that awesome workplace friendships are made of.
REDUCE YOUR STRESS LEVELS.
Anyone who’s committed to a volunteer activity, whether it’s long-term or just for the day, knows: Doing good for others works wonders when it comes to decreasing stress—we’re talking actually lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk of depression here. Even the chillest workplaces can be stressful at times, so it’s important to know how to decompress, and volunteering is a fantastic way to do just that.
IMPROVE YOUR BRAND.
Being socially conscious is on-trend for virtually any company; in fact, striving to make a collective social impact has become an important part of company cultures all over the world. In other words: It’s cool to give back, and it’s really cool to be compassionate! Your brand will shine if you make volunteering part of the fabric of your business, and others will recognize your company as thoughtful, conscientious, and trustworthy.
STAND OUT AS A LEADER.
Volunteering can give people the opportunity to step into leadership roles, perhaps sooner than they’d be able to in the workplace. This is a great confidence booster, and a wonderful way for employees to demonstrate certain skills they may not get the chance to otherwise.
GET HAPPY AND HEALTHY.
By volunteering, you can actually become a happier, healthier employee. It’s a cycle—giving back to the community is one of the most fulfilling experiences a person can have, so this kind of fulfillment is bound to lead to increased workplace productivity and feeling happier at work (and happier in other areas of your life, too!) Volunteering with your coworkers has far-reaching benefits for your personal happiness levels, your health, and for your company as a whole.
Justine Harrington is a freelance journalist, essayist, and copywriter for travel and lifestyle brands based in Austin. Her work has appeared in Fodor’s, Backpacker, USA Today, the Austin-American Statesman, Austin Monthly, Austin Woman, Misadventures Magazine, and elsewhere.