We love sharing inspiring content, especially about volunteering and its positive effects on individuals and organizations. The following is a gently edited blog post by RealizedWorth from Kate Rubin, Vice President of UnitedHealth Group and President of UnitedHealth Foundation. We hope you enjoy this research on how volunteering can improve your health.
For organizations like UnitedHealth Group, building healthier communities is part of our mission. We’ve invested in research that demonstrates how volunteering is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. In our Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study, we learned that people who volunteer feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. Doing good is, indeed, good for you! Here are the findings:
Volunteering Makes a Difference
People who volunteered in the past 12 months told us volunteering has made them feel physically healthier and there was an even stronger connection between volunteering and mental health.Volunteers in the study provided higher ratings than non-volunteers on nine well-established measures of emotional well-being, which included overall satisfaction with life, personal independence, and capacity for rich interpersonal relationships. Participants also cited that volunteering improved their mood and self-esteem! Other benefits like lower stress levels can be viewed in the diagram below:
It’s true: volunteering makes us feel better. And while we’re feeling better, other people who benefit from our volunteer efforts feel better, too. Everybody wins!
Employers Get Healthier, Too
Throughout our research, we found that employees who volunteer through company sponsored events are up to 24% more engaged in their work than employees who do not volunteer. It is well-documented that engaged employees deliver more value to an organization, demonstrating that investing in volunteering programs in the workplace can deliver a real return on the investment. Results show that the health impacts of volunteering also cascade into the workplace. Healthier employees bring increased productivity and lower health care costs. Many employers recognize that employees who volunteer are less stressed, more engaged and develop stronger work related and “people” skills.
There’s more: job skills and employee attitudes toward colleagues and employers are also enhanced, particularly for employers who actively enable and encourage volunteering among their employees. Whether you are talking about functional job skills or interpersonal team-building skills, volunteering provides an opportunity for employees to learn and develop skills that make them more proficient and effective in the workplace.
Volunteering supports healthier individuals, healthier communities, and healthier employers. It’s a win-win scenario that can be seized by individuals and businesses alike. Doing good is good for all of us!
Additional information on the healthy benefits of volunteering, including the full Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study can be found here.