Looking for a fun new workplace activity? Do some good.

We’re busy, and so are you. We know it’s important to give back to our communities. We look admiringly at those people we know who are phenomenally involved; they seem to do it all – serve on nonprofit boards, chair fundraising events, volunteer at the local food bank and use their social media accounts to spread the word about great organizations. Sometimes we’re jealous of those people. They’re probably also the same people who manage to work out four times a week and cook healthy meals at home. (You know the type.) We also want to work in a happy, healthy office environment. We want to feel fulfilled in our lives and in our jobs, and here’s the thing: the two can go hand-in-hand. Workplaces can kill two birds with one stone: according to the 2010 “Do Good, Live Well” study commissioned by United Healthcare, volunteering boosts both employee morale and health (by 92 and 96 percent, respectively).

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 Besides the obvious benefit to the community, why is volunteering with your coworkers a good idea? For starters… … Everyone wants to work for the good guys. Giving back to the community as a group not only encourages employee bonding, but it also solidifies the company’s values and beliefs. This is particularly important for companies with a youthful workforce. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Cone, Inc. and AMP Insights, 61 percent of those ages 13 to 25 feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world. Depending on the company’s corporate mission, employees can suggest and choose among a variety of nonprofits that align with their employer’s mission statement. Work in healthcare? Investigate organizations that look to alleviate the suffering associated with disease. Education? Perhaps you could mentor a child and gain a new lease on life. Which brings us to the next point… … Employees can gain new perspectives and skills. One of the three principles Steve Jobs used to drive Apple’s unprecedented success was empathy. Volunteering creates a sense of connection to those around you that can be all too easy to lose sitting at a desk all day.  Truist put it best:

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“By looking at the world through a different lens and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, you can gain valuable insight into how your products or services affect others, the issues that matter most to your customers, and how you can play a role in strengthening your community.” Volunteering gives workers an opportunity to exercise skills they may not use every day around the office or even develop new ones. Shy folks who may not be comfortable networking in a room full of strangers may feel more at ease in a volunteering environment and then naturally put those experiences to use in their day-to-day routine. Perhaps one of the most powerful reasons for employees to volunteer is… … You build brands advocates. Employers and managers know that the quality of their employees’ work is crucial to the success of the company. But, employees can be so much more than just workers. A companies’ employees can be its most vocal supporters or, in some cases, its harshest critics. At 20K Group, we talk a lot about “waterproofing brands.” What better place to start then from within? Fulfilled, happy employees will do so much more for your company than just produce good work, and all takes is putting a little good out and taking a whole lot in. When you’re ready to the take your company outing beyond happy hours, step over to our National Volunteer Week post  for a list of resources to kickstart your company’s volunteering initiative, whether it’s at the national or local level.

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