Organizations in the US providing time off to allow employees to volunteer garner a much more positive perception among their employees than companies that do not prioritize giving back. Of those workers surveyed, 37 percent report a more positive perception of their employer; and workers who volunteered their time have a mental health score of 73.8, compared 68.7 for those who do not volunteer – a 5.1 margin.*
This month’s Mental Health Index score is 71.1 out of 100, remaining unchanged from May 2023. More than one in five workers (21 percent) are aware their mental health is having a negative impact on their work productivity.
Volunteerism supports improved mental health
Nearly half (47 percent) of workers have volunteered their time or finances in the last two years; this group had a mental health score of 73.8, more than 2 points above the national average, and an optimism score of 74.8 compared to the national optimism average of 72. The mental health score of workers with a positive perception of their employer as a result of offered time off to volunteer is 75.9, nearly five points higher than the national average. Those who have not volunteered their time or finances in the last two years had a mental health score of 68.7, more than two points below the national average, and an optimism score of 69.5.
Support for volunteering leads to improved wellbeing
More than half (53 percent) of workers who said they don’t volunteer cited time as the main inhibitor. This group had a mental health score of 69.3. Only 29 percent of workers who volunteer said their organization offers time off to support their volunteer activity. Workers who don’t volunteer and cited not knowing what volunteer opportunities exist had a mental health score of 68.8. Seven percent of workers reported they didn’t have anything to offer when it comes to volunteering; and four percent said they were intimidated by the process. These groups had the lowest mental health scores (57.0 and 51.2 respectively) and are more likely to be at high mental health risk. Workers under 40 years old were nearly four times more likely than workers over 50 to feel intimidated by the process of volunteering.
The stark mental health difference between employees who volunteer compared to others clearly shows how much of an effect participating in community service can have on wellbeing. When employers make time for their workforce to pursue passion projects and provide support both inside and outside the office, it reinforces their value and helps avoid isolation and burnout. Given the high proportion of workers who indicate that their mental health negatively impacts their work productivity, support for volunteering is valued now more than ever.
*Accoridng to the TELUS Mental Health Index