Forget The Zoom Cocktail Party: Company Volunteering Boosts Sinking Morale
Much of the coronavirus pandemic has been about a relentless focus inward. But a recent study by Deloitte suggested a smart way to re-energize office culture is to look outside the organization for purpose and the greater good.
It’s not just a good way to get out of the rut of remote digital group bonding activities. Annual volunteerism surveys from the business consultancy have found that employer-sponsored events and initiatives with nonprofits offer a boost to overall company connectivity and culture, Quartz reported.
Just shy of 90% of respondents believed employers that offer volunteerism opportunities have a better working environment, roughly 75% said volunteering was a bigger morale booster than social events like mixers, and about 80% felt volunteerism is essential to employee well-being.
Volunteering also has proven mental health benefits. Studies collected by the Corporation for National & Community Service showed that activities with nonprofits or charities can reduce depression, stress and anxiety. While the pause on in-person group activities cuts out many traditional volunteering options, our videoconference-dominated world does offer a very relevant way to help; students struggling with remote learning can benefit greatly with tutoring or career and college mentoring.
Encouraging employee volunteerism has been a proven strategy at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, a legal firm with a property and real estate focus. Valerie Kelly, a lawyer and partner, told Bisnow that the company’s Morale Squad, which coordinates volunteer events for colleagues now physically separated by work-from-home arrangements, has been crucial to improving spirits and a sense of connection.
“The combination of the uncertainty in real estate, isolation and [the] unprecedented nature of the pandemic has given us a lot of opportunities,” Kelly said. “When you talk to people one-on-one, many will tell you it’s made a meaningful impact on their pandemic experience.”