Corporate micro-volunteering boosts wellbeing

Around 80 per cent of employees who give up their time to help others will benefit from a positive impact on their own lives, according to a new report on the rise of micro-volunteering.

‘Tech for good’ start-up onHand’s Impact Report explores the impact of micro-volunteering in the North East and found that by encouraging volunteering amongst their workforce businesses can also expect to improve the mental wellbeing of their employees, with nearly half of those surveyed saying volunteering benefits their mental health.

onHand partnered with the National Innovation Centre for Ageing and Newcastle Building Society to launch a smartphone app through which most tasks can be completed in a flexible and fit neatly around work commitments. So-called ‘micro-volunteering’ tasks such as companionship calls, shopping and dog walking are popular with volunteers and those benefiting from the service.

Reporting on the use of the app showed that nearly 60 per cent of those using the service, many of whom are living alone or are isolated, wouldn't have asked for help if onHand wasn’t available. Over 90 per cent of respondents said that using the service has made them feel better than usual, giving them someone to talk to and helping to build confidence.

Andrew Haigh CEO, Newcastle Building Society says, “Volunteering is a core commitment we make to our communities and we provide two paid days each year for every colleague to do this. Our colleagues have taken up the onHand opportunity with enthusiasm, so far completing around 750 COVID-safe tasks to help local people. To a volunteer it might be a relatively small act of giving, delivering a prescription or walking a dog for example, but for the person on the receiving end it creates an important social connection and provides valuable practical support.”

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