TELUS Mental Health Index: Volunteer time spurs higher employee wellbeing

Employees value the opportunity to "make a difference" in their work lives

TELUS Mental Health Index: Volunteer time spurs higher employee wellbeing

TELUS Health has unveiled the findings of its monthly Mental Health Index, revealing that organizations offering volunteer time to their employees were highly regarded by their workforce.

The study indicated that workers who participated in volunteer activities or had the option to donate money showed higher levels of mental wellbeing and optimism compared to those without the same opportunities.

“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,” said Paula Allen, TELUS Health global leader, research & client insights.

“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.”

Canada's workforce maintained a mental health index score of 64.6, similar to the scores observed during the pandemic.

27% of workers acknowledged that their mental health influenced their productivity at work. Industries with the highest likelihood of mental health-related productivity concerns included service and labor environments (53%) and office-based work (47%).

The research also found that employees who volunteered enjoyed distinct mental health benefits:

  • Around 61% of the surveyed workers reported volunteering their time or money within the last two years. This group displayed the highest mental health score (65.6) and optimism score (69.0).
  • Conversely, a small percentage (4%) of workers who felt intimidated by the volunteering process had the lowest mental health score (50.2), which was over 14 points below the national average (64.6).
  • 36% of the respondents perceived their employers positively for offering time off to volunteer, with 19% expressing a “very positive perception”.
  • Among the volunteers, 31% mentioned receiving support from their organizations in the form of time off to engage in volunteering activities.

"When an organization prioritizes giving back as a team, the impact goes beyond improving mental health. It also leads to a remarkable increase in loyalty, retention, and productivity,” said Juggy Sihota, TELUS health chief growth officer.