Incorporating Hobbies into the Workplace

| Health and Wellness, Office Life

June 9 2014

More and more evidence, including a study released by San Francisco State University, is suggesting that taking time to pursue a hobby might also give a boost to your career. According to this particular study, spending your off time by taking part in creative activities like knitting, cooking, painting, photography, gardening and other pursuits actually positively enhance your work performance by anywhere from 15-30%. In fact, the conclusion reached was that, in general, the more creative activities that you engage in, the better you seem to perform while doing your day-to-day work tasks. This is uplifting news for many, especially those who are currently engaged in such creative activities outside of work. And, while the study makes it clear that any coercion to participate in such activities will undoubtedly undo any of the associated benefits, it may be possible to garner the benefits of higher work performance while hobbies are performed at work.

Some companies already integrate creative hobbies into every day work. For example, Zappos Inc. encourages employees to create artwork. The company then finds a way to incorporate said artwork into the office décor. This not only creates an inspiring office design, but gives employees a chance to shine through their creative efforts in a way that isn’t all about work.

So how can you easily and effectively incorporate hobbies into your workplace and reap the benefits of having fun and boosting your job performance? Here are a few ideas.

  1. A team bake-off: Take an hour or two and set it aside for some friendly and creative competition, like that of a bake off. Think Chopped, but way less stressful. Encourage creativity and fun. Be sure to offer a sign-up sheet or email in order to ensure that those who are there are eager to participate.
  2. Decorating contests: Holidays present a particularly great opportunity for decorating contests. These contests can be on an individual or team basis. Decorating with decorations and tools supplied by the company is a great way to get employees thinking creatively.
  3. Create clubs: This one may depend on how large the company is. Still, starting clubs dedicated to creative pursuits whose meetings can take place over the lunch hour is an absolutely genius idea to mix hobbies and work. Start an initiative encouraging employees to start creative clubs with their coworkers or start one yourself to get the ball rolling. Be sure that the clubs are welcoming and all-inclusive so that everyone, regardless of their skill level, can participate.
  4. Bring in an instructor: If starting a club is too much of an undertaking or just not something you see aligning with your company or your employees, hosting a class may be a better fit. You can find an instructor to come to the office to teach employees a new creative skill, whether it’s sewing, knitting or maybe even drawing.
  5. Be creative with bringing hobbies into work. After all, that is what this is all about. Just make sure that people don’t feel that they must attend, as such would most likely have an adverse effect which is a lose-lose situation.

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