Why you should actively support your employees’ hobbies

What your employees do outside of work can have a positive impact on their engagement and success at work. Hobbies are great stress-relievers and generally help people to develop creativity and become more confident. Hobbies make you happier and healthier. They also sharpen your ability to problem solve.

There’s little doubt that creative workers are better for your business. Happy employees are more likely to be engaged with their work. And healthy staff are less likely to take time off sick. It sounds simple doesn’t it. But how many employers actively support their employees to engage in creative activities outside of work?

In an increasingly competitive global economy, businesses are having to work harder to retain staff and attract talent. It is why company culture is becoming such a hot topic in business circles. With UK productivity still lower than it was prior to the financial crisis, and considerably behind its European counterparts, business leaders are shaking up their approach to employee engagement.

As well as introducing a range of measures in the workplace to improve the engagement of employees, business owners are taking a greater interest in work-life balance. Caring what employees get up to outside of work is beginning to matter. If business leaders never ask employees about their personal life, it creates an impression that they don’t care.

It’s no secret that companies who fill their teams with happy, engaged workers are more likely to succeed. Businesses filled with unhappy, demotivated and stressed workers aren’t.

One of the effective ways to improve employee happiness and productivity is to facilitate learning experiences and encourage hobbies outside of work. There are lots of ways you can encourage creative thinking in the workplace. Training sessions, brainstorming and opportunities for lateral thinking are all important for innovation and teambuilding.  

As well as facilitating teambuilding activities (days away from the office are great for motivating employees), encouraging your staff to engage in hobbies outside of work also leads to business benefits. 

Here are just some of the benefits of encouraging and supporting your employees in their hobbies.

Improved workplace creativity

While many hobbies may seem completely unrelated to work, mastering a new skill is challenging and can actually improve creativity at work. A creative hobby acts like a workout for the brain and encourages you to think differently. Creativity is essential for innovation in business.

Hobbies can stimulate more creativity and better performance at work. Career coaches and business leaders say that having a hobby is key for handling work-life stress and thinking creatively. 

Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook is a huge advocate of employees having hobbies. He says that he learned more from a hobby than he did at Harvard, and that having a hobby can make you better at your job.

Employers should definitely be looking more carefully at candidates resumes for personal interests as hobbies are a good sign. Activities like playing a musical instrument, yoga, volunteering and participating in team sports require a variety of skills which can prove invaluable at work. Focus, commitment and self-discipline are all highly valuable transferrable skills.

Reduced workplace stress

There are many things leaders can do to reduce employee stress. Encouraging employees to engage in a hobby outside of work can help to reduce workplace stress.

Ironically, people with busy lives need hobbies more than the average person. It gives people permission to take a break and do something they enjoy. Doing something fun is a great stress-buster. Many hobbies provide opportunities to connect with others and social support can also help to relieve stress.

Better work-life balance

Hobbies are an important part of work-life balance. Work should not be at the cost of fun, dreams, aspirations, passion and inquisitiveness. Ask too much of your employees and the balance between work and life outside is easily compromised. This leads to increased stress and ultimately less productivity. 

A lack of balance between life and work quite simply leads to burn out. Employees need recovery time from demanding roles and long working hours. Hobbies are a great way to encourage the setting of boundaries around working hours.

Boost employee skills

Creative pursuits boost skills. Even seemingly unrelated skills can prove invaluable in the workplace. For example, learning to play a musical instrument stimulates the brain, improves memory and abstract reasoning skills. In fact, studies show a correlation between musical training and academic success. In addition, playing a musical instrument relieves stress and has been proven to lower blood pressure.

Hobbies involving physical exercise also have benefits. Regular exercise improves sleep, reduces stress, reduces feelings of fatigue and increases the production of the brain cells which make you sharper. Exercising regularly contributes to increased energy and productivity.

If you are serious about business success it is time you supported your employees in their hobbies.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top