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How businesses can benefit of employees bringing hobbies to work


Dakota Murphey discusses a fairly new add-on to the tools of improving employee wellbeing, and ultimately workplace productivity. That’s business benefiting of employees bringing hobbies to work.

We often think of hobbies as something that we do exclusively in our free time. Something for us to enjoy in the hours away from work. And it can certainly be beneficial for anyone to enjoy a diverse range of hobbies. But interestingly, it might also be true that businesses can benefit from employing a workforce with a wide variety of outside interests. 

In this article, we will explore the logic of allowing employees to bring their hobbies to work. Those interests that they pursue in their free time can actually offer a range of benefits for the company, whether it is in promoting additional creativity, providing the company with a range of new skills, or encouraging team building and collaboration. 

Enhancing creativity

Many hobbies help individuals show off their creative side and yet it can be easily overlooked that creativity is something that businesses can strongly benefit from too. A recent survey conducted by IBM highlighted the high values placed on creativity by business leaders, with 60% of CEOs believing that creativity is the most important leadership quality.

It might be that you have someone in the team who is an experienced writer who could be given the task of working on company blogs and improving web pages. Alternatively, there may be a budding video content creator who might be happy to spend some time creating work that could go on company social media accounts.

There are many different creative hobbies that could potentially benefit your business, especially in areas such as marketing. So it is really worth getting an idea of the things that your team like to do in their spare time – you might find that their creative passion offers real potential to the company. 

Skill diversification

In some cases, businesses can actually directly benefit from the skills that an employee has gained from a hobby. You may have an employee who has always had an interest in website design who could be well-placed to help you improve your online presence. This is especially true in smaller businesses, where it would be less likely that the team would have a web specialist. 

Another possibility would be something like photography. If there is a keen amateur photographer in the company, it could make sense to have them oversee any product photography or team photography because they will already have a good understanding of issues such as lighting and composition. 

It may well be the case that your employee would be happy to use their own camera for work business, especially if you are willing to provide additional accessories. In this scenario, it would only take a small investment in some equipment such as tripods and lens filters, and you can have a very high-quality camera setup for a small price. 

Extending employee interests and skills into wider work practices, can be strongly beneficial for the business and automatically offers potential development opportunities and advancement for employees. 

Team building and collaboration

Encouraging employees to bring their hobbies to work can also be a great way to improve team building and collaboration among team members. Hobbies such as board games or puzzles in a work breakout area or creating a fantasy football league are just a couple of simple options. Such activities provide opportunities for team members to work together, build trust, and enhance communication skills. 

Participating in team-building activities outside of work, such as an escape room team event,  can also foster a sense of community and camaraderie among employees. However, it can be challenging to find activities that suit everyone’s interests and schedules. By allowing employees to share these hobbies in the workplace, companies can create a fun, engaging environment still within an accessible and familiar environment, that promotes team building and collaboration.

For example, employees who are passionate about cooking could organise a baking competition in the office. Those who enjoy sports could form a company league or an after-work football match. By bringing their outside interests to work, employees can bond over shared interests and develop stronger relationships with their colleagues.

Workplace wellbeing

Another potential benefit for employees bringing their hobbies to work is the opportunity for enhancing workplace well-being. We mentioned above the potential for teams to enjoy sporting activities together – this can help to foster a sense of community and a greater camaraderie between the group. 

It might also be the case that an employee might have an interest in something more balancing like yoga or meditation. If so, they might be willing to offer a guided meditation session every morning for everyone in the team who is interested in reducing stress and feeling more relaxed. Once again, one of the really important factors here is getting to know your team members and understanding what they would be willing to do.

There may be members of staff who are interested in different forms of arts and crafts and are  happy to provide a little introduction to the rest of the team. This can act as a way to enjoy a lighter side of work, a practical break-out time, and develop a great team atmosphere. 

Improved employee morale

Having hobbies in the workplace can help improve employee morale by providing a sense of fulfilment and accomplishment outside of work-related tasks. When employees are allowed to pursue their interests and passions during work hours, it can help them feel more connected to their work environment and colleagues.

In addition, hobbies can provide a sense of stress relief and relaxation, which can help reduce feelings of burnout and increase overall job satisfaction. Employees who feel supported in pursuing their hobbies at work are likely to feel more valued and appreciated, which in turn is likely to lead to greater loyalty and commitment to the company.

Encouraging employees to share their hobbies with colleagues can also help build a sense of community and increase team spirit. This brings improved collaboration and communication between team members, and the additional benefit of greater productivity and success for the business.

Increased productivity

It is important to recognise the benefit of increased productivity. Every business would love to find an easy to way to improve productivity and efficiency in their team, so an employee led option whereby they share their likes and interests offers a win-win opportunity. 

Ultimately, one of the best ways to increase productivity in the workplace is to make employees feel like they want the best for the company. Having positive feelings about the business you work for makes you more willing to give your best. If they recognise that they have been supported in their pursuits, it can give them a more positive feeling about the company.

Hobbies can provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment that can carry over to the workplace. When employees are able to pursue their passions at work, they become more invested in their jobs and are more likely to go above and beyond in their work.

Allowing employees the freedom to have fun with their hobbies at work can provide a really fantastic array of benefits. So it makes sense to get talking with your team about what they like to do in their free time, and give them the opportunity to extend that into work time as well.