The truth is that a productive workforce is also a happy workforce. According to studies, employees are 20% more productive when happy – so your employees’ happiness is essential to meeting your business goals.
However, the happiness of employees cannot always be cultivated through their work; they also need extra-curricular interests and activities to fulfil them. If your workplace is falling victim to the productivity crisis, the answer could be to promote hobbies. A recent study showed that stress levels reduced by 34% whilst people were engaged in leisure activities.
But which hobbies are the most effective at improving employee productivity?
The average person has 60,000 thoughts per day and 95% of them are the same day in, day out. Knitting is a great way to switch off. It also gives you the chance to be creative and it’s been proven to be great for your mind too. Knitting lowers blood pressure and reduces stress, having the same effect as some medications. Knitting has been shown to make it harder for the brain to register pain signals. It also improves the development of neural pathways in the brain which can improve cognitive health.
A study from the University of Sussex showed that six minutes of reading can help to reduce stress levels by two-thirds. As well as being an enjoyable means of escapism, reading has been shown to strengthen the brain by bringing existing neural pathways to life and improving memory. Connecting with fictional characters and their emotions also improves empathy, as readers can relate to other people’s experiences more easily. The empathy and emotional intelligence that can develop from reading are great skills to bring to any workforce.
A study showed that those who create visual art have a significant increase in psychological resilience and cognitive functioning. Photography encourages you to get outdoors and engage with the world around you, which makes it a great way to disconnect as well as being an excellent way to communicate with others. If you’re someone who struggles with depression or negative thinking, photography can allow you to capture the world in a new way, and change your outlook as a result. An interest in photography can also lead to the development of other skills, such as photo editing or blogging – giving a sense of purpose and fulfilment.
Many people find that they struggle to sustain a healthy sleeping routine alongside their working life. As well as being a great way to unwind and appreciate nature, star gazing is the perfect hobby for anyone who struggles with their sleep health. Exposure to natural light and darkness is key to maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. Being outdoors in the evening and looking at the stars helps your brain to release melatonin which makes you sleepy, helping to reset your sleeping pattern.
Running is a great way to relieve stress, tackle depression and break negative thinking cycles because it releases endorphins causing what’s known as a “runner’s high.” It doesn’t take a lot for these endorphins to kick in either. Researchers found that just 30 minutes of walking on a treadmill will instantly lift your mood. Running has also been shown to improve psychological functioning and focus, two things essential to productivity at work.
Sea air is charged with healthy ions that accelerate an individual’s ability to absorb oxygen. These ions also have a negative charge which balances levels of serotonin, a chemical often linked to mood and stress. This makes sailing a potentially effective way to tackle depression. In fact, many famous people credit the sea as a source of inspiration and tranquillity when they most needed it. Sailing also teaches teamwork – essential to the success of any workforce.
By practising a relaxing hobby, your employees will become less susceptible to stress and have a more positive attitude – qualities essential for a productive and more successful team. Organising workshops or social groups would also help employees to meet new people and form new relationships, which will contribute to better mental health and also unite the workforce to a closer degree.
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