How Having a Hobby Makes You a Better Employee

Published: Jan 11 | 2017
Modified: Mar 18 | 2019

When was the last time you became so absorbed in a non-work-related task that you lost track of time? When was the last time you made something by hand? How old were you when you stopped learning new and exciting things? Having a hobby can reopen doors that close as years pass on and lives get busy.

At Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc., we offer all of our employees an annual hobby subsidy. We believe having a hobby is as much a part of a healthy and well lifestyle as physical activity and exercise. Interests and pursuits outside of work provide satisfaction, invigorate, and enrich our daily lives. Whether pursued by yourself, or in a group setting, hobbies connect us to other communities beyond our regular work and life, which brings all-important balance into the picture.

As a company focused on growth – of our business and of our people – supporting people to try new things makes a lot of sense. Personal growth by perfecting a skill, or achieving a sense of accomplishment from finishing a project directly related to how content a person feels overall. The benefits might be hard to measure, but we believe, without a doubt, having a hobby impacts wellbeing positively.

A Subsidy for a Hobby

With our $50/year subsidy, people return to hobbies they had once loved but grew away from. A developer excited to get back to making model airplanes because BBD helped fund a lamp he needed for delicate assembly work. Or the woman who taught herself to crochet and started making so many things many of us at BBD benefited from her handiwork, in the form of new hats as the weather turned cold! In all, at the end of 2014, 67% of people used their hobby subsidy. Of those, almost 20% returned to or restarted hobbies they had forgotten or let lapse. We see that as a resounding success! Now, halfway through 2015, we are seeing people use the subsidy to reinforce hobbies that are the same as last year, or try new things because doing so doesn’t cost them anything – it’s on our dime.

Here are ten of the unique ways employees are using their hobby subsidy:

  • Knitting supplies
  • Scrapbook supplies
  • Books
  • Musical Instrument lessons/purchase/tune-up
  • Journalling supplies
  • Paint brushes and paint supplies
  • Woodworking tools and materials
  • Beads for jewelry making
  • Puzzles and games

We consider our hobby subsidy a success. The genius of it lies in how non-work related it is. BBD continues to succeed and grow because of the remarkable people we have on our team. Investing in them as individuals, for things that don’t directly impact our day-to-day is the least we can do, for the ways they shape and take care of our big picture.

Originally published January 11, 2017. Updated March 18, 2019.

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