Promoting Employees’ Hobbies Makes Your Business Better
By: Benefits by Design | Wednesday January 11, 2017Updated : Friday December 11, 2020
It may sound a bit outlandish, but stick with us here — employees with hobbies make your business better, and we’re going to prove it.
How do Hobbies Make Business Better?
Think of one of your own hobbies — gardening, reading, hiking, woodworking — whatever it is, and now think about how it makes you feel when you’re out there doing it.
It’s a proven fact happier employees are more productive and engaged in their work, and those are two things that undeniably have a significant impact on your business. Bonus points if the hobby is something physically active, like running or biking, as maintaining a physically active lifestyle brings a ton of its own benefits, including healthier employees with reduced likelihood of major injury or illness.
Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc. is a company focused on growth — of our business and of our people — and so supporting employees to try new things makes a lot of sense to us. 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 positively impacts wellbeing, and therefore, our business.
Our Experience with Hobbies
At Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc., we offer all of our employees an annual hobby subsidy as part of their total rewards package.
We offer employees $200/year to pursue their own hobbies and interests, and over the time we’ve offered the benefit, we’ve seen some incredibly amazing uses, including:
- Knitting supplies
- Scrapbook supplies
- Musical Instrument lessons/purchase/tune-up
- Journalling supplies
- Paintbrushes and paint supplies
- Woodworking tools and materials
- Beads for jewelry making
- Puzzles and games
Of course, those are just some of the unique examples of how employees have utilized their hobby subsidy. There are so many more uses because our employees’ interests vary widely and because the subsidy itself is very open.
That $200/year goes a long way in our minds. Two of our favourite stories include a member of our Development Team who returned to making model airplanes because BBD helped fund a lamp he needed for delicate assembly work and the woman who taught herself to crochet and started making so many things many of us at BBD benefited from her handiwork!
It’s clear that our hobby subsidy makes employees happier and more productive, and that could be your employees, too!
So how can you set something similar up?
A Personal Spending Account (PSA)
A Personal Spending Account (PSA), sometimes known as a Wellness Spending Account (WSA), allows an employer to allocate a set amount of money (in our case, that’s $200/year) per employee to use on eligible items.
What’s Eligible Under a PSA?
That’s the beauty of it! The list of eligible items under a PSA is pretty much limitless since employers are the ones who dictate what will and will not be covered. We very purposefully kept our open to allow employee creativity, but you may benefit from honing in on some specific areas employees are interested in, such as fitness and gym memberships or professional development opportunities.
Hobbies Make Business Better, No Question
We consider our hobby subsidy a big 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.