Why Work-Life Balance Isn’t About Office Hours

I’m a big fan of creativity at work. And  I especially mean the kind of outbursts that aren’t (or at least don’t look) assignment related. This weekend I read this article called Want to Be Better at Your Job? Get a Creative Side Project. In short: workers ‘who engage in creative activities’ aren’t just happier, but also more helpful towards their colleagues and better able to solve problems. So what kind of side-projects are we talking about? Well, everything from ‘writing poetry to playing videogames’.

Of course, I immediately asked around for other people’s experiences. Luckily, my ghostwriter and his partner have two great employees. I told you before about Nicky, but not about her web shop and the great sustainability project she’s working on in the city of Amsterdam. The other creative soul is Liss, who not only is a very talented singer, but also runs a funny blog about cats.

Aren’t my ghostwriter and his partner afraid that those side-projects will absorb too much office time? On the contrary, for them work isn’t about quantity, it’s about quality. Sure, deadlines are deadlines, so communication is important. But in the end, it’s about trust and about ‘doing a job well’ rather than ‘doing a job between 9 and 5′. Apart from that, work-life balance isn’t about going home on time; it’s about finding the right place for the right activity. And whatever helps people doing their work better and with more fun is great, especially if it involves a funny picture of a cat.

So what can you do to make sure your people get the best out of work? Next time you hire someone, don’t just ask her about how good she is at her job. Ask her what she does in her own time. It might be the most important thing she’ll bring to the company table.

Photo: Agê Barros (Unsplash)

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