We all love good food, great movies, inspiring music and well-written books. These things add meaning to our lives, help us relax and give us a way to connect with others. So it only makes sense that we should bring these things in the workplace? We promise, it won't ruin them. In fact, experts call these creative activities that we do just because they're fun or interesting "strategic distractions."
WHAT IS STRATEGIC DISTRACTION?
Strategic distraction may sound like the latest Silicon Valley buzzword, but it's a very real competitive advantage you can bring to your team — if you do it right.
If your employees are constantly exposed to the same, boring workspaces, ideas and people day in and day out, their creativity starts to dry up. More and more organizations want more intentional and built-in ways to add more curiosity to employees' work life. Get creative! Instead of forming just another same-old wellness program, how about starting a book (dinner, movie, music) club at work?
WHY WOULD I START A CLUB AT WORK?
Work is work, and personal is personal, and never the 'twain shall meet, right? But ask any Millennial and they'll tell you you've got it all wrong. This generation has perfected the art of bringing their (almost) whole selves to work in order to make their jobs more meaningful and satisfying. That's a win for the organization as well, because research shows engaged employees have increased trust and job satisfaction, leading to lower costs, increased productivity and fewer turnovers.
One of the best ways to increase at work engagement is to start an employee book club. We recommend that you even call it the "No Judgement" book club (or something similar). Once a month, employees can have lunch and discuss the ideas and themes of the book. Those who read it can offer insight and perspective; those who didn't can find a quick summary online that will give them some background on the ideas presented. Have one person facilitate the conversation with a list of questions, like "What were some of the most important themes for you?" or "How can we apply the author's perspective to our own department?"
NOT JUST ANOTHER BOOK CLUB
Want to make it even easier on employees? Create a monthly TEDTalk group, or even a lunch & learn group, where you bring in a speaker or someone from a local nonprofit every month. Anything that brings people together to talk about big ideas is going to foster creativity and connection. It doesn't cost an organization much to do this kind of thing; in fact, you might find employees investing a lot of their own resources into the group once it gets going.
TIPS & TRICKS
Regardless of whether you make it a book club or food club, it's helpful to establish a few guidelines up front:
Once it's up and going, let the employees decide how it evolves. You might be surprised at where they take their food/movie/music club, and the cool ideas and concepts that arise out of it.
Want to learn more about adding culture to your workplace?
Co-founder Jill Hinton Wolfe is a communicator, entrepreneur and Army veteran who is passionate about the outdoors and designing surprising and unique challenges for all sorts of clients, all over the world.