The case for making ‘art’ a part of your team’s WFH hygiene
Afternoon walks just aren’t hitting like they used to. Enter ‘afternoon art break’.
A 2021 by Indeed.com showed that 52% of professionals feel burned out at work — but you probably didn’t need to see a stat to know that. Most of us can feel the fatigue of the past two years around us. While many employers have revamped their wellness programs to include everything from online yoga to therapy subsidies, there’s one dimension of a balanced, happy life that remains notably absent in these initiatives: creativity and the arts.
And so, when The Atlantic columnist Arthur Brooks recently made the bold claim that “engaging with the arts is a necessity for a full and happy life” much like exercise and sleep, we as an applied improv organization felt, in a word, seen. Here’s why companies should be taking note:
Screen breaks reduce eye strain… art breaks reduce brain strain
And not in the way that you think. Instead of offering a “diversion” or distraction from reality, Brooks argues that consuming art — whether that’s watching a movie, going to a concert, or looking at a painting, is one of the most effective ways to fully engage with it.
Think of it as a shortcut to finding your flow state: “Engaging with art after worrying over the minutiae of your routine is like looking at the horizon after you’ve spent too long staring intently at a particular object: Your perception of the outside world expands,” writes Brooks.
It’s called “panoramic perspective” — and it may be the key to fighting burnout
Neurobiologists have shown that regularly expanding our perspective — looking at the horizon both literally and figuratively — is a hyper-effective way to reduce our reactivity and fear response.
Combine this with findings that setting aside just 15 minutes for hobbies per day can make us feel less overwhelmed at work, and you have a powerful case for prioritizing pleasurable pursuits that expand our perspectives. Especially for employers who don’t want their workforce to implode like it did last November.
A 30-minute creativity challenge to get started:
Take yourself on an ‘artist date.’ Set aside 30 minutes this week to consciously engage (multi-screening and mindless scrolling don’t count) with something you consider “art” or find creatively inspiring — whether that’s a short documentary, live studio session, a chapter of a novel, or observing a perfectly synchronized trash pick-up by your morning garbage crew (AKA, the original STOMP).
You can do this as an individual, or if you manage a team, challenge your reports to do the same and schedule a quick share-out! You may be surprised how art can give you a more 3-dimensional relationship with your work, yourself, and your team.
Want to learn more about creativity in the workplace? We’ve joined forces with improv legend Wayne Brady and applied improv company FLS Academy create FLS+, an organization using improv to improve performance at work: https://flsplus.com/