In the creative/marketing industry, the concept of a 9-5 job does not exist. An average person who is passionate about their job, works the time that is needed, usually from about 9- late. Therefore, when we think about doing more than this (i.e. a side project), we think, who has the time.

But there is amazing value in a side project, or rather an unrelated passion project stowed away on your desktop until it magically becomes the next Uber, Airbnb or something similar.

Unfortunately, the reality is that it may not make millions. It may make less than R1.00, but it adds intangible value to our ability in so many other ways. It normally even adds value to the company you work for, and although it takes time away from the company’s core business, the truth is that the attention and positive energy that halo over the project will benefit both the employee and the company in the long run.

The following case study sums it all up : “Google began its famous 20 percent rule (employees could spend 20 percent of their time exploring fun, passionate side projects), the result was a more productive, more creative 80 percent. Side projects boosted work performance.” The study showed that the employees with a side project/ creative hobby were more likely to be helpful, collaborative and creative with their job performance.

Most people who are doing great work in our industry have projects that they pursue without a boss telling them what to do. Projects that they plunge into during their spare time, weekends, lunch breaks etc. Whether this means making wooden furniture from pallets – Reece Jacobsen (Head of Insights at Levergy), or creating the ultimate playlist consisting of only the BEST music, and playing it at the local Friday club- Struan Campbell (Strategic Director at Levergy). It takes away from their everyday work tasks in order to experiment and explore new ideas, new tools, test their limits and to do what makes them happy.

The main reasons a side project adds value in the work space:

  • Creativity: Most projects require creativity and developing creativity through a side project can transfer directly into creativity at work..
  • Confidence: Side projects build confidence because being good at something and learning something new is very rewarding.
  • Reduce Negative Stress: Getting caught up in something you enjoy doing is great for relieving stress because it refocuses your mind on something that you enjoy.
  • Socialise: The internet provides endless ways to connect with people that enjoy doing the same things that you do.
  • Personal Development: I talked about creativity and confidence already but the personal development does not stop thereWhen talking about a side project versus a hobby, I feel the following: A side project has an output, a finished product (eventually). A creative hobby is a long term interest, but both add value by doing something aside to the everyday monotonous task, and offer a chance to work on a ‘new thing’ and a breath of fresh air. Automatically, it provides a chance to experiment on new ideas, new tools etc. which may (or may not) add value to the everyday monotonous tasks.Work on something you care about, over and above the work you care about at work. Share it with the next person you meet! You may be surprised by what it sparks.By Jacqui Purchase