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Keywords:

  • recovery experiences;
  • creative activity;
  • performance;
  • job creativity;
  • organizational citizenship behaviours

Employees have limited personal time to engage in activities that enable them to recover from a demanding work environment and perform at a high level. To evaluate the importance of non-work creative activity, we conducted two studies that examine the relationships between non-work creative activity, recovery experiences, and performance-related behaviours at work. Study 1 included employees who provided self-rated performance-related outcomes, whereas Study 2 included employees with other-rated (co-workers and subordinates) performance-related outcomes. Creative activity was positively associated with recovery experiences (i.e., mastery, control, and relaxation) and performance-related outcomes (i.e., job creativity and extra-role behaviours). The mediating effects of recovery experiences were examined to better understand the underlying processes involved in the relationship between creative activity and performance-related outcomes. Creative activity was found to have both indirect effects and direct effects on performance-related outcomes, but the effects varied by the type of performance-related outcome. The results indicate that organizations may benefit from encouraging employees to consider creative activities in their efforts to recover from work.

Practitioner points

  1. Organizations should increase employee awareness of the benefits of creative activity on recovery. Many companies already provide information to employees regarding the importance of specific activities (e.g., eating habits, exercise) on physical health. Information on activities that influence recovery – a psychological health consequence – should be included in the informational resource provided to employees.
  2. Organizations may consider professional development opportunities for employees that involve creative activities while away from work. Creative activities are likely to provide valuable experiences of mastery and control, but may also provide employees experiences of discovery that uniquely influence performance-related outcomes. Opportunities used by large organizations, such as Zappos Inc., include employees bringing their artwork to work to decorate their offices. Other options include memberships to art studios, creative writing resources, and access to musical instruments.