25 February 2021

Bring passion to your workplace

By Alice Masson, senior consultant
From the DWS Associates archive

There are articles that encourage us to make our passion and our work the same thing. Personally, I feel this can breed an unhealthy work-life balance – I also think it insinuates that there is only one thing that we can be passionate about. There are multiple ways we can pursue a passion outside of work and studies demonstrate that following these can have benefits in both our career and personal life. Engaging in activities that you are passionate about can help to develop new skills, and allows you to meet new people and communities that can unlock a variety of opportunities.

Whilst I enjoy my job, specifically seeing my work make a meaningful impact on an array of organisations in the public, private and third sectors, I also enjoy and need my downtime. So, what are three ways I pursue my passions outside of work?


Many companies already encourage their employees to engage with volunteering by running their own corporate volunteering programmes, however you don’t need to rely on your organisation to find volunteering opportunities. Volunteer Scotland notes that benefits of volunteering include building confidence, making a difference, meeting people, feeling part of a community, learning new skills, challenging yourself and – most importantly – having fun. I have experienced all of these benefits.

Last year I joined the Young Scot Historic Environment Youth Forum. This opportunity has allowed me to work alongside young people in Scotland to develop ways we can be engaged in Scotland’s heritage. By drawing on the knowledge and skills gained through my education and career, I have been able to positively contribute to this fantastic group. I have also been provided with opportunities to speak with industry professionals and learn more about Scotland’s history and heritage sector.

Spending time outdoors

This past year has seen an increase in the time we spend outside. A survey conducted by Nature Scot cited that 34% of us now get a daily dose of nature, compared to 22% before lockdown. We all seem to be craving this outdoor time for similar reasons as well. 70% cited that health was our motivator, 63% stated that it helped them destress, and 58% stated that it left them feeling energised and revitalised.

I love running and hill walking (I have even taken up the popular Scottish past time of Munro Bagging, 38 down, only 244 to go!). Whatever the activity and whatever the reason, spending time moving our bodies outside is a great passion to supplement any job.

Getting creative

Engaging in creative activities allows me to feel more relaxed. For me, my creative outlet is weaving – I enjoy spending time experimenting with different fibres and patterns to create striking wall hangings. Recently I have pushed my creativity further to explore the different uses of weaving, such as coasters or tote bag decoration. Personally, I find this means I am more helpful towards co-workers and employ a more creative approach to solving work problems.

Job crafting

Passions and hobbies are often things we do out of enjoyment. We decide where, how and when we do them as well as deciding who we do them with. As our interests and hobbies are free of deadlines, urgency, and judgement they become positive and gratifying experiences. If we start adding these passions to our work, they can start to lose these gratifying characteristics. Ultimately our attitudes towards certain tasks can change when we are asked to carry them out versus voluntarily completing them. So, keeping some activities separate from work allows us to enjoy them for purely intrinsic reasons.

I am not suggesting that we shouldn’t be passionate about our work. In fact, I implore you to find ways to be passionate about what you do. One way to do this is through job crafting – taking steps to redesign what we do at work (Dutton and Wrzesniewski, 2021). There are three types of job crafting: Task, Relationship and Cognitive.


This involves adjusting the type, scope, sequence, and number of tasks that make up your job. This is often the most talked about element of job crafting, as this space is where we can see the active shaping of one’s job.


This concerns altering not only who you interact with but how you are interacting with them. For example, a senior employee can create mentoring relationships with new and young employees to teach and connect with them.


This relates to how people modify their mindsets towards the tasks they do. Research has shown that changes in this space can lead to higher job satisfaction than in task crafting (Kim, Im and Qu, 2018). This is perhaps due to the more mental and emotional element of cognitive crafting while task crafting is centred around the more physical and visible aspects of one’s job.

Engaging in any of these job crafting types will not affect the quality or impact of what you are hired to do. What it can change is the level of passion you have for your job. Finding ways to be passionate about your work may be more productive than finding ways to incorporate your passion into your work. Realising passion for both your work and your downtime can lead you to thrive in both settings.

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