Nothing can fuel our curiosity and imagination like reading!

We all had the habit of collecting books when we were kids. But as we grew old, we became more technology-oriented. Despite knowing the benefits of reading in one's life, we hardly find time to read.

Reading is a gateway to new possibilities and learnings. The mind can perform miracles and be conditioned for excellence. Only if it explores, cultivates, and challenges it for new possibilities in life.

Reading helps you to relax and inspire and attain greater potential on a personal, professional, or spiritual level.

Why is Reading important?

"Reading is a vital habit for every successful businessperson,It broadens your mind, helps with your written and verbal communication skills, and gives you a certain level of understanding and empathy."
– Ellen Parry Lewis.

Reading skills can help employees to perform and communicate better at work. The more you read, the more knowledgeable you become and the subject reflects your career. For a well-read employee, knowledge comes in handy even in the most critical time of business.

A recent study in the journal Memory & Cognition discussed the effect of reading with intention and purpose. According to the study, benefits of reading can significantly impact learning and that it positively alters the mindset. Without cultivating the habit of reading, your outlook becomes brittle, and relationships will lower with co-workers.

Also Read: 10 Awesome Lifestyle Choices For Employees To Elevate Their Work-Life

In fact, most successful people don't just read for pleasure—they read to learn. Reading is a boosting factor for employees' self-confidence and cognitive abilities. It allows employees to embrace new perspectives and look into problems from different angles.

HR can also introduce employees to wellness apps like Vantage Fit. For any physical activity; walking, running, participating in a fitness challenge or creating one for the team, Vantage Fit is a one-stop solution. You can also track other health and wellness activities like counting calories, reading, swimming, meditation, etc.

HR can also emphasize on opening a book club for their employees. Or give membership access to the local library.

12 Benefits of Reading Skills in the Workplace

"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us."
– Franz Kafka.

Reading is a holistic approach and its benefits contribute to the health and wellness of the employees. Here are 12 reasons why you should encourage your employees to read:

1. Improves Intellectual Wellness

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Reading makes you a creative person. It encourages the brain to imagine the unimaginable. Intellectual wellness is a necessity for creativity which comes when you are in a relaxed state of mind.

Reading helps you to relieve tensions. And, it develops ingenuity which makes an employee more innovative and creative. A 21st-century workplace thrives for intelligent employees as they show higher levels of retention.

Workplaces must make room for intellectual wellness. Employers can create steps towards creating a library. Such efforts will benefit the employees in many ways, including expanding their knowledge and boosting morale and productivity.

Encouraging them to gather their favorite books in their workplace library can be fun. Employees can refer books and magazines to each other during the lunch breaks to enjoy a conversation over it.

Besides, an e-library, monthly newsletters by employees, or sharing the latest business articles to read will help develop intellectual wellness and growth.

We recommend you to read "Think Like Da Vinci, By Michael Gelb." A book that talks about one of the greatest human minds- Leonardo da Vinci.

2. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

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It is essential to stay calm and connected for increased productivity at work. Reading can reduce stress and anxiety at work by helping you stay calm.

A study at the University of Sussex found that reading reduces stress by up to 68%. It works better than other relaxation methods, such as listening to music or drinking a hot cup of coffee.

Reading helps you find better ideas. It helps your workflow and increases productivity. Reading the news may not be the best choice if it makes you anxious. But choosing the right book according to your mood can effectively reduce stress or anxiety.

Surprisingly, it also improves concentration. Reading only six minutes per day can also reduce your stress level by more than two-thirds.

Also Read: 8 Surprising Benefits Of Introducing Meditation At Work

We recommend "Unwinding Anxiety: Train Your Brain to Heal Your Mind" by a renowned psychiatrist and neuroscientist Dr. Judson Brewer.

3. It makes you more Empathetic

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One of the most important benefits of reading is that it helps you to understand complex human emotions. A study found that individuals who read for 30 minutes a week develop a stronger sense of empathy.

Empathy is one skill that employers look for while hiring their employees. Neuroscientists have suggested that you can look to the library for solutions. Reading helps people develop empathy, theory of mind, and develop critical thinking.

Empathetic employees value other's emotions and support one another more often at work. It helps in encouraging diversity, developing compassion, and creating a better work culture.

Also Read: 7 Ways to Overcome Social Challenges affecting Behavioral Health in the Workplace

Consider reading, "Mindsight" a book that will help you increase your self-awareness and understanding by Daniel J. Siegel (2009).

4. Improves Vocabulary

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The more you read, the more you'll be exposed to new words.

Having a good vocabulary is a crucial tool for any potential employee. Reading exposes you to language skills, new words, and meanings. The application of better terms can help you excel in many projects at work.

Today, soft skills are as crucial as hard skills to crack your dream job. Reading improves your professional skills and makes you presentable.

Also, it improves the ability to communicate effectively and allows better articulation of your thoughts. In fact, for most writers, reading makes them better at writing skills.

George R.R. Martin's "Game of Thrones", the television series, is already rated 9.3/10. Martin's exclusive words in the book are admirable. You can also go for classic books of all time; Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813), "1984" by George Orwell, or "To kill a mockingbird" by Harper Lee, etc.

5. Reading improves Communication skills

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"When you speak of adopting a wider perspective, this includes working cooperatively with other people...this is encompassing more than individual or personal issue"
– Dalai Lama.

In the 21st-century, information is the key. Book-learning is one of the best sources of gathering information, knowledge, and continuous learning. It helps an employee to communicate with co-workers and be confident at work.

The benfits of reading books and articles improves your ability to think and form new ideas. It creates room for communication with improvements. It helps you adopt a flexible approach and broader perspectives towards the problem.

Communication helps employees achieve success with greater team spirit. It improves your ability to make a point, as communication is the central component in the professional world.

Reading strengthens your communication skills, helps you open up and gather new information.

Suggest your employees "Made to Stick" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. It falls under the top 10 books for employee engagement and effective communication.

6. Develops Critical Thinking Skills

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"Reading is critical thinking and critical thinking is reading."
– Goodman.

An employer looks up for help from a team member who can think logically and tackle situations calmly. Critical thinking is an essential skill to develop as you grow at work. The benefits of reading a book at least 30 minutes a day are one good way to attain critical thinking skills.

Reading appraises your critical thinking to present reasonable arguments, evaluate and analyze them better. Reading fictional books can also benefit employees.

Add "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman to your reading list in 2021.

7. Reading makes you Proactive

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Being proactive means you are no longer held back by your failures. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, being proactive means "acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes."

Proactivity means focusing on the things you can control and take responsibility for. Developing an assertive mindset increases your productivity and persistence at work. Also, it helps you take up challenges and work on them effortlessly.

One essential benefit of reading is that it makes the mind proactive. So, an assertive person acknowledges their mistakes, takes accountability for them, and corrects and learns from them. Such a flexible mindset helps you succeed in your professional life.

Robin Sharma's "Megaliving" can be a good book to learn more about being proactive along with personal, professional, and spiritual success.

8. Helps you to Sleep better

Employee's productivity and performance also depend on the amount of sleep they take in a day. Insufficient sleep issues are caused due to work stressors that can increase health risks.

Lack of sleep increases the chances of mood disorders. It also develops depression, anxiety, or panic disorders at even greater levels.

Depression is a significant cause of absenteeism, presenteeism, and productivity loss among employees. It costs employers around $44 billion each year in lost productivity.

A book before bed helps you get a night of better sleep at night, boosts your mood, and reduces stress. It makes your body and mind less tired for the next day at work.

Try spiritual books before you go to sleep. Like, "Ikigai: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life" by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles or “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” by Matthew Walker are worth a read.

9. Reading as a Mindfulness Exercise

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Reading helps the mind to practice mindfulness. It can be a mindfulness technique to improve retention, mental and behavioral health. Mindfulness enables you to expand your outlook on life.

Many people read to relax and improve brain power. Despite treating this as a hobby one can practice this as a form of focused meditation.

A book or the words in it cultivates thoughts, feelings, emotions, and reactions that help you forget negative things. It enables you to settle down and enjoy the present. It is only possible to give your best at work when your thoughts are in place.

"Mindful and Effective Employees: A Training Program for Maximizing Well-Being and Effectiveness Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy." Indeed, an excellent book that will help reduce employees' stress.

Also Read: Mindfulness Meditation: Why To Practice At Work?

10. Develops Positive Thinking

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Happy thoughts also make a happy employee and a better workplace. Some benefits of reading also contributes to positive thinking like:

Books enhance positive thinking and positive attitudes. They motivate and inspire to change from a negative to a positive mindset.
Many employees, who want to improve their work-life, make progress, and reach their goals, are attached to books.

Also Read: 21 Positive Thinking Ideas For A Workplace To Encourage

Read "The Art of Happiness" by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler. This book will guide you through positive thinking and leading a happy life.

11. Helps you in Social Media Detox

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There is so much negativity around, and social media seems to emphasize more on negative news. Recent research shows that over half of the world's population is now on social media, increasing  9% over 2018. Social media addiction has influenced and shaped brains in many harmful ways.

Social media detox can be a master plan for a team's productivity. Engaging more on social media has made lives more superficial. It has reduced employee engagement and increased detachments leading to absenteeism.

Encourage reading to your employees to detox from social media.

Also read - Social Media Detox: All You Need To Know

Read "Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones" by James Clear. This book provides you with a framework to improve life by eliminating unhealthy habits.

12. Makes you a Better Leader

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There is this quote from a Hollywood movie. 'Ideas are bulletproof.' We often wonder how people became successful with one excellent idea that changed everything in and around us. Well, innovation and creativity are not like an apple falling from a tree in the 21st century.

Every visionary leader today is endowed with the skill of reading and learning.

People like Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, spend most of their day reading and recommend reading 500 pages a day. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, says he learned how to build rockets by reading books. But business visionaries who possess the virtues of reading always recommend nonfiction. Buffet recommended 19 nonfiction books in 2019. And Bill Gates recommended 94 books throughout seven years.

Powerful ideas meet influential minds when they are constantly looking for the answers around. Every book you read takes you one step closer to it.

Why not try 2021 International Booker Prize winner; "At Night All Blood is Black" by David Diop, translated from French by Anna Moschovakis.

Bottom Line

Employees today should emphasize having a coordinated approach towards life. They should combine intellectualization with practical implementation to create a work-life balance.

The benefits of reading without applying the knowledge in practical life is a waste. Therefore, encouraging your workforce to read will strengthen the work culture and improvise wellness at the workplace. It will enable employees to achieve their personal and professional best.

This article is written by Parismita Goswami who is a content writer and marketer at Vantage Circle. A feverish poet and cinephile with an intense taste for music, specifically rock, she has the heart of an explorer, learner, and is a lover of the Himalayas. To get in touch, reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com