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You keep hearing about companies postponing plans to bring people back to the office. There’s so much COVID-confusion, it’s tough to figure out how to keep employees safe.

And we’ve all seen the advantages of remote work over the past year and a half. Most everybody’s talking about moving to a hybrid approach at this point, and some employers are going all-virtual from here on out.

The founder of Firstbase is not a disinterested observer in all this. Chris Herd’s business is “leveraging the advantages of remote working.” Still, his outline of those advantages is interesting. One of them is what he calls a Hobbies Renaissance.

“Remote working,” Herd says, “will lead to a rise in people participating in hobbies and activities which link them to people in their local community.

This will lead to deeper, more meaningful relationships which overcome societal issues of loneliness and isolation.”

The renaissance seems to be underway.

There’s already been a surge in some hobbies as people searched for something to replace the social lives they had pre-pandemic. The craft store, Michael’s, saw online sales jump by 353% in the first part of 2020. Interest in woodwork, ceramics, needlework, has continued this year.

The Chicago Tribune says craft-minded Chicagoans are flocking to Indiana festivals, classes, and shops in search of supplies and lessons and camaraderie. And they’re finding all of that.

And the New York Times says flatly, “Hobbies are good for you.”

Benefits begin with “lower body mass index, smaller waists, lower blood pressure, lower stress hormones and better overall physical function” for people who have some kind of hobby.

People with hobbies sleep better, deal better with life’s inevitable stressful events, and “felt their lives had a greater sense of purpose and meaning.”

They also have more friends. NYT says, “spending more time on hobbies and leisure pursuits was associated with having a larger and more diverse social network.”

It all sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

But what if my “hobby” is work?

This very subject came up the other day during a delightful lunch with my friend Catherine Morgan, the career coach

What do we do for fun (other than sit outside eating tacos on a lovely Friday afternoon)? We work. Because we like our clients, we genuinely enjoy what we do, and we intend to do it for a good long while.

It’s Sunday afternoon now. A perfect time for leisure, relaxation, in short, for a hobby. What am I doing? Writing to you. Because I like writing these articles. (Believe me, after seven years of weekly writing, I’d have long since quit if I didn’t like it.)

I’m not sure writing a newsletter qualifies as a hobby, though. I don’t even write about hobbies  I did a search of past posts. Hobbies? “No results found.” Leisure? “No results found.” Pastimes? “No results found.”

Then I tried searching for FUN.

That turned up lots of results—articles I’ve written about fun. You may not be surprised that almost all of them were about some aspect of, yes, work.

I might need to get a hobby.

It’s true that I do crossword puzzles—at least one every day, often two. I usually do a Sudoku too. I enjoy that. And, if hobbies are supposed to lead to deeper, more meaningful relationships, crosswords don’t quite qualify, do they?

I still do a little bit of yoga, and that too is a solo pursuit for me. I haven’t been to a class in a long time and I’m probably not going back.

If I were going to pick something that really interests me, it would be conversation.

Maybe I could count that as a hobby if I were more intentional about arranging those exchanges? Lately I’ve been reaching out to people I don’t regularly (or ever!) see in person.

That’s how Two-Catherines-Lunching came about. I’m also creating some Reunions for Two, after my high school class reunion was cancelled for fear of super-spreading. Those get-togethers should create some great conversations.

This conversation idea has possibilities. It could definitely lead to more meaningful relationships. And, I wonder if it qualifies as a hobby.

And what about you?

Do you have “an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation?” If so, what is it?

Post your prediction on a Hobbies Renaissance in a comment below.