Workplace book clubs offer a tried and true way to boost outcomes for your team and your bottom line. Reading reduces stress levels by 68%. And it only takes 6 minutes of reading to see that effect.
I can personally attest to this. On the days when I start my morning reading a book, or have a reading break at lunchtime, I feel calmer and more productive. I even find that it can inspire me to be more creative in my freelance and fiction writing.
It’s not surprising when you consider that reading fiction can make people better at decision-making by between 50% and 100%! Now that could make a big difference to workplace productivity and efficiency.
Reading is more accessible than ever, too. With ebooks, audiobooks, paperbacks, and hardbacks, there’s truly a way for everyone to enjoy a story.
So, let’s take a look at how you can build a workplace full of readers at your company by leveraging workplace book clubs:
How to build workplace book clubs
Find the right leaders
The person/people in charge of your workplace book clubs should already be fans of reading. In addition, they need to be willing to spread the word about how and why it’s great.
It also helps if they read in lots of different genres, because they’ll be able to keep an open mind to suggestions. Plus, that way they can introduce other members to genres they may not have considered before.
Pick how you’ll choose books
How often will you choose books? And, just as importantly, how will you choose books?
Will a different person pick the book each month? This is a good way to keep people involved and get them to share what they love.
Bestseller lists are also great places to find ideas, because chances are some employees may already want to read what’s on them to see what all the fuss is about (and if it’s justified).
When it’s time to share the chosen book of the month, make sure you have an employee group set up to keep everyone in touch. As with most initiatives, communication is key if you want people to stay engaged.
Invite people to join
Now, it’s time to recruit people!
- Send a company-wide email
- Post on Slack and/or Workrowd
- Invite people during meetings/catch ups
- Share it on social media (internally or externally)
- Drop individual invites, particularly if you know someone likes reading
Decide how everyone will share their thoughts
Will you catch up over video call? In person? Just chat over Slack or on Workrowd? A combination?
Pick a system that works for everyone.
Create talking points
It’s important to have talking points about the book to get the conversation going.
Otherwise, you risk hearing crickets as nobody knows what they should talk about.
For nonfiction, you could ask:
- What did you learn?
- Will you be making any changes in your life because of what you learned?
- Who do you think can benefit from this book the most?
- Did you find the book thought-provoking?
For fiction, you could ask:
- What did you think of the characters/who was your favorite?
- How did you feel about the writing style?
- Which scene or chapter stuck with you the most?
- What did you think of the ending?
- Did the beginning hook you?
- How does it compare to the film (if there is one)?
Titles to start workplace book clubs with
Here are some titles—on a range of topics—to help you start your workplace book clubs off with a bang:
Big Dress Energy – Shakaila Forbes-Bell
This is one of those books that will always stand out to me because it inspired me to experiment with my outfits.
Reading it made me realize the impact clothes have on mental health and the difference wearing my power colors makes to my mood.
Two months later, I’m still power dressing!
High Performance: Lessons From the Best on Becoming the Best – Jake Humphrey, Damian Hughes
Looking at the worlds of business and sport, this book analyzes the key ingredients of high-performance people and teams.
It features interviews from people like Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff, host of The Diary of a CEO podcast Steven Bartlett, and Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey.
I Will Teach You to be Rich – Ramit Sethi
An unusual way of looking at money management, but in the very best of ways. It’s funny, self-deprecating, and accessible.
Atomic Habits – James Clear
A classic for a reason. The tips here work great for neurodivergent folks, too.
The Art of Rest – Claudia Hammond
Worried you’ve got colleagues who are at risk of becoming workaholics? Or don’t understand just how important rest is?
This is just the book they need to read.
I read this at the end of last year when I felt guilty for taking the time out to rest. It made me realize that rest makes me better at what I do and has a huge impact on my mental health.
Never Split the Difference – Chris Voss
Negotiation is a key part of the business world. And that’s exactly what this book teaches.
Written by a former international hostage negotiator for the FBI.
Talk Like Ted – Carmine Gallo
If you want to improve your public speaking skills, or someone you know breaks out in hives at the thought of public speaking, this book is perfect.
It’s all about how to tell the best stories—just like in a Ted Talk.
Or, if you’re in the mood for some fiction…
The Ghost’s Call – K.C. Adams
Okay, I confess: I wrote this one.
But it’s the perfect time of year for a ghost story!
It’s a little bit spooky and seriously sarcastic.
The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary
Romance with a twist: the two characters share a bed, but never meet. It handles mental health in a much more open and honest way than a lot of books.
It’s also been adapted into a TV show.
The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
Absolutely nothing like the TV show or 90s adaptation, but full of spooky, haunting imagery.
This is classic horror in that it isn’t full of jump scares, but it will give you the creeps.
Workplace book clubs are a great way to connect employees and boost their wellbeing.
There’s a book out there for everyone. Sometimes we just need some help finding the right one. Workplace book clubs are the perfect place to do just that!
If you’re looking for a simpler way to organize initiatives like workplace book clubs, you’re in the right place. Workrowd’s all-in-one tool suite makes it easy to launch, manage, and measure employee groups, programs, and events.
You can send out announcements on all channels with a single click, organize all your events and materials in one central hub, and automate data collection and analytics.