A Big Team “Salud!”

2009 July 29
by Elizabeth Damewood Gaucher

Wine glass on a keyboard.
Creative Commons License photo credit: itchys

You know all about the “rules” of the business world; but I bet you also know how a judicious breaking of those rules can create trajectories of productivity and employee morale.

One rule I’ve frequently observed was “no drinking in the office.” Sure, there is always plenty of leaving work to lift a cold one with a colleague or client, but it was always an understood thing that it was for off-site.

I had a wonderful boss once who found a great way to revise and update this rule with good results. Our office was in a restored old house with a deck opening onto a wide green field of a side yard. Because it was a former residence, the office also had a full kitchen.

At the end of an especially stressful day, or upon completion of a big client project — or heck, when the moon was full on a Tuesday — she would stock the kitchen with wine and call everyone to the porch at 4:59 p.m. Wine flowed, as did conversation.

Perhaps not surprisingly, in our down time and with slightly lowered inhibitions, we would come up with some of our best ideas. One did not have to drink, but everyone was expected to come to the porch and laugh and talk and be creative and relaxed. It was genius.

I miss those days. I’m not sure if they are still doing it or not. It may have been the personalities working there at the time that made it magic, but I like to think a good broken rule like this can work wonders at any time and with any group.

Tell us about your most productive, rule-breaking work experience!

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