I recently sponsored a 'Wine and Canvas' party at the office and it was an absolute blast. If you've never heard of a wine and canvas party, essentially it's a mobile business wherein an art instructor brings a couple of bottles of wine and teaches everyone how to do a simple painting -- ours was a little landscape of green hills and colorful trees set in front of a blue sky. But despite the lightheartedness of the activity, I have been grilled with questions from my stodgier colleagues about how, if at all, these sorts of events help my business. On the surface, having a glass of wine and painting a pretty picture may seem kind of silly for a staff of adults at a business services agency to partake in. But dig a little deeper and you'll be able to see how it really does help to benefit your company.
1. These events reduce stress.
Art therapy is not a new concept, and has been clinically shown to reduce stress in dementia patients. But art therapy can be very useful for reducing stress, even if you aren't suffering from any sort of mental illness. When you create something, you are engrossed in it, distracted from whatever is causing you to worry and focused on a constructive outlet. A Greek study on productivity in the workplace found that stress absolutely kills productivity. If your office is stressed out -- whether it comes from work or not -- they aren't going to work as well as they could. Anything to help increase productivity should be seen as a boon to business, so what's the harm in having a few paintbrushes and a canvas come to your aid every now and then?
2. Departments are able to talk and bond together.
One of the biggest problems of a growing business is how to foster inter-departmental communication. When a business is made up of three employees, everyone talks to one another -- there is no way around it. But when you start to expand and hire and divide your office into different departments, you quickly find that everyone becomes much more insular. Sales talks to sales, IT talks to IT, marketing talks to marketing. That might be okay, but recently my sales team gave my marketing team some great ideas and I saw how useful inter-departmental communication is. Our wine and canvas party got everyone onto the floor and working next to people they don't normally talk to. Even though they may have only talked about how their paintings were turning out, this brief bit of bonding can really help foster future communication.
3. The party was fun, and it is okay to have fun.
I've written this before, but it is a mantra worth repeating -- a happy worker is a good worker. Having some fun in the office isn't something that should be scoffed at. It should be celebrated! It means that your employees are happy enough to relax and actually enjoy themselves. The last thing you want is for the people in your office to hate coming in every day, so letting loose, even for a couple of hours while you paint and sip wine, is never a bad idea.
I thought our wine and canvas event was a huge success. True, it took a couple of hours away from the stereotypical 'productive' business day, but at the end of the day everyone had fun. That, in my mind, is something to be proud of. It means that my employees -- the people who have helped me build this business into something great -- were able to unwind and enjoy themselves. People might have looked at our office on our Facebook page and wondered how the heck we ever got any work done, but I can honestly say it is because of these events that we work as well as we do. So my advice to anyone building up their business is don't forget to set aside an hour or two every now and then to drink some wine, and maybe paint a happy little tree.