On a regular day at The Muse, the editorial team’s face first in their computers. We’re not ashamed of it—we like our table quiet and our work undisturbed so we can crank out the best career content for all of you.
But on Fridays around 4 PM, our dynamic changes. We close our laptops, grab a bottle of wine, and sit down for what we call “Wine Time.”
This tradition, while technically casual, has taken place every Friday for the past year and a half, as our team has grown from three, to four, to eight. It’s a non-judgmental space—come whenever you can, stay as long as you want, bring up whatever’s on your mind.
Before you accuse me of humblebragging, let me explain why this routine’s not only important to us, but why it matters to you. (Beyond, of course, the obvious fact that ending a day with wine is almost always a great idea.)
To me, it signifies a reward at the end of a long workweek. It’s nice to be able to stop working a little earlier than usual and connect with the team in conversations that often aren’t work-related at all. I think it’s a good form of team-building and bonding that doesn’t require a lot of time (we all lead busy lives, right?) or money.
Monday through Friday, almost everything we talk about is job-related: Is that article scheduled out yet? How do we feel about this title? Do you know which room we’re meeting in?
You probably experience the same at your office. Sure, you greet your co-workers in the morning and chat in the kitchen, but that’s typically the extent of the small talk. It’s only when you’re not in work mode—at happy hour, for example—when you can really get to know someone.
At Wine Time, we (at least try to) put work behind us. Instead, we discuss our new favorite TV shows, our weekend plans, our families and friends, (SFW) college stories, even politics. We create a space where we can be our most honest selves, and this actually makes us work better as a team during the week. It’s a funny thing, when you like the people you’re collaborating with, you’re far more likely to want to help each other out and reach big goals together.
If drinking in the office on a Friday afternoon isn’t something you can feasibly do, I get that. However, getting to know your co-workers outside the daily grind is truly worth it, because you’ll get to see them as more than just your colleagues. Instead, you’ll get a good reminder that they’re people with passions, skills, and a life outside their job.
So, consider creating your own tradition to bond as a team—whether it’s inside the office or not. Maybe it’s something as simple as organizing a monthly potluck lunch, or all agreeing to watch the same TV show and discuss for 30 minutes the next day, or making birthdays a big deal.
Or, maybe it’s no tradition at all. Maybe you just invite your co-worker out to lunch (and actually eat out of the office), or ask if your boss would like to grab a coffee and make it a point not to discuss upcoming projects.
Making the effort to hang out in an informal context will bring you that much closer to the people you see daily, and knowing more about who they are will ultimately help you work together more effectively.
Thinking about starting your own version of Wine Time? Let me know how it goes (or, snap a pic!) on Twitter @Alyslice.