Work is work. At one time or another, there’s always going to be the pinch of deadlines, jam-packed meeting calendars and long hours. Along with being mindful of work-life balance, rewarding staff, and your clients, with a show of appreciation can go a long way in battling project fatigue and recharging creative juices.
Here are eight unique ways to show some office TLC:
Pocket Concerts, which plays chamber music recitals in private homes, recently added workplace venues to its staging roster of intimate, mobile performances. A unique concept created by professional violist Rory McLeod, Pocket Concerts brings together groups of two to 10 classically trained musicians for intimate salon-like presentations. Adequate lighting and room for musicians and audience members are all that’s required. Programs are customized in length and pieces, from Mozart to contemporary jazz played with chamber-music flare. Lively pre- and post-concert discussions engage audiences in the music’s history and the players’ passion for their art.Break out the cellos, violins and harps to serenade an end-of-project success.
For The Gals
Spa time is a divine treat, especially one appreciated after long work hours. Recharge the team with a pamper party in the chic, relaxing setting of Her Majesty’s Pleasure. Located on King Street West, the striking white, light-filled spacious spa,bar and café offers a full range of services. Group packages (five or more guests) include champagne and macarons. Private buy-out is available. The salon accommodates 50 to 100 people throughout with bespoke catering and in-house cocktail service. There’s even a intimate event nook where 12 can dine. A marble-topped manicure bar invites seven guests to socialize over a buff and polish, while six others recline in Muskoka chairs on the adjacent glass-enclosed patio enjoying mani-pedis.
For The Guys
Deadlines rule, which, for guys, let’s face it, sometimes means skipping the morning shave in favour of an early-a.m. desk start. Say thanks, plus welcome the re-appearance of freshly groomed faces and beards, with a private party at one of the city’s new old-style barbershops bent on introducing the finer points of a hot towel and straight-razor shave to millenials. Rod, Gun & Barbers, which is located in the Junction, bills itself as a gentlemen’s lounge. An unapologetic man cave, the shop is filled with angling and hunting taxidermy, retro signage, dart board, sports-tuned television and a bar stocked with beer, scotch and bourbon. And barbershop chairs, of course, from which great grooming happens. Post-shave, chairs push aside to make way for live music.
Board games are like a party-in-a-box, delivering raucous, interactive fun and competition-stoked socializing. Help break the strain of projects and deadlines by rolling the dice on a few hours of play with Board Again Games, a company of gamer enthusiasts who share their passion by coordinating public and private events around Toronto. Drawing from an inventory of over 200 games, Board Again’s game ambassadors put together a menu of choices customized to theme and skill – think logic, strategy building, dexterity and co-operative play – for any size group. Games are supplied and set up by the team’s friendly, knowledgeable gameologists who teach and facilitate the rules. Each session starts with an ice-breaking game warm up. Not enough office space? No problem. The company also books venues or can host on-site at their gaming space (Capacity: 30) at Dundas West and Roncesvalles.
Bypass the usual sandwich trays and opt for pop-up food stations in the boardroom and throughout the office serving delicious grub from hip local eateries. Theme the occasion’s menu to food style or culture. For example, think comfort food with a combo of soul-soothing goodness from Bobbie Sue’s Mac n’ Cheese and sister company Poutini’s. For a street-eats twist, reserve room in the parking lot for a food truck or three. Go for flavour diversity such as the Caribbean spice of the Jerk Brothers and Rancho Relaxo for authentic Mexican tacos. And don’t forget dessert! Novel carnival-based treats such as funnel cakes and deep-fried candy bars from Apple Fritter Factory make for a fun meal ending. See Toronto Food Trucks for a full menu of truck catering ideas.
Call an early end to the workday and catch a flick with the team at one of the theatre chains in town specializing in rolling out the red carpet for private viewings. Among its many locations, Cineplex has nine Ontario sites housing its upscale VIP theatres designed with oversized luxe seating, complete with handy snack tables, and licensed upscale bar-lounge. Rainbow Cinemas has five city locations that accommodate private screenings of first-run movies for groups of 50 or more including the Carleton Cinema which also offers private reception area and bar. Extend the appreciation by sending folks home with a movie pass to treat the whole family to quality down time.
Colour It Calm
Help staff find their happy place with an in-office colouring book session. This year has seen adult colouring books become all the rage with a proliferation of choices topping bestseller lists, colouring cocktail meet-ups in bars, and educational workshops. For an easy DIY event, select books with themes that will resonate with folks. Give a local shout-out with All The Libraries’ sketches of Toronto’s public libraries or United Colours of Kensington Market, featuring architecture of the cherished neighbourhood. Book and craft stores carry a wide selection of choices including the Secret Garden, the art-filled tome from Johanna Basford that triggered the trend. Don’t forget the colouring pencils!
Whether it’s once a week, once a month or every quarter, reward the team, and perk up midday’s dwindling sugar levels, with a special in-office delivery of sweet treats. Place a standing order with the Cookie Scoop. The online bake shop takes cookies to a whole new level with over 50 flavours, personalized multi-topping cookie pizzas and its signature kookiecups – a mini cupcake stuffed inside a cookie. Wheel in a mobile ice cream parlour cart from Sweet Sammies. The shop also offers a Hump Day Ice Cream Club delivering pints of its hand-crafted signature and limited-edition flavours on the first Wednesday of every month.