Playing Together at Work

Playing Together at Work

Author: Chris Massie December 15, 2023

Not Working Together

Last week everyone in our company set aside one whole day to not work. That’s right! We didn’t do our regular job last Friday.

Most days–actually, every other day–each of us is working in our specific role to accomplish the big mission of our company: to care for people when they experience water damage or fire damage.

  • We swing hammers.
  • We paint walls.
  • We cut door trim.
  • We make phone calls to order supplies.
  • We reconcile spreadsheets.
  • We meet with customers to find out how we can help them during the restoration process.
  • We write estimates.
  • We talk with insurance agents and insurance adjusters.
  • We answer phone calls.
  • We send emails.
  • We rack our brains of how to better serve our customers.

Yet we stopped all of that last Friday to spend time together.


Serving Together

Most of our team went to the West Ohio Food Bank first thing in the morning to help sort pallets of supplies. Our team is incredible! We were told that most team who help them out are able to sort and process 1 or 2 pallets of materials each hour. But our team?! Our team sorted and processed 17 skids in just one hour!!!

We work well together every single day as we help restore homes and buildings after water damage or fire damage. We were not surprised to hear that we surpassed what most groups are able to do while serving in such a way.

After a coffee run on the way back to the office, we met for our annual company Christmas party. This is always a ton of fun!


Honoring Each Other

Our company’s leaders share some highlights from the past year, and they share some of the vision of where we are headed in 2024.


This year was the second year of giving out special awards to honor and recognize specific individuals for serving in their capacity. Here are the awards given out this year:

“Golden Hammer” Award – Clayton
“We Care” Award – Justin
“Customer Service” Award – Sheris
“Perseverance” Award – Chris



Joe was given a massive Rice Krispie treat because he has earned the reputation of snacking throughout the day.


Randy and Ben handed out coffee mugs with silly characters on them because they reminded them of certain employees. They will enjoy their morning coffee with a smile now!


Ben and some others surprised Randy and Paul because their favorite college football team (that one from “up North”), had a great season. They were given the honor of sharing a 22 oz chocolate football to remember it!


Eating Together

After this we ate a delicious, home-cooked lunch together. It was so good getting to talk with each other about our families and how our kids are doing. Getting to hear about each other’s families tends to unite us in a new way as we realize that each coworker represents a whole family of individuals. My coworker is not just my coworker, but a member of a family who cares for each of the other family members and supports them with their dreams and goals and desires. It’s always helpful to make that human connection with our coworkers.


Playing Together

After lunch, we played games and won lots and lots and lots of prizes.

Playing games together is always an interesting experience. At the start of each game, most of us are nervous about what is to be expected from us in that game. The first thing we did was split up into four teams and build a Gingerbread House.

The thing is, we restore homes every single day, and we do really good work. But when it comes to a house made of gingerbread–well, that’s another story! Last year, multiple houses didn’t even stay standing for the judging part. This year, all of them remained standing, so that was quite an improvement! Two teams were tied for first place based on construction and decorating, so each had to create a story for the scene they were depicting. By round of applause, the winners were the Coming Home for the Holidays. (We all failed to get a picture of the finished houses!)


One game we played was Blind Christmas Tree. For this one, one team member would put on glasses that were covered in tape, making it impossible to see through. Someone would spin the person around and their team would have to give directions of where to walk to place an ornament on their tree. It was challenging, and it was hilarious! Check out some of these pictures.


Another game we played was Christmas Balloon Pop. Each person tied a balloon to each ankle. When the timer started, each team tried to pop the balloons of everyone on the opposing team. It was absolutely hilarious watching everyone run around, dancing and hopping their way toward others and away from others. Some of us were very nimble on our feet, while some of us were not. It was quite a workout participating in this game.


Throughout the afternoon while playing games, the winners were given permission to pick a prize. There were six tables loaded with all sorts of prizes. Things like tools or extension cords or gloves or tool boxes or clothes or home decorations or candles or puzzles or gift cards. This is the highlight for many of us as we search out prizes for ourselves and for someone in our family. It’s a fun, very generous way that Swartz takes care of the employees.


We are a Family

Spending time together, playing together, does a few things.

First, it unites our team together in a new way. As mentioned before, we come to realize that each coworker represents a family that is different than ours, and yet we all go through similar things in our families.

Second, we get to see each other laugh in ways we don’t often get to while we are working on a normal day. Laughing with each other, and laughing at ourselves, is a great way to bond us together.

With the meal, the prizes, the heartfelt words, the eye contact, the hand shakes–each employee leaves the Christmas party knowing that the top leaders at Swartz Restoration care for them.

  • Randy cares.
  • Ben cares.
  • Paul cares.

They each lead by example and care for us, as we, in turn, work to care for each customer we help through our role at Swartz.

This is a great place to work, and this week we are more thankful for those we work with. We work well together, and the bonds we solidified last Friday have brought us together even more.

Merry Christmas from all of us here at Swartz Restoration.