February 9, 2021
Bob Smith, adored owner of Dur-A-Flex, Inc. decided it was time for a vacation. Out of the office just three days and he was already being missed. In true Dur-A-Flex spirit, President and COO Peter Ferris decided the company needed an imaginative and fun way to show Bob exactly how much he was missed.
An email was sent out to all Dur-A-Flex team members:
Bob is out of town and we are all missing him very much. What to do when the keeper of THE IDEA and the man we love sneaks away for a few days? That’s correct, you make snowmen in his honor, film the shenanigans while they are happening and make a video and send it to him so that he knows we are thinking about him just as he is thinking about us……
Task: Build snowmen in Bob Smith’s honor (or likeness, whatever – Be Creative!)
Location: Out on the lawn (there is a fine line between gutsy and stupid here….)
Teams: Each department makes their own snowman
Reason: Because this is what we do at Dur-A-Flex
And that is exactly what they did! On Thursday, February 4, 2021, everyone housed at the East Hartford, CT headquarters headed outside for an hour of creativity, laughter, and friendly competition. Once Peter gave the official signal, teams all rushed out to their marked locations and started to build their Snow-Bobs.
Snow was rolled, packed, dyed—you name it. One by one the snowmen were constructed and props were added. Everything from Dur-A-Flex buckets, rollers, shirts, hats, work boots and hockey skates were incorporated. The teams rushed to finish their creations, but also took the time to enjoy each other and lob the occasional snowball at one another.
Each team’s creation was unique but there were definitely repeated themes. To understand some of the Snow-Bob themes, there are some things you should know about Bob Smith:
- He is as genuine as they come
- He was Dur-A-Flex’s first salesperson before becoming the owner of the company
- He has created an amazingly safe, happy, and loving company culture
- He loves to farm and drive his tractors
- He wears a lot of flannel
- If he asks someone what time it is, the answer is “the time is now”
- He believes that Dur-A-Flex is an idea and everyone within the company is equally responsible to keep the idea alive
- He does not refer to employees as such, he considers everyone owners
- Bob has the greenest lawn in East Hartford, and you don’t walk on it (unless you are part of the local police force and training your K-9—then you are welcome to)
In the end, it turned out that there was a tie for first and second place. To decide on the winner, Ed Cullen, CFO asked the teams to show off their snowball throwing abilities. Three members from each team were lined up and asked to throw snowballs at the “ugliest Snow-Bob.” The team would win one point for every hit to the body and two points if the Snow-Bob was hit in the head. One by one the teams launched their snowballs until winners were declared.
1st Place: Marketing
2nd Place: Operations #1
3Rd Place: Research & Development
As promised, all of the antics were recorded and sent to Bob.
Not only was this a great way to break up a work day, but it was a much needed activity at Dur-A-Flex. It enabled all departments to safely interact with one another. Since the initial COVID-19 shutdown in Connecticut, Dur-A-Flex, like most, has kept departments separated and enforced social distancing.
Social distancing is not a normal practice for this group. This is a company that hugs, laughs, and interacts with one another. Group activities and interaction are typically a weekly, if not daily event at Dur-A-Flex, whether a themed company lunch, an outing like bowling, picnics, parties, or even working out in the company gym, and taking yoga or boot camp classes together. Dur-A-Flex is always looking for fun activities to remind its people that they are important and their wellbeing matters.
So while everyone at Dur-A-Flex is glad that Bob got away for a few days, he was clearly missed. Although in truth, he is always really here.