Co-workers bond with extracurricular fun

Grant D. Crawford | Daily Press

Tommy Simmons, left, takes a cup from Jonathon Gammill at RiverHawk Nutrition, where the business tries to boost morale by getting together outside of work for various activities.

A friendly atmosphere and congenial colleagues at work can make the day go by more smoothly, so some local businesses try to ensure their employees are comfortable with one another by holding after-work activities.

According to a survey by Alcohol.org, the average Oklahoman spent $4,433 in 2019 on after-work drinks, and one in three said they think it's good for team bonding. While many co-workers in Tahlequah likely spend time together at local watering holes, others have found ways to boost morale without liquid encouragement.

RiverHawk Nutrition hosts end-of-month potlucks with its "coaches" to celebrate. The last potluck featured taco salad, nachos and tacos.

"Another thing that we do is we all try to go to the NSU basketball games together to support the team," said owner Jonathon Gammill.

The RiverHawk crew also likes to stay active together by participating in running and health events. Gammill said the time co-workers spend together outside the shop makes it easier when they're on the clock.

"It's for us to be normal around each other of course because we do the nutrition business, but we want to still be able to have fun and get to know one another better," said Gammill. "It's created much more of a family dynamic."

The Meigs Jewelry staff has become a tight-knit group, and owner Todd Mutzig said they like to think of themselves as a family.

One way he helps the employees bond is by keeping them well-fed and celebrating success.

"We'll do breakfast in the morning or something like that," said Mutzig. "On Tuesday, we had our kickoff meeting, and Paula and I cooked homemade Belgian waffles with all the trimmings. It was really to celebrate the success of the year, but also to lay the groundwork for all we want to try to accomplish this year."

The Meigs group has participated in bowling nights as part of Leadership Tahlequah, and this year, staff members volunteered once a month to help with the backpack program at Tahlequah Public Schools.

"We're around each other more than we're around our families at home," he said. "I feel like it is the most important thing to have the best environment, and if there's somebody that doesn't fit our culture, we get rid of them, because one bad egg can disrupt the whole team."

Steven Wright, manager at Century 21 Wright Real Estate, said the operation is "all work, all the time," but the business has still found ways for the team to have fun together during work hours.

"We do have monthly sales meetings where we have contests for agents and we go over new policies," said Wright. "We give everybody dinner and kind of hang out, socialize, talk about new deals that are in the market and things going on in the industry. That's mostly what we have, other than our yearly Christmas party and stuff like that."

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