Here at Hothouse, we’re definitely used to cross-functional collaboration when it comes to projects for our clients. This weekend, though, we reached a new peak level of teamwork as nine Hothousers volunteered for a Habitat for Humanity house build project in Atlanta.

7:30am – Clad in ball caps and worn-out jeans, we arrive at the house, gathering in the driveway. We’re not used to such an early call time (hey – we work at an agency! What do you expect?), so most of us come armed with coffee. This is the sixth day of an eight-day build, so the house is already close to completed. We’re going to be working on some finishing touches.

7:50am – Our crew leader, Reid, runs through his safety instruction spiel and introduces the homebuyer and her teenage daughter. Habitat homebuyers are required to take financial literacy courses as well as put in over 200 hours of “sweat equity” working on other builds in order to buy their homes.

Reid asks for volunteers with carpentry skills, and we’re surprised to see our own Nick Schittone’s hand go up. As it turns out, Nick worked construction before he became the EVP of Business Development we all know and love today. Look at that – learning something new about each other and it’s not even 8:00 in the morning.

Most of the rest of us are lacking carpentry experience, so we’re assigned to painting the front porch.

8:30am – A few of our guys have been given caulking guns and head inside with their marching orders. The painting crew is getting into their groove, making progress on the blue and white porch. Nick is somewhere carpent-ing. Soft rock hits of the 80s and 90s quietly play from Reid’s speaker in the front yard.

We’re still highly caffeinated, so we’re able to keep up the momentum throughout the morning – with a few water and Snapchat breaks, of course. Senior Account Manager Jamie Miles is a Habitat veteran, so he gives us some valuable pointers as we work like “don’t ruin anything.” Words to live by.

11:15am – With the front porch nearly done, a few of us move to the smaller porch on the side of the house, paintbrushes in hand. Project Manager Austin Delk has climbed up a ladder, touching up the paint on a few spots around the front of the house, while Senior Account Manager Rachel McClurg makes her way through the house’s interior, working on ceiling touch-ups.

We’re starting to lose steam. The sounds of Alanis Morissette hits are now being drowned out by our grumbling stomachs. When does lunch get here?!

1:00pm – With tummies full of sandwiches and chips, we’re feeling better and ready to knock out the rest of our tasks. Director of Project Management Jen Wyss warns us that the side porch’s timeline is in jeopardy. Two hours to go. Let’s do this! Creative and account service team members Sarah O’Bryan and Michael Goodroe join their paintbrushes in harmony toward one common goal. No plank will go uncoated. No bannister left bare.

2:00pm – Andy Harrison, our VP of Tech, has taken one for the team, facing his fear of heights (which we also didn’t know about – this team building team is so enlightening) and volunteering to climb up a very tall ladder to help with paint touchups on the back of the house. Andy, we’re so proud of you! Andy, can you hear us up there? Andy! Hey, Andy!

2:30pm – The day is almost over and it’s time to clean up the work site. Senior Designer Gary O’Bryan puts some gloves on and gets to work, picking up equipment and building material from all over the yard. Isn’t there a Photoshop filter for this? Soon we’re all pitching in, rinsing out paintbrushes and rags, and scouring the yard for tools to deliver back to Reid’s truck.

3:00pm – We say our goodbyes and our “see ya on Monday”s and head to our homes, our showers, and our beds. We need a nap.