This week is Take Your Pet to Work Week. Bringing your furry companions into the workplace has become increasingly popular in recent years. The health benefits our pets can provide have been well-documented but the positive impact our fur babies can have in the workplace reaches behind the health aspect. Here are some of the reasons why we love pet-friendly work environments and 10 companies that are the leaders of the pack.
Why You Should Take Your Pet to Work
Everyone’s job has tough days and moments. A few minutes of petting, playing, or cuddling with your furry friend can help you relax and feel better immediately. That’s because petting our pooches results in decreased levels of the primary stress hormone cortisol, the adrenal chemical, and increased level of serotonin, which attributes to the feeling of happiness.
Bringing your pet to work is great for company morale as well. Companies that create pet-friendly workspaces show commitment and emphasis on its employees work experience and overall wellbeing.
Pets can also help you bond with your coworkers. Even for employees who are a bit shy, our pets make it easier to strike up a conversation with one another. Exchanging pooch stories with your coworkers and sharing play time with their fur babies help strengthen the connection between employees, allowing them to work together more effectively.
Of course, there are a few circumstances under which taking your pet to work may not be appropriate. If someone in the workplace close to you is allergic, leaving your furry friend at home may be a courteous thing to do. Workplaces that produce or serve food, or otherwise need to be sterile may understandably not allow pets.
Obviously, use your best judgement when it comes to bringing pets into the workplace. But if everyone’s OK with it, there’s no reason why your animal companion shouldn’t help make your and everyone else’s work days a little brighter.
A Quick Look at Some of Our Pet-Friendly Favorites
1. Amazon - The online retailer’s HQ in Seattle is committed to allowing employees to bring in their dogs, in order to boost morale. There can be as many as 6,000 canines there on any given day. The dogs even have their own special drinking fountains, so they can stay hydrated throughout the day, along with an off-leash dog park nearby for exercise and play. And if they’re lucky, they may even end up in the annual Dogs of Amazon calendar, whose proceeds are donated to the ASPCA.
2. Atlantic Health System - The New Jersey based healthcare provider allows employees to bring their dogs, not just to boost their own morale, but also to provide therapy to their patients. Their “Soothing Paws” program allows both employees and patients alike to bond with the dogs in a relaxing environment.
3. Kimpton Hotels - Guests and employees alike are allowed to bring whatever kind of pet they want to one of Kimpton’s 65 locations around the world, as long as it can fit through the doors. They provide everything from food and water bowls to toys and treats, and more. In fact, some branches even hire pets directly. Their “Director of Pet Relations” can test to ensure the amenities are pet friendly, as well as greet guests as they check in with a furry hug.
4. Build-A-Bear - Much like Kimpton’s Director of Pet Relations, at Build-A-Bear BQ (Bearquarters), they have a Chief Executive Dog. Milton gained the position through seniority, being one of the very first dogs brought to BQ. Now plenty of other employees bring their dogs as well, and Milton is there to show them the ropes (or at least to play with them and make friends).
5. Tradesy - This company allows you to buy and sell designer clothes, shoes, bags, and more. They also organize regular events for the dogs of their employees, provide pet insurance, and even choose a “Pup of the Month.” Of course, they recognize that your pet can’t go with you everywhere at work, so if you’re in a meeting, or just too busy to give your pet the attention they need, Tradesy’s “dog buddy system” lets you leave your furry friend with a less busy coworker for a few hours.
6. Mars, Inc. - Best known for making all your favorite candy bars from M&Ms to Milky Way to 3 Musketeers (and of course, Mars bars), also is a world leader in pet nutrition and pet care products. As such, they’re very welcoming to pets in the workplace. They provide basic guidelines for “petiquette” that helps people and pets work together safely and happily.
In March 2018, Mars, Inc partnered with The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) to launched the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ Grant Program. It is to help cities promote, support, and expand pet-friendly programs and policies in communities. Cities can now apply for a total of $100,000 in grants in 2018 to help create pet-friendly communities.
7. Etsy - The website through which crafters and creators can sell their wares has made dogs part of their company culture since they were first founded in 2005. Their headquarters has a “canine operations team,” which consists of a number of dogs on hand to provide morale boosts and creative stimulation. Many of their employees bring their dogs to work on a regular basis and management finds that their presence helps reduce stress, lift spirits, and provide a more nurturing working environment for everyone.
8. Tito’s Handmade Vodka - The Austin, Texas-based alcohol producer encourages pets of every kind. They can roam around the office as they please and even have a special play area next to the distillery. The company is also involved in animal rescue programs and donates regularly to shelters and similar organizations.
9. Ben & Jerry’s - The ice cream manufacturer’s headquarters in Vermont has a whole gallery on their website of what they call their “K9-5ers.” The reception desk has dog treats to greet the pets that come in with employees, and they’re an important aspect of employee culture, bonding with other workers and being given cuddles, walks, and more throughout the day.
10. Zynga - The game development company is actually named after one of its founder’s pet bulldog, "Zinga". Their logo is a silhouette of that dog, so of course they love and welcome pets on site. Not only do they encourage employees to bring their pets with them every day, they also offer pet insurance, and even have a rooftop (or “wooftop”) dog park on top of many of their HQ buildings.
There are a myriad of potential benefits of a pet-friendly workplace and these are just a handful of companies that strive to create such an environment for their employees not just during Take Your Pet To Work week, but all year round. Knowing there’s a cuddly companion on hand to provide you the support you need can help make the workday a lot more fun and productive for everyone.