I bet that the only thing you think is more far-fetched than following your passion. is having the opportunity to work somewhere where you could work with as many animals as people - without having to work at a zoo or animal shelter, at least. But you’re wrong: many companies are embracing the idea of bringing pets into the workplace, and it goes beyond the mom and pop corner shops you might be thinking of.
You may have heard of Amazon and Google, but do you know about their famous dogs whose legacies have shaped the offices and continued beyond their "employment"? Tom and Jerry might have been about a cat and a mouse, but Ben & Jerry’s is all about dogs. Some pets are just used for comic relief, others are there to encourage employees to get moving, and there are yet others who have actual job titles and customer-facing roles.
If your company already has pets, then read on for inspiration on how you could be using them better. If your company doesn’t allow pets, find out all the different ways they can be integrated into company life and how they’re more than just eye candy.
1. The Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant chain
Once upon a time (in 1981), Bill Kimpton had a beloved collie dog called Chianti. He enjoyed taking her to work with him, and the guests loved seeing her, so he decided to make her a permanent part of the staff. Fast forward to 2015, and walking into a hotel of this San Francisco-based group might just get you greeted by a doggy smile. They don’t just cater to your needs of a mint on your pillow and a fluffy bathrobe, either- their four-legged Director of Pet Relations is on hand to show your pet a great time too.
Anyone visiting Google’s Mountain View campus might enjoy a nice drink at Yoshka’s cafe without ever wondering where such an unusual name came from; Mrs Google’s first name? An acronym? No! It was named in honour of Yoshka the Leonburger dog, who used to come to work every day with her owner, the Senior Vice President of Operations.
These days Yoshka would have been in good company, as the Google offices now have a pet friendly policy in place that not only encourages employees to bring in their dogs, but makes sure each and every one of them is provided with an official name badge. Bad news for cat lovers, however; as much as the people at Google love them, cats aren’t allowed because it’s believed they would get too stressed around so many dogs.
Of course, Amazon also has a furry history. Their first dog was a corgi named Rufus, who was often written about on their website: now he has a building named after him with his name stamped on the door handles.
3. Ben & Jerry's
Tempted to work at Ben & Jerry’s for the free treats? No, not you, I’m talking to your dog. You would? Great! A tour of your new workplace means being introduced to each dog by name, as they’re treated like part of the staff. Dogs aren’t just there to entertain, you know, they have serious work to do: the dog in the picture above is in charge of making sure the tubs are sealed properly.
If you call during out of hours, you’ll hear a voice telling you that "the human you’re trying to reach is unavailable" and "the dog you’re trying to reach is unfortunately unable to have their own phone." To make up for this lack of such a basic office staple, regular carnival-type events are held in which they can win themselves some extra treats. (No word on whether the humans are invited. I suppose someone has to hand out the treats.)
Their dog-friendly policies have paid off in other ways too: one employee who was afraid of dogs when they first joined, found having them around so therapeutic that he eventually adopted two of his own!
If you are a dog owner, you would be very excited to work for Mars, as there’s an annual Halloween party in which the dogs get to dress up and take part in a costume contest, and there’s a food and board program to take care of them when their owners get sent away on business. 80% of the company’s volunteering projects are animal related, and all the employees are encouraged to run in 5k marathons, with the entry fee paid for them if it’s for an animal cause. Seems a bit unfair that dogs get to dress up and the humans are expected to run marathons, but they’re probably grateful for the exercise after working around candy all day.
5. The Nerdery
You might be thinking nerds and dogs don’t mix, but actually, they do. The Nerdery is a custom software design and development team that takes dogs in the workplace so seriously that they allow it to be one of the deciding factors for their set up locations. When they wanted to open an office in Chicago, they found that only one location allowed dogs, so that was automatically the only one they would took. It’s a tradition that’s been around since their inception, when co-founder Mike Schmidt’s dog Bentley could often be found around the office.
They’re not just around for decoration, either. Twice a month the pooches are pampered by groomers that visit the offices, and each week, they’re unleashed for "frolics in the Nerditorium." How great does that sound?
6. Chamber Of Commerce
Meet Bum. This little guy is the Head of Security at the Chamber of Commerce. Entrepreneur.com put him first on their list of the cutest office pets - they claim it’s in no particular order, but... come on. Look at it.
Why just have dogs when you can give them a title and help them feel so passionate about their company that they put themselves at physical risk to protect it? They say dogs are a man’s best friend, and a dog like Bum is just what you need to remind you how to wear your badge with pride.
So, if you thought it couldn’t get any better than the adorable little puppy you love to visit at your local pet store, you were wrong; it might be debatable whether dogs really do appreciate being cooped up in offices, but it’s no different to being stuck at home and in most of these cases the employees are encouraged to take them outside and they have plenty of parks and other open spaces where they can get some fresh air - more than they would be getting if they were home alone. It benefits the dogs, it benefits the people, and it benefits the company which is seen as friendly and the type of place people want to work with and for.
Do you know of any other great company pets? Does your company have a pet? How do you feel about the idea of having animals in the workplace? Let us know in the comments section below.