With approximately 20% of US companies now having a dog-friendly policy and more studies showing the benefits of these policies, there are many worthy and innovative businesses that deserve recognition for welcoming dogs. In recognition of Bring Your Dog to Work Day (June 22) The Bark editors have compiled some notable, dog-friendly businesses.
Autodesk (San Rafael, California)
This was one of the first software companies who initiated this trend. Recognition of the benefits of dogs in their workplace is even written into their corporate bylaws. About 5 percent of the company’s nearly 7,000 employees take advantage of this benefit. Other perks include offering a dog insurance group plan and dog training classes scheduled during lunchtime. According to Michael Oldenburg, Autodesk spokesman, “Having a pet also encourages employees to take breaks during the day that they may not take if they didn’t have a pet.”
Bissell (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
This is a vacuum cleaning company that is seriously committed to animal causes with their Bissell Pet Foundation to promote pet adoption and animal welfare with the goal of awarding more than $250,000 in grants annually. CEO Mark Bissell and his wife, Cathy, have three Labs and fully 72 percent of their employees are pet owners. Not only are workers encouraged to bring their dogs to the office, but the company actually constructed an animal-friendly space called The Bissell Pet Spot, complete with indoor kennels, a bathing station and outdoor play area.
Ben & Jerry’s (South Burlington, Vermont)
In 2000, a volunteer group of staff members created the official pet policy in a proactive, team effort. “It spelled out the need to respect people who are scared of dogs or are allergic,” says Lisa Wernhoff. “No dogs in any conference room, lunch room, or bathrooms; no dogs hanging outside your little cubicle, in the aisles, or public spaces. It spelled out where dogs could go potty. We didn’t want people complaining, and tried to head off any problems.” Public relations spokesman Sean Greenwood says that there are 110 human employees and approximately 15 to 20 dogs at the company’s corporate headquarters.
Replacements, Ltd. (Greensboro, North Carolina)
For more than 15 years, Replacements, Ltd., a service-retail tableware company, has maintained a dog friendly attitude even in spite the curious noses and wagging tails among fragile items like the crystal, china and other collectibles for which this company is known. But Vice-President of Human Resources Jeanine Falcon says that it’s allowed speaks to CEO’s Bob Page’s generous philosophy. Today, even customers may bring well-behaved dogs into the showroom.
Their formal pet policy requires each dog to be current on vaccinations, on a six-foot leash at all times, and polite to people and other dogs. They emphasize that “your pet’s behavior is your responsibility,” they also stress good training.
Printing for Less (Livingston, Montana)
This company is the nation’s first commercial online printer. Almost from its start it allowed dogs, the first being Jessie, belonging to the founder, Andrew Field. Many more followed, with around 15% of their workers now taking advantage of this policy. Their headquarters was designed to be dog-friendly, with concrete floors and trails around the building, that includes a waterfalls and pond system that the dogs love to swim in. All dogs have to be “interviewed” and abide by their official dog policy including that they cannot be aggressive or disruptive, and need to be housebroken. People must sign a waiver of responsibility too. They have a three strikes and you’re out rule in effect. As Field has noted, when people come in for interviews and see all the dogs, they know it is a dog-friendly environment, so if they aren’t comfortable with that, they might consider working elsewhere.