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All Contents © 2017The Kiplinger Washington Editors
By Sarah Smith, Intern
| August 2017
While Donald Trump has yet to appoint a four-legged friend to walk the halls of the White House (making him the first president since William McKinley not to have a dog), his Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, made history this March when he debuted a program allowing dogs in certain government offices. While this may have been a first for the government, many companies have known for years that letting man’s best friend come to work can boost employee satisfaction and retention rates.
A recent study from Banfield Pet Hospital put numbers behind these policies, noting that about two-thirds of the human resources decision makers polled said that potential job candidates inquire about pet policies during the application process. Pet-friendly companies are more likely to retain talent as well — 82% of employees surveyed said they feel greater loyalty to their company because of pet-friendly policies. Other studies also speak to the popularity – and health benefits – of having dogs at work, even for employees who don’t have a pet of their own. As of 2016, 8% of employers allowed dogs in the office, up from 5% in 2013.
If you can’t bear to say goodbye to Spot each morning on your way to work, check out these 10 companies across the U.S. that will not only let you keep him at your desk but may also help with doggy day care, money for pet adoptions and even pet insurance.
Courtesy of Amazon
Number of employees: 341,400
Dogs allowed: every day
Dog-friendly policies since: 1990s
Amazon has been dog-friendly since its earliest days. Rufus, a former editor-in-chief’s Welsh Corgi, was the first pup to roam the company’s Seattle headquarters and is credited with launching Amazon’s music and video stores with one of his paws (aided by an employee, of course). Now, his picture hangs all over the campus, and a building is named after him.
A few decades later, more than 4,000 dogs are registered to come into the office, and as many as 500 are there on any given day. Before an employee can bring his or her pooch in, the employee must talk to managers and teammates to ensure that everyone is comfortable with the new addition, and submit paperwork including proof of vaccinations. With so many dogs on file, Amazon knows its pack like it knows its customers: The three most popular breeds are golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers and labradoodles, and the most popular names are Lucy, Bella and Charlie.
Courtesy of Ben & Jerrys
Headquarters: South Burlington, Vermont
Number of employees: 500+
At the offices of the celebrated ice-cream makers, some “employees” have different interests. Scout loves daily visits with Isabel; Tank and Lola play Frisbee together; and Cinnamon looks forward to games of fetch. As you may have guessed, they’re not humans but are part of the firm’s “K9-5ers” program, which brings 20 to 30 dogs to the office each day. Since the company’s inception, dogs have been allowed in buildings (but not in the kitchen or conference spaces). Members of the program must follow the Canine Code of Conduct (squeaky toys must stay at home, and employees with dogs must have fresh water near their workspaces at all times), and workers are encouraged to take breaks to tend to their dogs’ needs, such as playing on the company’s lawn or at a nearby park.
Spokesperson Lindsay Bumps says an employee-led dog committee helps resolve issues involving animal misbehavior and employees who are uncomfortable around pups. Ben & Jerry’s boasts a 97% employee retention rate, and Bumps says that dog-friendly policies “absolutely” are a factor.
Courtesy of Build-A-Bear
Headquarters: St. Louis
Number of employees: 1,000
Dog-friendly policies since: early 2000s
Build-A-Bear founder Maxine Clark always loved dogs but wasn’t allowed to have one at home when she was growing up. That drove her decision to have dog-friendly policies in her company’s St. Louis headquarters. Now, as many as 15 dogs join their owners in the building each day.
In accordance with the company’s “doggy onboarding” policy, barkers and biters aren’t allowed in the office. While dog-friendly policies are a perk for employees, Build-A-Bear makes sure the pups get perks, too. Canine employees frequently are treated to doggy “cele-bear-ations” with frosty paws for the dogs (and birthday cake for the humans).
Courtesy of Eventbrite
Headquarters: San Francisco
Number of employees: 500
Dog-friendly policies since: 2006
Eventbrite, a San Francisco-based event-planning company, has allowed “Barklings” in the office since its inception. However, the company’s landlord only permits five dogs each day, so employees must vie to reserve spots for each day they want to bring in their pups, as the company currently has 35 registered dogs.
Before they can start reserving spots, employees must submit veterinary documentation, commit to the Four Paw Pledge — promising they’ll be responsible, transparent, pragmatic and compliant — and bring their dogs in for a good behavior interview. Barkling Ambassadors—employees who are passionate about having dogs in the office and comply with the pledge—conduct the interviews to determine if dogs are well behaved. With the wishes of those who don’t like dogs in mind, the company has made spaces such as the kitchen, bathrooms and conference rooms dog-free.
Courtesy of Glassdoor
Headquarters: Mill Valley, Calif.
Number of employees: 700+
Dog-friendly policies since: 2013
For Glassdoor, a company that allows employees to anonymously review their workplaces, instituting dog-friendly policies was a relatively low-cost way to encourage employees to bring their “whole selves” to work, as the company puts it.
On an average day, there are as many as 30 dogs in the office, although there are designated areas that are dog-free for people who have allergies. Glassdoor employees must follow “doggie rules,” including keeping pets on a leash or in a crate, and making sure their dogs play well with others, don’t bark and are housebroken.
Glassdoor also encourages a dog-friendly workplace among the firms it profiles. Last year, on National Bring Your Pet to Work Day, it asked firms to post a picture of dogs in the workplace to their Glassdoor corporate pages.
Courtesy of Google
Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.
Number of employees: 72,053
Dogs allowed: as often as twice a week
Dog-friendly policies since: 1998
Tech giant Google is a proud member of team dog — the employee code of conduct reads “Google’s affection for our canine friends is an integral facet of our corporate culture. We like cats, but we’re a dog company, so as a general rule we feel cats visiting our offices would be fairly stressed out.” Since the company’s inception, dogs have been allowed on Google’s main campus once or twice a week. Frequent canine visitors are issued their own IDs that attach to their collars so they can roam the buildings freely.
Employees are responsible for their dogs’ care, supervision and cleanliness while at work, and they are instructed to be mindful of colleagues who are allergic or uncomfortable with animals. Spokesperson Ty Sheppard says that dogs add a playful and dynamic atmosphere to the campus — and most importantly, they serve as an extension of family for many employees.
Courtesy of Purina
Number of employees: 6,500
It may not come as a surprise that pet supply company Purina’s offices are dog — and cat — friendly. It opened its doors to furry friends in 1998 and has since expanded its “Pets At Work” program to encourage and teach other companies about dog-friendly policies. Each week, the offices see a few hundred dogs and cats, who must be up-to-date on vaccinations and exhibit good behavior. Spokesperson Lorie Westhoff says it’s up to employees to know their pets and whether or not they’ll succeed in an office environment.
Westhoff says, “Simply put, Purina is a pet care company full of pet lovers. Pets are central to our lives, both personally and professionally, so allowing pets in our offices feels like the right thing to do. It also goes a long way toward promoting the balance between work and home.”
During the day, dogs can exercise at an on-campus dog park or on paths designed for dog-walking. Purina’s pet perks don’t end there. Purina gives employees $200 to help offset the costs of adopting new pets. They also receive free treats and discounts on all Purina food and cat litter products.
Courtesy of Salesforce
Number of employees: 14,000
Dog-friendly policies since: 2014
At the San Francisco-based headquarters of customer relationship management company Salesforce, employees have access to “Puppyforce,” a communal workspace for dog owners and their furry friends. Since 2014, this workspace has offered a combination of doggy day care and shared office spaces, so employees can work while supervising their pets.
This hybrid workspace was the result of compromise. After soliciting feedback from employees during a trial run of a dog-friendly policy, Salesforce decided to create an independent, soundproof workspace for dog owners, with special rubber flooring because of concerns raised about allergies, hygiene and disruptive barking.
In its permanent form, Puppyforce requires reservations for one of its shared workspaces, accommodating a total of six employees. If interested, employees at the California headquarters must reserve space on a daily basis in advance. All dogs must have security badges and photo IDs. While the company currently offers Puppyforce only at its California property, it says it is considering expanding the program to offices around the globe.
Courtesy of VMware
Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.
Number of employees: 20,000
VMware, which specializes in cloud and virtualization software, maintains an open campus policy under which employees’ friends and families are welcome at holiday celebrations, concerts and social events. The company extended this policy in 2014 to allow four-legged friends at work too.
Even before dogs were allowed on VMware property, the company offered pet insurance as a benefit, which spokesperson Michael Thacker says helps the company attract and retain workers. The company offers two plans through Nationwide, and both reimburse 90% of expenses on vet bills, including accidents, illnesses and hereditary conditions. One of the offered plans also reimburses expenses relating to wellness exams and routine appointments.
Courtesy of Zynga
Number of employees: 1,700
Dog-friendly policies since: 2007
At video game developer Zynga’s San Francisco headquarters, dogs are welcome every day and have been since the company’s founding in 2007. In fact, the company credits its name, logo and office signage to its founder’s American Bulldog, Zinga.
Employees must complete dog registration forms every six months, and dogs must be housebroken, licensed in San Francisco and up-to-date on vaccinations. When dogs aren’t busy soaking up attention at their owners’ desks, they can check out the company’s “Barking Lots” — grassy areas near café and kitchen spaces — where they can socialize while employees eat. They can also take a trip to the “Wooftop,” a rooftop space where are allowed to play off-leash. And the company’s food services also tend to the canine companions, with dog treats from the bakery and, on special occasions, leftover bones from the in-house butcher.
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