When I was in the third grade, all I wanted was a dog. I would use a recurring homework assignment—writing sentences using the spelling words of the week—to emphasize my feelings: “My sister wants a kitten but I want a dog…” or “My new puppy likes to play in the grass.” My parents finally got the point and got me a dog.
Now much older, my enthusiasm for puppy friends has not ceased. I probably annoy my friends by pointing out every cute dog we see while walking around San Francisco. I really just want to pet all the dogs. That’s why I am eternally excited that Bright has joined the ranks of dog-friendly offices and I get to see these cuties every day at work. It is my sincere pleasure to introduce the Bright Dogs to you today!
Breed: Irish Terrier
Age: 17 weeks
Owner: Rob, Product Manager
Bodie’s puppy nature leads him to chew on everything and spend his days finding new ways of escaping his play pen. When Bodie isn’t attending important business meetings, he is busy overseeing his corners and making sure his side businesses are running smoothly.
Name: Kermit Von Frogglebottom
Breed: French Bulldog
Age: 9 months
Owner: Nick, Marketing
Kermit enjoys the finer things in life. He’s a connoisseur of fine peanut butter who enjoys meeting new people and receiving head scratches. Kermit spends most of his days supervising the marketing team’s operations, usually by snoring under a desk.
Breed: Boston Terrier
Age: 1.5 years
Owner: Sifang, Sysops/Engineering
Maximus is the self-appointed sheriff. Taking community safety seriously, he patrols the office tirelessly. While off-duty, Maximus waits near the stairs and greets everyone with a puppy kiss.
Breed: Entlebucher Sennenhund
Age: 1 year
Owner: Cecchi, Front End Engineer
Tui made the long journey from Boston to San Francisco when Cecchi joined the Bright team. He misses his old doggie best friend, Reggie the French Bulldog, but now enjoys wrestling his canine coworkers at Bright HQ.
What all this means for Human Resources: commentary by Josh Barger, PHR
More and more offices are becoming dog-friendly, so I asked Josh, Bright’s HR guru, to talk about the HR implications of allowing dogs at work.
Q: Why did Bright decide to become a dog-friendly office?
A: We survey our team yearly about the company as a whole, our culture, our benefits, and what we can improve on. This year, a good portion of our team expressed interest in allowing dogs at the office. In the months leading up to Bright’s move to our new office space, we did another survey to see what the team was most hoping for in the new office. Once again, there was an abundant show of interest in having dogs in the office. Based on this feedback, we kicked off the research process and came up with a pet policy that everyone could agree on.
Q: What are some of the benefits of having dogs at work?
A: There are plenty. First and foremost, it’s one less thing that our dog-owner employees have to worry about. Rather than wondering if their dog is destroying their apartment, or if their dog got taken out for a walk, the owner can look down and see Fido smiling in approval. There are actual health benefits as well. There have been studies that show that petting a dog can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. I can attest to seeing employees taking 5 minute breaks to bond with one of the Bright dogs, and then walking away smiling and refreshed. Honestly, who can’t help but smile when a tiny French bulldog attempts to attach itself to your arm?
Q: What should an office consider before becoming dog friendly?
A: There are plenty of things that need to be considered. To name a few: allergic employees, employees that may be uncomfortable around dogs, liability in the event of damage or injury, where the dogs will stay during the day, where they will eat and drink, what to do if a dog is disruptive, what to do if a dog becomes aggressive towards other dogs or people, and what to do if a new employee joins who is allergic or uncomfortable around dogs. A lot needs to be taken into consideration to create a comfortable environment for employees and dogs to co-exist, as well as protect the company. If you’re seriously considering allowing dogs in the workplace, it’s best to have a quick call with legal counsel to discuss the risks and how to mitigate them.