Celebrating Office Dogs is a new blog series where we pay tribute to the companies that embrace the canine culture and allow their employees to bring their dogs to work.
At Ruffwear, we know there are many benefits to having our canine sidekicks by our side but we wanted to explore the benefits that other companies see in opening their offices to dogs, what special accommodations (if any) they put in place to make the office dog-friendly, and hear their inspiring and, at times hilarious, office dog stories.
The first company that we are highlighting is Ibex. We reached out to Ibex because it is very clear that they embrace dogs and treat them as part of the company. The dogs have even beaten the humans of the company to having their own webpage!
Ibex is an outdoor wool clothing company. Their “our company” page sums up their ethos perfectly – “Ibex Outdoor Clothing is a wool clothing company. We’re a natural fiber company. A thoughtful design company. An excellence-in-product-development company. We’re a hiking-before-dawn company. A dogs-in-the-workplace company. A bike-to-work company. We’re also a community-supported-agriculture company, a cross-country-ski marathon company, a coffee-in-front-of-the-woodstove company.”
We asked Evan Kay at Ibex few questions about their dogs and how they play a role in the company and its office culture. Here is what he shared with us:
How many employees are at Ibex?
Forty-eight people in the office.
How many dogs do you see in the office on an average day?
Are there any unique changes or things that your company has done to accommodate dogs in the office?
Everyone makes their space unique to accommodate their pets, but most recently Ibex was voted as the best office for Purina’s Pets at work contest. With our prize money we made the office more pet friendly. We ordered plush dog beds for all the dogs, installed nice gates, mounted leashes at every exit, installed two doggie doo composters, and several water stations throughout the building. See the improvements HERE.
Having the pets in the office makes for a less stressful environment. I’m not saying we’re never stressed out at the office, but having pets around affords us the opportunity to release stress by taking our pets for walks or by playing games like fetch or tug-o-war. Having pets in the office also increases our workflow. People don’t feel bound to rush home or limited by the activities they want to do after work because their pets are with them throughout the day.
“They are always happy, so if we have a bad day petting a dog makes us fell better and they love our attention and show it!” added Cathy Foutch. Terry Gault also shared, “my dog is my best friend and it’s a comfort as well as a relief to have her at work with me. I don’t have to worry about how she is or if she needs anything and she breaks up my day with some fresh air, exercise and smiles.”
One of our favorite responses came from non-dog-owner Denise Nivsion. She said “personally, I do not have a dog but I greatly benefit from my co-workers bringing their dogs to work. I love being able to make a loop around the building at the end of the day and say hello to all the dogs-all play and no work- any stress or tension that has built up melts away instantly. Just like everyone in the office has a role and personality, the dogs do as well. In a lot of ways, I think they help us have a greater respect for each other and our work spaces. It’s not just one culture-humans, its two-dogs and humans. Both cultures can teach and learn new tricks, take cues, and expand together as one crazy Ibex culture.”
Can you share with us the funniest or favorite office dog moment at Ibex?
We’ve had several. One time our warehouse dog jumped into the front seat of the FedEx driver’s truck because he’s always greeted with treats from the driver. Another time, a hungry chocolate lab ran next door to a hotel, opened the automatic doors and found his way into conference room in progress and jumped onto a table and started eating their lunches. There was also the time when the pug escaped out of customer service and ran straight to the CEO’s office to take a dump, that one was pretty funny.
We have zones in the office. Upstairs is free range or leashed. Downstairs, all pets need to be on a lead so they don’t wander into the showroom or conference rooms. We try and keep our showroom dog free when we’re doing line showings so dog hair doesn’t get on everything. Wool is like a magnet for dog hair.
Any additional comments of how dogs add to your office culture?
They make engaging with our customers easier. People relate to their dogs and when they see that we embrace dogs they want to associate themselves with our company. We treat dogs like employees at Ibex, we share stories and photos of them on our website and through social media. Here’s a link to the dogs of ibex, funny we don’t actually have an employee page yet. Maybe we treat the dogs better than the employees.
Pam Potwin shared – “to myself, the dogs add a ton of personality and fun to each and every day at Ibex, like people they all have their own way of greeting you, communicating with you and just “loving” your company throughout each and every day.”