Culture

6,000 Dogs 'Work' at Amazon, Company Reports

(Getty Images)

In a recent blog post, Amazon revealed that thousands of dogs join their owners at work every day.

“On any given day at our Seattle headquarters, employees share workspace with as many as 6,000 dogs,” the Day One staff wrote. “At Amazon, bring-your-dog-to-work day is every day—a long-standing tradition that both Amazonians and their four-legged friends enjoy.”

“Having dogs in our workplace is an amazing treat. They make employees smile, and we’re proud this is such a uniquely Amazonian tradition. It’s truly ingrained in our company culture,” explains Lara Hirschfield, Amazon’s “Woof Pack” manager. “Our employees love bringing their dogs to work and love meeting their co-workers’ dogs.”

According to Hirschfield, “Amazon has been dog-friendly since Day 1. Our dogs add to the fun, dynamic energy of our workplace.”

You can meet some of the dogs of Amazon, profiled here. The profiles include name, age, favorite toy, and favorite activity, along with a picture of each dog. Here’s just a sampling:

(Image via Amazon)

Dog-friendly perks at the 30,000-person Amazon campus include designated dog relief areas, poop bag stations, and dog-friendly water fountains. Dog treats are doled out at reception desks in every office building, and on the 17th floor of the Doppler building, there’s a dog park, equipped with a fake fire hydrant, for dogs to burn off some energy. In April, Amazon opened its second dog park adjacent to the company’s campus in downtown Seattle’s Denny Triangle area. The new facility is open to the public and there are plans to add a turf field for pups to enjoy.

Amazon’s practice of allowing dogs at work began when a couple brought Rufus, their Welsh corgi, to the office. Amazon says the dog became a “surprisingly productive part of the team.” Rufus died in 2009, but he remains a part of Amazon culture and even has a building on campus named after him.

There are some rules for bringing your dog to work at Amazon, however:

 

“Each owner needs to register his or her pet,” Amazon says. “First, an employee must speak with their manager and teammates in their immediate work area to ensure everyone is comfortable with the pet. The employee will then submit a short registration form and provide proof of vaccination. They’re also asked to review the company’s dog policy and etiquette rules for the dogs (and their owners) while at work. The rules include ensuring the dog is housebroken, well behaved, socialized and healthy.”

The dogs even make an appearance on Amazon’s 404 error page. If you happen upon one, you’ll be greeted by one of the dogs that accompany his or her owner to work.

“Having pets in the workplace has been found to lower stress and boost morale,” the company said in the blog post. “At Amazon, the benefits don’t stop there. The dog-friendly policy also contributes to the company’s culture of collaboration.” Hirschfield adds, “Dogs in the workplace is an unexpected mechanism for connection. I see Amazonians meeting each other in our lobbies or elevators every day because of their dogs.”

Studies seem to back that claim up. According to a report at USA Today, having dogs in the workplace:

  • Helps in recruiting employees. Employees love their pets, and companies large and small that recognize the importance of pets in employees’ lives have a competitive edge in attracting talent. Rhonda lists “dog-friendly office” in every help-wanted ad, helping her small business attract quality staff who are delighted to bring their dog to work or just work in a friendly atmosphere.
  • Helps in retaining employees. Bringing a dog to work is viewed as an incredible perk. Once someone can bring their canine companion on the job, it takes a long time before they’ll give that up.
  • Improves morale. Dogs make almost everyone happier. Getting down on the floor to play with a dog, petting a pooch as it walks by or just seeing a well-behaved dog across the room lightens the mood.
  • Makes it easier to stay late. Employees don’t have to worry about rushing home to walk or feed their pet.
  • Creates connections. Dogs make it easier for employees to connect with one another and to communicate. It gets people up from their desks for doggie breaks from time-to-time.
  • Gets people moving. Your employees will be more productive if they get up and walk around a few minutes throughout the day. A dog makes that happen.
  • Helps save dogs. More people are able to adopt a rescue dog if they can bring their dog to work. You can help make that possible.

 A 2016 study by Banfield Pet Hospital found that a large percentage of employees (83 percent) feel a greater sense of loyalty to employers with pet-friendly policies. The survey also found that 88 percent of employees surveyed said having pets at work improves morale.

A 2016 report from Fortune named the most pet-friendly workplaces in America. Their list, oddly enough, doesn’t include Amazon:

  • Genentech
  • Kimpton
  • Atlantic Health
  • VMWare
  • Salesforce
  • Mars
  • Google (Alphabet)
  • Build-A-Bear Workshop
  • Autodesk
  • GoDaddy
  • Workday
  • Activision Blizzard

Tech companies like Amazon and Google may seem to be at the forefront of the pet-friendly workplace movement, but according to USA Today, “small businesses have often led the way in letting dogs accompany their human companions to work.” Some businesses, in their rush to attract millennials, “have added pet-oriented employee benefits, such as company-subsidized pet insurance or ‘paw-ternity leave’ (days off when an employee adopts a new dog). ”