Creating the world's most dog-friendly office

There's been much research into how welcoming pets into the office can make your staff more relaxed, and more productive. With this in mind, one dog accessories start-up set out to create the world's most dog-friendly office. Kurgo co-founder Gordie Spater explains...

By 2014, what had started as a couple of brothers with a passion for pets had grown into a bustling business with more employees (and dogs) than our space could hold. For months we searched for a larger space to call our own but nothing felt like home or fit in with our dog-friendly company culture. So, we decided to go ahead and build the coolest, most dog-friendly office we’ve ever seen out of a 4,000 square foot warehouse we already owned.

When building out the space, we focused on creating an environment that was reflective of our company and our passion for exploring with our pets; we wanted the office to be open, creative and very dog-friendly. Using eight steel shipping containers, the same ones used to import our products, we set the stage. We then incorporated such elements as a 1946 Old Town canoe, a 1956 Airstream, a slide and work stations made of reclaimed wood to enforce the sense of adventure and an active lifestyle.

Our seating is the first double chair lift from Sugarbush Ski Resort, and a canoe that belonged to our grandfather hangs from the ceiling. Always keeping the dogs in mind, we kept wide open space for the pack to play and concrete flooring for easy clean-ups. Some other puppy amenities include an open shower for dogs that get muddy on their lunch hour, a reclaimed water fountain for drinking, fake grass to create indoor play areas and baskets and, of course, baskets of Kurgo dog toys! 

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At Kurgo, we make products that help people and their dogs “go together”, so it’s only natural that we not only allow, but encourage our staff to bring their dogs to work. Being a dog-friendly office is an integral part of our company culture and a perk that is highly valued by existing employees and also helps to attract new talent as well.

Read more: How workspace design is being shaped by the modern age entrepreneur

Our dogs have jobs too though; they test our products, give us ideas for new ones and even model for our advertising/marketing materials. The office dogs also help us to be more collaborative and focused - teams take lunch time dog walks together and no one spends time worrying about their dog being home alone or needing to be let out. 

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We even have a rotating system to care for each other’s dogs when we are away on business or vacationing somewhere that is not dog friendly. But probably the most important benefit of being a dog-friendly office is the levity and humor they bring. It’s hard to be stressed or take things too seriously with dogs running around and snoring under your desk.

Read more: Who are the trailblazers of the revolution in workspace design?

 While being a dog-friendly business isn’t always possible, we are happy to see that more and more establishments are making it possible for people to include their pets. To spread awareness, we encourage dog owners to submit their favorite dog-friendly businesses for our #DogsAllowed campaign, which will then receive a welcome kit and sticker to display at their storefront. We’re also encouraging more businesses this year to participate in Bring Your Dog to Work Day, so everyone can see the benefit of having dogs in the workplace.

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This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details.

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