Every Day is a Dog Day at Clif Bar
Rigby and Kingston are best friends at Clif Bar & Company. They can’t wait to see each other every morning. They take walks together. Play ball. Engage in friendly wrestling. Even go on bathroom breaks at the same time.
Nothing unusual about that. Rigby is a Border Collie mix; Kingston a terrier mix. Both are rescues. They’re two of some 10 to 15 dogs who come to Clif Bar daily with their employee-owners. While June 24, 2016, is national Take Your Dog to Work Day, every day at Clif Bar is Take Your Dog to Work Day—and has been since the company began nearly 25 years ago.
“We want to create an environment where people can be themselves and live full lives at work,” said Jennifer Freitas, director of People, Learning and Engagement at Clif Bar, who frequently brings her own doberman-labrador mix, Crash, to work. “Our employees tell us all the time how having dogs at work adds to our special office culture.”
Just ask Cait Spillner, Rigby’s owner and program coordinator of Lunafest, our traveling film festival of award-winning short films by, for and about women. “Clif Bar’s dog-friendly policy inspired me to get a dog. It relaxes me and my co-workers, and it’s a good way to get to know people. You may start talking about dogs, but end up talking about work, and that’s how new ideas and collaboration come about.”
Or ask Chelsea Laursen, Kingston’s owner and experience marketing manager at Clif Bar, who was inspired to adopt Kingston after years of playing with Rigby at the office. “You don’t realize how much happiness a dog brings to your life until you have one. Coming in on Mondays can be kind of hard, but my dog is so excited, it’s contagious joy! I wouldn’t have ever gotten a dog if I couldn’t bring him to work.”
Not only are Rigby and Kingston great friends, but so too are Cait and Chelsea. Their job responsibilities don’t connect them, but they’ve grown close because of their dogs. The two colleagues now schedule short, daily doggie playdates for Rigby and Kingston on their workday calendars.
Despite research studies that show dogs reduce workplace stress, help boost productivity and morale, and that the vast majority of dog owners would bring their dogs to work if their employer allowed it, only about 8 percent of American workplaces allow dogs in the office, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
Cait thinks offices that prohibit dogs are missing out on attracting and retaining talented millennials—the millions of young people born between 1982 and 2002 who represent the next generation of the American workforce. “A lot of millennials are looking for fun, young companies with a casual, open atmosphere,” she explained. “Dogs fit right in with that.”
Chelsea says pooches tap heartfelt emotions, regardless of your age: “A dog in the office doesn’t just benefit the owner, but the other people that come in contact with it. You can’t help but smile when a dog runs up to you and licks you.”