Wednesday, February 17, 2016

#dogsallowed. What does a dog friendly office look like? Kurgo's office is built especially for canine comfort.

A dog friendly workplace. I love that the humans are inside the "runs" in this photo.
Is your workplace animal-friendly? Earlier this year a friend sent me some info about a company called Kurgo, where every single day is “take your dog to work day”. I found out the company sells products for dogs on the move – so being able to bring dogs at work is aligned with their purpose. But Kurgo has gone a step further and even designed their office space specifically to accommodate animals. So we asked Sarah from Kurgo about what they do and how this came about.

Tell us a bit about Kurgo.

Kurgo is devoted to helping people get out and enjoy the world with their dogs. We make everything you need for travel and adventure with your dog – from crash-tested auto safety harnesses & car seat covers to dog backpacks and hiking boots. The company was founded by brothers Kitter and Gordie Spader, based on their own life experiences with their pups. When Kitter’s Plott Hound Zelda tried to constantly nudge her way to the front seat of the car and was almost injured in an accident, the Backseat Barrier was born. She’d be safe in the back and we’d be safe in the frontKurgo’s office, named the world’s most dog friendly office by  Inc. and, is a testing ground for new dog gear, and every day is “bring your dog to work day!”

Dogs enjoying the workplace. Much better than sitting around at home.
Why do dogs need travel and outdoor gear?

Travelling with dogs can be a handful, but Kurgo’s diverse line of products makes it easier and more convenient. Dogs cause distracted driving accidents every day when they try to get into the front seat or sit on laps, so drivers need to do something to contain their dog. Whether that’s just a Backseat Barrier to keep them out of the front seat or a crash-tested restraint system such as the  Impact Dog HarnessThere are also a bunch of solutions for making car travel more comfortable for your pup and keeping the car clean – from dog car seat covers to dog travel beds such as the Loft Wander Bed or the  Skybox Booster Seat which is a comfortable basket for small dogs to lounge in on road trips. Don’t forget to grab the  Collapse A Bowl for an easy way to serve food and water on the go.

In terms of outdoor adventures, dogs need the right gear too. For long walks and hikes, they need to stay hydrated, fed, and have rain gear. They can carry their own supplies in a Baxter PackSusan O’Dell, Kurgo’s Consulting Veterinarian reports that backpacks are great for dogs as it gives them purpose and most breeds like to have a job. For extreme weather like ice or burning heat as well as long distance hikes, many dogs would benefit from protection on their paws, such as the Step N Strobe Dog Boots. Bringing along rain protection or a warm coat is important when hiking in remote areas or during inclement weather. Both the North Country Coat and Loft Dog Jacket are great options.

There's always someone on hand to test a product or liven up a meeting. Love the photos in the background of dogs having fun outside.
Are more people incorporating their dogs into their adventures? Why do you think this is?

Dogs aren’t just “pets” these days, they’re family! Dogs have gone from living in a dog house in the backyard in the 70s & 80s to sleeping in bed with its family. According to the APPA 2015-2016 Pet Survey, 39% of people take their pet with them when they travel two nights or more. This is up from 19% just 10 years ago. 71% of people regularly take their dog on daily errands in their car. Now that dogs are a full-fledged family member, people are trying to find more ways to bring their dog along as well as give their dog more fun through things like outdoor adventures. Kurgo’s #DogsAllowed initiative is also encouraging more and more public places like cafes, bookstores, and other retail locations to allow well behaved dogs to accompany their owners inside.

What are your most popular products?

Right now, the Loft Dog Jacket is perfect for keeping pups warm this winter. It’s soft but durable material gives the dog the freedom to run and roam but keeps them cozy when it’s chilly. Our Heather Car Seat Covers in both a  hammock and bench seat cover are very popular this year for protecting car seats because they are more stylish than your basic covers and fit with current fashion trends. The Cargo Cape recently received rave reviews for keeping the car free of mud, dirt, and dog hair. The Collapse A Bowl is perfect for short or long trips, but keeping your dog fed and hydrated is incredibly important. The portable bowl folds in and out for easy storage, too.

A dog friendly workspace seems to integrate well with your company's values. What features make your workspace especially dog friendly?

Kurgo’s office is a  4,000 square foot revamped warehouse and we have incorporated many dog-specific amenities, like low water fountains, artificial grass for indoor play areas, treats in the kitchen, a shower for muddy pups and baskets of toys. Bringing dogs to work also builds a comradery among the employees. We have a daily lunchtime walk for all the office dogs. And if you can’t go, someone will walk your dog for you! 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.

The false lawn is a lovely touch.
How do you think the presence of dogs impacts the working environment?

Having dogs in the office is an important part of our culture, which is casual and focused on being active and enjoying the outdoors. It also helps to have dogs in the office for our product design and development. Our dogs inspire us for new product ideas all the time and they also are the first test any new ideas we might have. There are toys to keep the pups occupied and dog beds at every desk for napping. Everything Kurgo sells (with the exception of toys) comes with a lifetime warranty. For employees, it’s convenient and fun to have the opportunity to bring their dog to work every day, and one of the best perks of working at Kurgo.

The building aligns with the company's values.
How can we make the world a better place for companion animals?

Kurgo promotes healthy and fun initiatives for dogs and owners alike. 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.

Thanks, Sarah. I’m interested – are dogs or other animals allowed in your workplace? Are there any modifications to make this easier? Are you aware of other companies that are pet friendly?