Inside MN’s Dog-Friendliest Workplace

Who doesn’t wanna play a quick game of fetch between meetings? Photo: Mike Ross, The Nerdery

For most dog lovers, the opportunity to bring their four-legged BFF to work is a dream. Imagine being able to snuggle your pupper during a lunch break, having an excuse to head outside a bit more often during the day, and accessing instant stress relief at your feet at all times. Not to mention the fact that your morning routine would no longer require walking past those forlorn eyes: “Don’t leave me, hooman!”

And then there are the lucky folks who DO score jobs in dog-friendly workplaces. One Bloomington-HQ’d company is known for being a bastion of wag-worthy policies. At The Nerdery (which just so happens to have built our shiny new website), dogs aren’t just allowed — they’re embraced as part of one of the pup-lovingest work cultures in all the land.

Walking through their nerdy-yet-stylish aisles, you’ll find rows of desks behind which sit smiling humans, their calm dogs chewing on toys or sleeping on plush beds at their feet. Dogs are welcome in nearly every part of the building, which means meeting in a conference room just got a whole lot cooler.

Congratulating Charlie on yet another brilliant biz idea in the Chicago office. Photo: The Nerdery

The Nerdery’s dog-friendly features go way beyond their BYOD policy. They hold (hilarious) elections for Dog President of The Nerdery, stage regular “Puppy Fight Club” playdates, offer Nerdery-branded dog gear, and host in-house, dog-friendly happy hours. And last year, their offices in Chicago, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and Phoenix all played a part in helping their client, Purina, set a world record for most pets in the workplace on Take Your Dog To Work Day.

They’ve got tons of love for nonprofits, too. Through their Overnight Website Challenge, The Nerdery Foundation has created pro-bono websites for 207 nonprofit organizations, including ten pet-focused nonprofits — Can Do Canines, for one. What’s more, employees who double as doggy foster parents report a batch of success stories in which they’ve adopted their pooches to fellow Nerds.

Campaign posters from the 2015 dog election. Lady scored the victory.

“Sure, Jane’s shoes once doubled as a chew toy for Bentley, and we’ve had to call for the occasional cleanup in aisle seven, but for the most part Nerds and dogs have enjoyed a peaceful coexistence – thanks to some basic ground rules,” The Nerdery’s Communication Director, Mark Malmberg, says. Requirements include up-to-date vaccinations, leashes at all times, regular potty breaks outside, and common-sense cleanliness procedures.

“Dogs have been a part of Nerdery culture since the company was founded,” says Mark. “It’s just one thing we do to foster an empowering workplace culture that encourages people to share their passions and blur the line between work and play.” This means The Nerdery is a great place for people, not just pups — in fact, it’s been named one of Minnesota’s 100 best companies to work for by Minnesota Business magazine. (Editor’s note: Studies have also found a positive effect of office dogs on employee productivity and wellbeing. #science)

Want your next job to be within a dog-friendly workplace? We’ve got a list of job openings in pups-welcome offices, as well as a directory of dog-friendly workplaces. Let us know if there’s one you’d like us to add. (Hat tip to Sidewalk Dog reader Katie Miller for her help in rounding these up!)

This story was brought to you by The Nerdery, a custom software design, development, and digital strategy consultancy. Not only are they one of the pup-friendliest workplaces ever, but they’re doggone great business partners. Their hive mind of problem solvers, software engineers, strategists, and human-centered designers create digital products and services that better people’s lives and drive business outcomes.

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