Many workplaces across America are living proof that pets and work should go together. But not every one of these workplaces can be our Pets at Work contest winner. Since there can be only one, we had to pick the most exceptional, inspiring submission we received, which turned out to be Ibex Outdoor Clothing.
Ibex, with headquarters in Vermont, is an outdoor clothing company run by people who are passionate about the activities their products outfit people to do: ski, hike, bike, climb mountains and explore nature. Ibex employees are out there living that lifestyle every day. According to Keith Anderson, the Vice President of Marketing, for many employees, exploring nature is even more fun with a pet by their side.
Many employees believe that being able to bring their dog to work helps them get even more time outdoors, whether it's escaping to the park for a mid-day run or not having to stop at home to pick up their dogs for a post-work hike up a mountain. Vermont has a lot of mountains.
There was never any question about whether or not Ibex was going to be dog-friendly. "From day one, we’ve always had pets in the office," Anderson explains. "I remember when it was just three people, the owner had his dog in the office, and it just grew from there."
Now, pets are such an important part of their culture that they even have a Dogs of Ibex page on their website, where you can meet every one of the dogs that you might see hanging out in their offices.
Anderson believes having dogs in the workplace promotes a sense of relaxation, removing worries about running home to take care of a dog, as well as the added companionship "of having your fuzzy best friend next to you." He also points out that the antics of dogs in the office adds humor to the workday, which can be much-needed in times of stress.
“Ibex understands that having pets at work really makes for a better work environment. But it's also meaningful to the employees, and overall it just boosts morale to have these little furry animals running around,” says Evan, who works in marketing.
Ibex has also seen perks on a company level. Not only does allowing dogs help them recruit new employees, but it also makes them seem more human and approachable to clients.
“A lot of people are surprised when they hear that we have the dogs at the office. Then, they're immediately intrigued with the culture of Ibex,” says Terry, who works in customer service.
For now, the company is dog-focused, but that may change. "Maybe one day we'll cross that threshold and get a company cat," Anderson says.