(Photo Elliot O’Donovan)
Pop into any of the WeWork spaces in D.C. and you may find creative and cool colleagues.
Some of them may even have four legs.
Six of the 10 WeWork locations in the region allow members who use the space to bring their dogs to work. These locations include the Wonder Bread location in Shaw, Manhattan Laundry on 14th St, 80M Street by the Navy Yard, Apollo on H Street, WeWork Chinatown, and WeWork, Crystal City in Arlington, Va.
Melanie Charlton and Julie Weber of creative digital agency Brllnt, are fans of the coworking space’s dog-friendly policy.
The founder and Chief Creative Officer of the agency enjoys the option of bringing Cinna on her nearly two-hour commute from Annapolis.
“Having an hour plus commute each way, being able to bring Cinna to work prevents long days at home without a break, and enables me to be her dog walker,” said Charlton, cofounder of the digital agency.
Besides the obvious perks of helping members save on daytime dog walking services or doggy day-care, the presence of dogs in the work environment helps create lower-stress work spaces, and even offers health benefits.
“It’s important to take quick breaks throughout the day, and caring for her needs helps me be more mentally and physically healthy,” said Charlton.
Walking the dog for 15-20 minutes makes for a good break from work during the daytime, and having these cute doggos nearby can even be good for business.
“[T]hey help us meet our community,” said Charlton. “Cinna loves other dogs, and her eagerness to make new furry friends helps us to connect with the other business owners, since most often, the office dog belongs to higher-ups at the company.”
The dogs are in good company. WeWork’s location at 80 M has a wall behind their first floor front desk with 17 polaroid photos of the dogs who are also “coworking” from the space. Although dogs are allowed on premises, there are certain rules: Dogs aren’t allowed on elevators, and can only be walked up staircases into the space. Breed restrictions are also in place, similar to those found in most apartment leases.
“When you have your dog at the office you also have someone to cuddle when stress levels rise. You can’t do that with co-workers,” said Weber, Chief Marketing Officer and Principal of Brllnt, who brings her dog Zadee to their office space at the Navy Yard location.
“Bringing Zadee and Cinna to work often helps break the ice with our neighbors. For whatever reason, it’s awkward to say hello to a stranger, but with a dog you immediately have a common, unspoken interest: the love for furry animals,” said Weber.
It typically costs the workplace nothing to allow pets in the office, except running it by the building’s owner to make sure there are no covenants explicitly banning dogs spelled out in their contract as tenants.
And while of course not everyone is wild about the dogs being there in the first place—typically those who have allergies—it’s something that more and more coworking spaces are thinking about.
“Lastly, dog-friendly office space helps us and our employees give back. Ilana, our Marketing Director, has always wanted to foster dogs, and now she can do so without impacting her work day,” said Charlton.
While WeWork has allowed fish tanks in some offices, there is no pet policy yet that allows cats. Sorry Kittehs.-30-
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