Avvo dogs bring joy, work-life balance to employees

by Mary Callaghan

Nobody likes leaving their dog at home five days a week. Last June, Avvo rolled out a new policy that allows up to 35 dogs in the office on any given day, making it much easier for dog owners to leave the house.

“One of the most important parts of Avvo’s culture is promoting a healthy work-life balance,” said Ashleigh Marcelino, facilities coordinator. “Before we moved into 8th & Olive we found out we could write a dog policy into our lease here. This was the perfect opportunity to implement another program to foster work-life balance.”

Prior to implementing the new policy, the facilities team thoroughly researched similar policies to ensure that bringing dogs into Avvo would be seamless. The application process is straightforward. An employee submits current vaccination records, signs the policy acknowledgement and agreement, and obtains their manager and department’s Senior Leadership Team member approval.

Dogs must be well-behaved and stay at their owner’s desk. They are not allowed in meeting rooms to help minimize allergies. If the owner has to go to a meeting, the dog needs a dog-sitter. Today, there are already 22 approved pets.

Regional Sales Manager Jamie Neill said that incorporating Bo into his work life makes his schedule at home easier.  Jamie brings Bo, a loveable 9-month old French bulldog, into the office regularly. “He’s a better dog because of it,” said Jamie. Bo is a born entertainer with many adoring fans, making it easy for Jamie to find a coworker to keep an eye on him during meetings.

Account Executive Kitty Ng was worried her Corgi rescue, Umi, might not be a great fit because of her finicky nature. Instead, the constant socialization has grown her confidence, giving her sweet personality a chance to shine. Kitty brings in treats for coworkers to give to Umi to build her comfort level, which also keeps her content throughout the day. Now, Umi gets visits from coworkers and even visits other floors.

Bringing her own Corgi to Avvo was especially meaningful for Lead Insights Analyst, Coe Roberts. Darby passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago. There was great payoff in bringing him to work, she said, and he picked up the new routine quickly. “On the first day he was just trying to figure things out, but then it kicked in that this is a beneficial thing for him.” Darby brought his positive energy to Coe’s workspace and welcomed belly rubs from all visitors. “I loved having Darby here,” said Coe, “the biggest surprise benefit to me was making new connections with coworkers because of having him around.”

The Avvo “Dog Pen” on the 13th floor

Avvo dogs and employees have flocked to visit the unofficial “dog pen” on Floor 13. Regional Sales Manager, Andrew Squires, and his Mastador (a Labrador and bull mastiff crossbreed), Tater sit in the Dog Pen, where there’s been a noticeable boost in morale. “Sales is pretty stressful,” said Andrew. “Sometimes people take a break and the dogs come up and put their heads in their laps. It relieves some of that stress.”

Cynde Pintos, an account manager, alternates in bringing her sweetheart English bulldog, Rufus, and Lulu, a Pomeranian. Bringing her dogs allows Cynde the opportunity to stay mindful and energized throughout the day, especially because of their afternoon walk. “Sometimes I get caught up with incoming work – taking the time out can be that a-ha moment!” Stepping back from the computer to decompress is increasing the productivity of her breaks.

Avvo dog owners agree that they work better with their pups by their side. The work day is more focused, breaks are more productive, and sometimes people even work longer because they are not worried about racing home to an anxious pet.  “It cheers me up, knowing Tater is here,” Andrew said.

“Avvo really cares about making our work culture fun,” said Cynde. “And understands that we are human!”

Are you interested in learning more about a career at Avvo? Visit www.avvo.com/careers to learn more.