Its origins were humble and infused with good intentions. Twenty-one years ago, an educational association in North Carolina called Pet Sitters International called for the very first Take Your Dog to Work Day, which encouraged companies to allow dogs into the workplace for one day each year in order to both a) celebrate the species and its historical closeness to humans, and b) to promote the adoption of dogs from rescue centers and local shelters.
Since 1999, Take Your Dog to Work Day has spread across the US and has seen mass participation across the border into Canada, across the pond in the UK, and down under in Australia and New Zealand.
Parallel to this growth in popularity has been workplaces that accept pets to run, play and sleep among the chairs and tables, desks and coworkers, and day of the year.
If you gave me $1 for every time that I saw an agency display their pets in their Team section of their website, then I’d no longer have the need to get paid to write these words to earn a living.
United Virtualities is among these places that welcome pets to the office — of course when our offices are open — because we’re aware of the value they bring. We don’t need peer-reviewed data to prove this. It’s a feeling that’s felt and the benefits are obvious: bonding more among coworkers, feeling less stress, getting to spend more time with our pets.
Like I said, we don’t need data to back us up. But it does turn out that there is empirical evidence to suggest that dogs do promote interactions between coworkers, that they cultivate a positive atmosphere, that dogs reduce the stress of their owners as well as others around them.
But then in March that all changed. One day we went and worked at our offices, and the day after they closed — like around much of the world — and have remained closed ever since. As we await for better days of a future in which we are all safe to return to the office, and being confined to our homes for work, we decided to launch a new channel; a channel for UVers and pet lovers.
United Virtualities’ new Slack channel, uv-pets, allows UVers to come together and share photos of their favorite animals, watch videos of them doing silly things, and tell stories of their heroic or hilarious outings.
With a fully-digitized existence in the world of work, uv-pets has come to help cover the gaping hole left by a physical presence. So we will continue to laugh at our costumed dogs, cry an “awwww” when one of us posts a new photo, and send our love-struck eyes and heart emojis.