At Pacific Medical Training, we allow dogs in the office. Since we are a remote-first company and always have been, there’s not many humans here… dogs made up a significant portion of our in-person workforce for years.

Here are some notes on experiences and policies.

Why woof?

As a practical consideration, dogs are part of the family and leaving them at home all day doesn’t always make sense. For their emotional wellbeing, dogs need to be around people and other dogs.

How to woof

Our office is located in Montgomery County, PA (greater Philadelphia region). This means that all dogs are already required to be licensed and vaccinated. Otherwise, good manners are required, just the same as our human team.

We did not need to adopt more specific policies than what is required by law.

Practical things we learned

A/B testing

We use dogs as customer support representatives for A/B testing.

Some of our customer support projects require us to call customers. For example maybe we need to remind them to renew their CPR certificate. For these kinds of projects it is best practice to skip calling some of the customers and compare the outcomes from the people you called versus the people you didn’t call (and also compare against calls made by different people on your team). This is called A/B testing.

As a practical matter, in your spreadsheet you have to mark something on the “who called” column for these calls. What do you fill in? In the past we used “control group”, “test”, “don’t call”, “NULL” or left it blank. Each of these was unclear as to whether we still need to call those people or if we were intentionally NOT calling them. Assigning them to “Sparky” was both clear and consistent with out data quality requirements.

Sparky did not earn cash-money for joining our team in this way. But we did need to assign him in for several of our HR systems, child labor laws nonwithstanding.

Doggie door

Because of the barking which apparently scares some people, it was important for us to use a doggie door installed from the outside door jamb. This means even when you close the door you can see there is a dog (or baby!?) inside and it makes people cautious before walking up.

Who’s who

On the first acclimation at the office, our furry friend already recognized everyone and respected them. This is become of the latent smells which are around. Or maybe I’m just a great guy and fluffers picked up on that. By the first day, he was sitting at my desk when I left and keeping me company even though we just met.

Soon we learned that this “niceness to humans” doesn’t immediately apply to other humans which visits and are not always around. Pawsy bit nipped at my wife a few times (in heels) and took a little blood from our other visiting team members. As a practical matter we made sure to advise people to wear shoes + pants before visiting and also had to schedule a few times to separate canine from human.

For you

I hope this helps you in your journey to a more diverse workforce. And please share your own experiences with us, just at-mention our accounts.

Written by and last updated June 23, 2023