Technicians dressed in casual clothes, waving blue badges, pass construction workers in the morning rush hour at Amazon’s global headquarters, accelerating the growth of our on-demand culture.
A company food stall distributes free bananas to travelers traveling between Amazon’s elegant office towers that have invaded a light industrial district on the shores of Lake Union in Seattle. Gardeners in a glass and steel sphere step back to admire a blooming corpse flower.
Throughout this, hundreds of dogs are woven, the presence of which may be the best advantage in the workplace, especially in Seattle, where dogs outnumber children. More than 7,000 dogs are registered to come to work at Amazon’s offices here, compared to 6,000 a year ago.
That equates to a 1: 7 dog-to-person ratio on the mothership, where about 49,000 people work. A host of dog-friendly companies, including dog kennels and trendy pet-friendly bars and restaurants, contribute to activity in the neighborhood where Facebook and other tech companies also open offices.
On a recent day in Amazon’s 12-story Apollo building, a Havana man named Cooper accepted a receptionist snack at the lobby counter, and his owner rushed to the conference call with London. There was hardly any time to smell Sparky, a Shih Tzu-Maltese jogging in an elevator, or Murphy, a Goldendoodle running on his person’s coffee break.
“No one knows me,” says Shefali Duhan, Cooper’s human partner, and program manager for the sales team, but “everyone” knows Cooper.
Duhan had taken the opportunity to get a pet to take her to work after she moved from Amazon to Hyderabad, India, which does not allow dogs. Now she wouldn’t think of leaving Cooper at home.
“You can’t focus on work if you know there is someone at home that you should take care of,” he said.
Countless studies have highlighted the benefits, for employees and businesses, of having pets in the workplace. British researchers have even associated dogs in the office with reduced employee turnover, which is notoriously high in tech companies vying for talent. News reports have suggested Amazon has struggled with rotation, but a company spokeswoman declined to provide figures.
“The benefits of dog-friendly workplaces can manifest as lower absenteeism rates and higher worker morale and productivity,” according to a 2017 paper in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
As the lines blur between work and home, and people and pets come together in new ways, businesses across the country are discovering that dog benefits are relatively cheap compared to health plans and other conventional benefits, and are also a useful tool for recruiting. West Coast startups lead the pack among canine-based employers, according to a recent national ranking of “Best Dog-Friendly Companies” at Rover, a Seattle-based pet service center, not incidental. (Amazon received Rover’s # 1 rating and in an annual “Pet-Friendly Companies” survey published by Wellness Natural Pet Food before the day to bring your dog to work.)
On any given day, more than 800 of the more than 7,000 dogs registered with Amazon come to work for the company. Popular breeds include corgis, golden retrievers, and any type of scribble, pets that go by names like Kona, Luna, and Winston.
Amazonian dogs can stop for lunch at their owner-bought flank steak or New Zealand deer at a new branch of Just Food for Dogs, an Irvine-based chain that offers “human-quality” food. You can eat Cannolis filled with Puddles Barkery cream. Some have their own Instagram accounts.
When their owners meet, dogs can go to a dog-grooming place for shampoo, blow-dry, and “nail paws.” They can play on a terrace on the 17th floor in the Amazon Doppler building, created just for them and with ornamental decorations. Hydrants and artificial grass.
“I’m pretty sure Amazon dogs have the best life,” Lauren Lee, senior product manager at Amazon Home, said as she pushed Emmy, her black lab, into an enclosure surrounding her desk. “She’s my coworker