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Pet-Friendly Companies: 8Bit’s Initiatives and Best Practices

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As a team doing our best to be among the most pet-friendly companies, we at 8Bit find ourselves in good company within the games industry. Our recent LinkedIn poll among game development professionals and enthusiasts showed an encouraging trend towards pet-friendly attitudes.

Garnering over 790 votes on preferences between Team Dog, Team Cat, Team Other Pet, or Team No Pet, the results were quite revealing. Team Dog led the pack with 48%, followed by Team Cat at 45%. The low 3% for Team No Pet underscores a significant preference for pets in our professional community. The remaining 4% chose a variety of other pets, ranging from chinchillas and capybaras to heterodon nasicus, rats, wombats, and even shoebills.

As we dive into the specifics of our animal welfare initiatives and the benefits of a pet-friendly work culture, let’s keep in mind this incredible bond we share with our animal companions, no matter their shape or size.

Pet-friendly companies: a hype or a culture?

At 8Bit, pets are at the heart of everything we do, and it’s all thanks to our CEO, Monika. She’s always been a huge pet lover. While she was setting up our business in Asia, she didn’t just bring back 8Bit, but also two adorable cats. Monika’s passion for pets inspired our mission: we’re not just about helping game devs find awesome jobs, we’re also all about helping animals in need.

Monika Michalak, CEO of 8Bit Games Industry Recruitment, with Queen Mao, a cat she brought from China to Europe

Because of this, our team is full of animal lovers – nearly everyone has a pet! And for those who don’t, they still get to enjoy our super pet-friendly vibe. Eight years on, “pet-friendly companies” isn’t just a phrase for us – it’s who we are at 8Bit.

1. Work with Your Pet

At 8Bit, we’ve embraced the flexibility that remote work offers, allowing our team members to enjoy the company of their pets while they work. This policy infuses a special kind of warmth and friendliness into our daily activities. It’s not uncommon to hear a cat’s purr in the background or see a dog wagging its tail during team meeting. Having pets around not only uplifts the spirits of our employees but also contributes to a relaxed yet efficient work environment. As a games industry recruitment company, we’ve observed an added benefit: candidates we interact with often feel more at ease and less stressed when they see a pet, like a cat peacefully napping behind a recruiter during a call. This subtle yet meaningful presence of pets helps in creating a comfortable and engaging atmosphere for both our team and the candidates we work with.

Additionally, this remote work setup is invaluable for dog owners dealing with pets who have separation anxiety, offering a nurturing environment to gradually ease and potentially heal this condition.

Patrycja, Expert Tech Recruiter, and Nora

“I don’t think I would have brought a puppy home if I had not been working remotely. Fortunately, I did, and for the past 3 years, Nora has been a vital part of my life, and I couldn’t be happier! It was really helpful that I was working remotely back when she was a puppy and needed walks every 2-3 hours. Now, as I spend most of my days staring at the computer, taking walks with her in a nearby forest is a great way to refresh my mind. Not to mention, I can pet her during calls since she’s usually under my desk”.

Patrycja Wojciuk, Expert Tech Recruiter, and Nora, her co-worker

2. Supporting Animal Welfare Organizations

We actively support animal welfare organizations that align with our values. This initiative involves mostly financial contributions, but also engaging in their awareness campaigns. By partnering with these organizations, we aim to provide better lives for animals in need, including those in shelters or in rehabilitation. This support also includes both regular donations and emergency aid.

3. Virtual Pet Adoption

At 8Bit, we also focus on pets that are less likely to be adopted due to health or behavioral reasons. Through our virtual pet adoption initiative, we sponsor Ambroży the Cat (from the pet rescue org Koty Spod Bloku) and Redone the Dog (from Fundacja Krzykosiaki pet rescue organization), covering their essential needs like food, medical care, and special treatments like physiotherapy. This ongoing support helps ensure these animals, who remain in the care of shelters or foster homes, receive the best possible care and a chance at a happier life.

4. Extra Day Off for Pet Adoption

Recognizing the importance of the first few days in building a bond with a new pet, we offer an additional day off for employees who adopt a pet. This ‘pet onboarding’ day is designed to give our team members the time they need to help their new companions settle into their homes. This thoughtful gesture not only shows our support for pet adoption but also underscores our understanding of the responsibilities and joys that come with pet ownership. It’s a way of celebrating the beginning of a beautiful friendship between our employees and their new pets. This year we’ve welcomed two new team pets – both kittens! Joao adopted Ruby and Claudia gave forever home to Moustache.

Joao Lobo and Ruby the Cat on her adoption day

Claudia, HR Manager, and Moustache

“Adopting Moustache has been an incredibly rewarding decision, filling my everyday personal and professional life with joy and endless entertainment. Her presence at home has brought such warmth and companionship, that I can’t imagine life without her. From working closely with me, brainstorming ideas together or just watch her sleep while I work, makes everyday better.  One cool benefit that we have, is the initiative of offering a day off for onboarding your new family member, which emphasizes the value of work-life balance and the understanding of the importance of our furry friends in our lives”.

Claudia Diana Vaidos, HR Manager, and Moustache the Cat, on her adoption day

5. Volunteering Leave

We understand that making a difference often requires more than just financial support. That’s why we offer our team members four days off each year to volunteer, with many choosing to dedicate this time to animal welfare causes, like helping at local shelters. This initiative not only allows our team to directly contribute to the well-being of animals but also fosters a sense of community and shared purpose within our team.

Marta, Growth Marketer

“Having the opportunity to devote 4 working days to volunteering, I found a local adoption point that hosts volunteers also on weekdays. I have a dog myself, so I know how hard it is for these animals without regular walks. When going on a volunteer, it is worth being prepared for different behaviors of dogs – from energetic reaction to the world, through fear and concerns. Regardless of that, it is worth being a volunteer and giving the dogs those few hours of fun. While it’s not the norm, even among pet-friendly companies, I really recommend that decision-makers think about offering extra days off for volunteering”.

Pet-friendly companies can offer extra days off for volunteering

6. Cat Fostering Mission

Monika, our CEO at 8Bit, runs a fostering home for cats initiative. She regularly brings cats in need into her home, providing a nurturing environment where they can socialize with humans and her own cat, Wojtuś. More than just a foster home, Monika uses her LinkedIn network to create unique resumes for each cat. These profiles effectively showcase their personalities and stories, helping them find forever homes through our extensive online community. This approach not only secures families for these cats but also highlights the significance of fostering and adoption in animal welfare.

Funny pet adoption ads - resume for a foster cat to be used by pet-friendly companies

A Call for More Pet-Friendly Companies

At 8Bit, our pet-friendly vibe really brings us together, even though we’re spread out in different places. Every day, our Slack is buzzing with pet pics and stories. We share both the joyous moments like adoption days, as well as the more challenging times when our animals are unwell.

We strongly encourage other businesses and their decision-makers to consider integrating pet-friendly initiatives into their environments. These practices not only boost morale but also promote a more cohesive and compassionate workplace. We are more than happy to share our experiences with any organization interested in exploring the benefits of a pet-friendly culture.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re looking to pick our brains on implementing such initiatives in your own company.