#Pets Slack: Doggo On It

The True Value of Slack

Slack is an amazing tool for connecting our organization across time zones, oceans, and job types. While the productivity benefits of Slack are well-documented in a previous blog post, we only touched upon the true team-building assets it provides. One of the greatest aspects of slack, and one of the most rewarding non-monetary perks of working at C.H. Robinson, is #pets.

Who Unleashed the Hounds?

Starting casually enough on a cold Friday in January, 2017, our #random channel began taking on pet pictures.

A photo of two dogs snoozing on a coworker’s couch appeared shortly after 10 am; next came a picture of two beagles cuddled on another colleague’s couch. These adorable photos were enough to elicit even more pictures of beloved pets from our organization. By 5 pm we had 30 more pictures of beloved pets in #random. Seeing the interest in sharing our pets, a #pets channel was formed. The aim was to provide a subscribable outlet for C.H. Robinson employees to share their love for their pets. Our #pets community started out with 32 members joining the day we founded the channel, 10 more joined the next workday, and years later we now have over 350 members and growing. We maintain a consistent rate of 20% of overall slack users subscribed to the channel. It is also our most reactive channel, where every pet picture leads to emoji affirmations and comments. The joy and sense of community that #pets brings its members is a source of positivity that costs the organization nothing, but means the world to so many colleagues.

Now, over three years and well over eight thousand pictures, GIFs, and videos later, it has become apparent that a bond was being formed: a strong and supportive community of pet enthusiasts who brighten every day of work. With no rigid rules (outside of keeping content workplace appropriate), one main guide has endured about the content of the #pets channel:

Post pictures of cute domesticated animals that you encounter in your day-to-day life.

With an easy premise, we’ve seen some mighty delightful pictures in which we’ve shared joy.

Adorable puppies Angel, the cat Duke, the vizsla Falkor the dragon
Just a hint of the cute we've been able to share!

The Bestest of Times, the Woofest of Times

Throughout the ups and downs of life and work life–such as getting notice that the weather is likely to be doubling their commute time, or that their expected timetables have been invalidated by external forces–a dependable source of encouraging news is a boon to our teams. In the midst of a deluge of news events, the #pets channel stands as a beacon of hope and wholesome contentedness.

To put this in perspective, imagine for yourself a workday morning where overcast skies hide the sun and the forecast predicts a cold rain to last from morning through late evening. Traffic was at a standstill (or so it seemed) for an extra twenty minutes, and upon entering the building mere minutes before your first meeting, you realize you’ll have to move your lunch back thirty minutes to accommodate the errands you intended to get done yesterday. Ugh. You log in to your work computer to check your messages before you head into the meeting and are greeted with this:

Aspen, a cute dog.
Took home this sweet girl last week. Everyone, meet Aspen :two_hearts: :dog:

Such an adorable photo can be a ray of sunshine that warms even the coldest of days. In the time it takes to scroll through a few pet pictures, the trajectory of your day pivots from a mediocre amble to an energized saunter which boosts your attitude. Perhaps, not only your attitude is uplifted - it may even spread to your friends in the #pets channel!

Work From Home Supervisors

On the coldest, snowiest days of winter, many colleagues choose to work from home, particularly on days where the state or local governments ask people to avoid driving if possible. These days can make a person feel defeated, but there is a ray of hope: the number of #pets posts increases dramatically as people add pictures of their “work from home supervisors”. Nothing will cheer up a cold heart like cats cuddling on owners’ laps next to the laptop computer.

Woof, what a day...
Woof, what a day...

Meow-nificient Pets and Where To Post Them

Further along in our #pets journey we began creating emojis of the pets as ~an anthropomorphic manner of expressing complex emotion~ a cute way of reacting to incoming pet photos. One of the most popular has been our own :wow-cat: emoji from a welcome contributor. Origin photo is listed below:

Gizmo, the cat, with a surprised expression
Close up of a happy Gizmo

And the ensuing cuteness that now graces our messages:

Gizmo, the cat, with a surprised expression
Emoji of Gizmo, :wow-cat:

Since we created the first emoji, we’ve gone on to create over 200 emoji for various emotive expressions, as well as identifiers for contributors to the pets channel.

Building Our Zootopia Together

All this comes together as our shared experience of joy strengthens our workplace unity, and we move forward together towards our goals of being the best 3PL on the market. We believe we are succeeding in that endeavor each day by having a wholesome community that celebrates our empathy for one another as people, as well as the beloved pets around us.