A Place Where Dog­ging it is Com­pany Pol­icy

Inc. (USA) - - BEST WORKPLACES - BY TOM FOS­TER

When My­chele Lord was look­ing for a new head­quar­ters for Lord Green, her Dal­las­based, sus­tain­able-build­ing con­sul­tancy, one de­ter­min­ing fac­tor was find­ing a spot that would ac­com­mo­date seven of her most im­por­tant team mem­bers. Not the 17 hu­mans, but the seven ca­nines that re­port to work with them reg­u­larly. Lord Green had out­grown its pre­vi­ous space in a midrise of­fice build­ing, and Lord says she wanted some­thing that al­lowed “more au­ton­omy, where we could do our own thing.” She found it last spring in a one-story mid­cen­tury build­ing in res­i­den­tial North­east Dal­las that looks more like a groovy orange-walled house than an of­fice. “It was to­tally plug and play,” she says. “We just drove our com­put­ers over one day, plugged in, and that was it.”

Well, al­most. Those dogs needed a place to run, so she had a fence built around the prop­erty’s shady front yard. The ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem was tweaked to pro­vide more fresh air if needed by dogs or hu­mans.

Lord Green’s dog friend­li­ness is a sig­na­ture part of its cul­ture—Lord’s tiny pa­pil­lon, Me­gan, likes to perch on her desk be­tween her and visi­tors—but the ever-present yap­ping in the of­fice is re­ally the sound of some­thing greater, a phi­los­o­phy of mu­tual trust that gov­erns this $3 mil­lion com­pany’s life. No­body set any rules, for in­stance, about who would clean up af­ter the dogs in the yard; it just hap­pens. When staff wanted to start com­post­ing at work so that they could take buck­ets of or­ganic waste home to feed their gar­dens, Lord re­sponded, “Great. I’ll buy the bins, and then you’re re­spon­si­ble for it. I’m not go­ing to clean it up and I’m not go­ing to hire some­body.”

That phrase, “You’re re­spon­si­ble,” comes up a lot with Lord. Also this one: “Fig­ure it out.” Both of which make sense given her com­pany’s back­ground. Lord, 53, spent the first part of her ca­reer work­ing in com­mer­cial real es­tate, un­til, in the mi­daughts, she be­came alarmed by cli­mate change. She re­al­ized there was room in the mar­ket for a com­pany that could en­able real es­tate in­vestors to adopt the lat­est en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards (such as LEED cer­ti­fi­ca­tion), so she as­sumed the re­spon­si­bil­ity her­self, be­gin­ning in 2007. “I just had to fig­ure it out,” she says. In prac­tice, that

Founder My­chele Lord says she works her em­ploy­ees hard, but “I also take care of them.” Her pa­pil­lon, Me­gan, had no com­ment. TOP DOGS

Above: Sus­tain­abil­ity ser­vices as­so­ciate Made­line Hinch­liffe with her lap­top, Lo­gan, a toy sch­nauzer. Right: Cre­ative ser­vices man­ager Mark White with Tal­lu­lah, an Aus­tralian shep­herd. PET PERKS

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