In the Workplace
For the last six weeks, I have had the amazing opportunity to work in a completely cruelty-free environment. Everyone is vegan, wears vegan, and works all day long on behalf of animals. A couple of weeks ago, when a co-worker and I got caught in the rain while walking to the metro, we shared a chuckle when I commented: “Another bright side to being in a vegan workplace: neither of us is wearing any leather that’s going to get ruined in the rain!”
To work in this kind of an environment is rare, I know. I wish everyone could have the experience, just to see how much it transforms the entire workday. (We also have three large dogs wandering around the office, which is an amazing presence.) However, in subtle ways, each of us can bring some cruelty-free into the office.
- Office Supplies
Simple little changes can make a difference. Do you have office supplies made by companies that use animal testing? Do a quick search on brands like Scotch and 3M and see what you find. Sometimes, buying cruelty-free alternatives means just buying a generic brand until the big names catch on.
- Work Attire
You can go cruelty-free and look fantastic doing it! Invariably, every time I wear my Natalie Portman boots, someone compliments me on them. I can’t think of a better way to pique someone’s curiosity than to be the fashionista at the workplace; then, when they notice your boots, your briefcase, or your sweater, you can let them know who made it… and that no animals were harmed in the process.
- Bathroom & Cleaning Products
At the yoga studio I own, Lyric Yoga and Wellness, I keep a cruelty-free hand soap in the studio’s bathroom (such as Kiss My Face), and under the sink are cleaning products that also are animal-friendly (Trader Joe’s, Ecover). If you don’t own the business, but the organization is small enough so that you can have a conversation with the person in charge of stocking up on this kind of stuff, try suggesting some of the more inexpensive cruelty-free alternatives. www.lyricyoga.com
- Potluck Lunches
While your coworkers may not all be vegetarian, it’s not out of bounds to organize a veggie potluck for fun. If people want to participate they can… no pressure. Those who choose not to partake will see all the yummy food in the employee lounge, and I guarantee the next time around, many of them will decide they’d like to contribute a dish to the table.
Remember the Seinfeld episode when Elaine was getting irritated because it seemed like every day there was a birthday at the office? Well, there’s no need to worry so much about the waistline if you’re selecting a healthier version of the Happy-Birthday routine. Vegan cakes and cupcakes are just as delicious as those made with dairy products. So the next time your birthday rolls around, get adventurous and go for the vegan cupcakes – I promise you will not be disappointed! If someone else at the office puts in the birthday-cake orders, let him or her know your preference. There are many bakeries that are willing to make non-dairy cakes and cupcakes these days, and you’ll have everyone in the office talking about how they never thought a vegan cupcake or chocolate cake could taste so good. I ordered cupcakes from Sticky Fingers Bakery in D.C. for my birthday just a few weeks ago!
- Photos of Fido and Fluffy
If you have pictures of family on your desk or posted up to the cubicle wall, please make sure to include pictures of your nonhuman family members. Not only will it add a little “warm and fuzzy” to your work day, but it also will let your coworkers know that you consider companion animals to be an important part of the family.
- Happy Hour
A perfect way to wrap up the week is with a happy hour, of course! Why not find a happy hour location in your area that features some vegetarian or vegan hors d’oeuvres? And, if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can look up the cruelty-free status of your favorite happy hour drinks (including beer) at Barnivore. Cheers!