Take Your Dog to Work Day is coming soon!
If it’s safe and fits the culture of your workplace, you may want to make every day Take Your Dog to Work Day.
“Having pets in the office boosts morale,” Procter & Gamble’s Julie Franklin tells USA Today. “It’s a definite stress-reliever. It makes our employees healthier and calmer, which means they’re much more productive.”
Procter & Gamble, Ben & Jerry’s, Amazon, Etsy, and Google are just some of the big-name companies that already allow employees to bring their animal friends into the office every day of the year.
Are pet-friendly policies realistic for your organization? It’s worth considering! Companies that welcome dogs and other pets have discovered lasting benefits to workplace culture as well as employee health, happiness and motivation. Read on to learn more and for tips from experts on starting a pet-friendly workplace.
Why Pet-Friendly Workplaces Are On the Rise
Pet-friendly workplaces are still in the minority, but they’re on the rise. A recent SHRM survey found that 8 percent of companies allow pets, up from 5 percent in 2013. Why?
It’s Meaningful to Millennials
Millennials will soon surpass Baby Boomers as the largest pet-owning generation, and that means pet-friendly workplaces offer an advantage to this growing segment of the workforce.
“Employers are starting to realize that having a Millennial bring … a pet to work, you wind up getting a more focused employee, you get someone more comfortable at the office and a person willing to work longer hours,” Bob Vetere of the American Pet Products Association tells CNBC.
At Amazon’s main campus, more than 2,000 dogs are regularly brought in by the 25,000 employees who work there. “The company also provides doggy treats at all of its reception desks and each of the nearly 30 buildings on the campus has spaces for pet exercise,” CNBC’s Jeff Daniels writes.
At Clif Bar’s offices in Emeryville, California, being pet-friendly is part of the company’s “responsibility to respect and invest in people’s lives beyond their workstations,” company spokesperson Keely Wachs tells CNBC.
“Millennials really connect with our purpose-driven approach and appreciate how we invest in their whole lives — whether it’s having dogs in the office or paying our people to exercise and volunteer in their communities on company time,” Wachs says.
It Relieves Stress
Dogs in the office reduce employee stress, according to the Virginia Commonwealth University study. The researchers measured employee stress levels by surveying and taking saliva samples from employees at the North Carolina dinnerware company Replacements, Ltd, which has been pet-friendly for decades.
All employees arrived for work in the morning with similar stress levels, “but during the course of the work day, self-reported stress declined for employees with their dogs present and increased for non-pet owners and dog owners who did not bring their dogs to work. … Stress significantly rose during the day when owners left their dogs at home compared to days they brought them to work.”
Even employees without a dog benefitted by being around a coworker’s dog or taking the dog on a break.
Lead researcher Randolph T. Barker concluded that pet presence in the workplace can “serve as a low-cost wellness intervention readily available to many organizations and may enhance organizational satisfaction and perceptions of support.”
It Builds Employee Trust and Creativity
Being around our pets makes us nicer to other humans! A study at Central Michigan University tested the impact of dogs on group dynamics and found that having dogs present “made employees 30 percent less likely to report each other, showing that canine co-workers make for a more cohesive and trustworthy workplace environment.”
It Helps Create a Positive Workplace Culture
A pro-pet policy sets the tone for a “comfortable, open and flexible” workplace culture, according to Huffington Post’s Lena Auerbach, as quoted in an Inc. article.
At Huffington Post, which has been pet-friendly since 2011, there’s an “understanding that everyone keeps their teeth to themselves and remembers where the fire hydrant is,” one staffer jokes.
Get Started: Take Your Dog to Work Day
Preparation is necessary to make a pet-filled workplace productive, according to USA Today. Employees should come prepared with a leash, treats and bowls for food and water. It also helps if companies provide pet-friendly accommodations and have policies in place.
Trupanion has tips for companies on how to get executive buy-in, gain landlord approval, create a pet policy, complete pet-proofing and notify employees.
But first — test the waters! Take Your Dog to Work Day is a chance to see if being a pet-friendly workplace is right for you.
Even if the everyday presence of pets isn’t feasible in your workplace, you can still celebrate Take Your Dog to Work Day (or Take Your Cat to Work Day!):
- Invite in a therapy dog or cat
- Encourage employees to bring in photos and share stories of their pets
- Send employees home with treats for their pets
- Take your team on a volunteer trip to your local humane society
Make Every Day a Workplace Celebration!
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