Is your job going to the dogs? Literally? A recent survey found that 20% of North American companies now allow employees to bring pets to work. In fact, animals on the job have become so common, there’s a new book on the subject, called Dogs at Work: A Practical Guide to Creating Dog-Friendly Workplaces. It’s co-written by dog trainer Liz Palika, who says pets won’t work for every company, but for those willing to follow a few simple rules, it could be a great opportunity to boost business.
For example: Animals should only be allowed at work if they have decent manners, are well-groomed, and are house-trained. However, any animal that begs for food, acts territorial, is noisy, or shows aggression needs to be left home. Palika says these restrictions help assure a safe and friendly work environment, and the reality is that only about one in 50 dogs will qualify for the job. We should mention that the vast majority of pet-friendly companies are small, privately owned businesses. They’re actually three-times more likely to turn office cubes into kennels, compared to big companies. Most companies offer a probationary period, where they give new pets a certain amount of time to prove they can handle being around other people and animals. For those who pass the test, the benefits can be huge.
Studies show that pets in the workplace can reduce stress by offering a calming presence for both owners and non-owners. They also give employees an opportunity to bond and form new friendships. Research shows that when workers bond with each other, they tend to be more creative and productive! Also, some workers think of bringing their pet to work as a “perk” and in this era of companies cutting benefits to save money, establishing a pet-friendly workplace could be one perk that doesn’t cost the boss a dime. No company should think about allowing pets without establishing some clear rules first, but for those willing to take the pet-friendly plunge, experts say the payoffs can be huge.