People love bringing their pets to work. Find out how pet-friendly companies make it part of the culture.
America is in love with pets. You can find boutique pet shops in towns across the country. Specialty dog and cat treats line the aisles of supermarkets. And pet-friendly companies are becoming the norm rather than the exception.
According to the ASPCA, there are approximately 78 million dogs and over 85 million cats living in U.S. households. Many of those dogs are also heading to the office. Google, Workday, Bissell, and Mars all have dog-friendly policies. Salesforce, a small business CRM software company, has a "dog-centric" section of their office which includes soundproofing, dog beds, and crates.
But what do these and other dog-friendly companies do that make bringing your dog to work a successful part of company culture for everyone involved? After all, not just any dog is fit for office life, and not just any person can work with a dog in the cubicle.
The benefits of dogs in the workplace
1. Dogs reduce stress
Stress is a productivity killer. Dogs counteract that stress and create more cooperation and communication in work environments. According to a recent study by Virginia Commonwealth University Psychiatry Professor Sandra Barker and Business Professor Randolph T. Barker, dogs in the workplace have "a really positive impact on morale and communication and cooperation."
2. Dogs make you get out and exercise
The CDC Foundation estimates that injured and ill employees cost U.S. businesses over $225 billion each year. There are, of course, plenty of employee wellness programs to help reduce that cost, but when your four-legged friend is giving you the "I really have to go out" look, you have to get up and go. No excuses.
A couple of ten-minute walks each day is a good way for employees to reset their brains and refresh their energy.
3. Dogs reduce your hiring costs
Replacing an employee is an expensive and time-consuming affair. Between interviews, onboarding, and integrating a new employee into a former employee's role, you could lose months of critical work time. That doesn't count the institutional knowledge that a former employee may take with them when they leave.
You certainly can't expect everyone on your team to remain with the company forever. You can, however, increase the loyalty of your employees. In fact, a recent study by Banfield Pet Hospital found that "83 percent of employees feel a greater sense of loyalty to companies with pet-friendly policies."
How pet-friendly companies make it workIt's not all squeaky toys and tummy rubs with dogs at work. Some dogs are so high strung that they bark every time every time a door opens. Some dogs don't like men with beards, people with glasses, or the way that trash can looks like it could attack at any moment. Dogs are just plain weird sometimes.
Likewise, some of your employees may have allergies to dogs. Some may be afraid of dogs. The fact is that not every office is suited to inviting dogs in, despite the benefits they may bring with them.
However, if you'd love to have some furry company at work but aren't sure how to do it, here are some tips from dog-friendly companies that may help you out.
1. Agree on behavior
Arkansas Business Publishing Group CEO Olivia Farrell notes that “the generally tacit agreement [was] that your dog is friendly, housebroken, well-mannered, and gets along well with others.”
TINYpulse, a management software company in Seattle, has a written pet policy which states that any dog over 25 pounds cannot roam freely. And almost every dog policy stipulates that any dog that bites or causes disruptions is no longer permitted at work.
2. Create expectations
At Google, you have to clean up after your dog in case of an accident, which makes sense. Amazon allows canine companions as long as they are on a leash or confined to an office with either a baby gate or closed door.
Other companies have a sign-up list for people to bring their dogs in on specific days. And Talia Shani, of Yotpo.com, says that dogs (and cats) are only allowed in certain sections of the office.
3. Offer pet perks
This is the real meat of what makes the most dog-friendly companies tick. They understand the importance of having pets either in the office or well-taken care of if they can't be in the office.
Game developer Zynga includes pet insurance benefits and a rooftop dog park. Rover.com offers pet adoption funding, canine bereavement leave, and, of course, dog treats. More and more companies are even offering pet health insurance as an employee benefit.
Tito's Handmade Vodka, in Austin, Texas, dedicates a portion of their business to animal rescue, even taking shelter dogs in as office mates. Speaking of which, The Human Society of the United States has a dog run at their headquarters, and they celebrate Halloween complete with dogs in costume.
Dogs can roam free at Ben & Jerry's in Vermont, and there's a stash of treats at the reception desk.
Dog-friendly companies come in all shapes and sizes. While your company may not be able to offer rooftop dog parks, it may be enough to allow dogs in the office one day per week.
Even if you don't work in a pet-friendly office, you can still add pet insurance to your Pekin Insurance homeowners policy. Get in touch with your local Pekin Insurance agent today to find out more.
Is your office dog-friendly? What rules do you have in place to make it work? Share your thoughts in the comments.