**Editors Note** OWL Computing Inc. has yet to adopt a pro-pet policy. This is really just my way to try and persuade my boss to let me bring my dog to work!
About 20 percent of all companies in the United States allow employees to bring their pets to work according to research by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. There are some studies that show this can actually benefit the employees and in turn, the company as a whole. Here are a few reasons why adopting a pro-pet policy will create a positive work environment as well as a few rules your office could follow to ensure a seamless integration.
PETS REDUCE STRESS WHICH HELPS BOOST PRODUCTIVITY
According to animalsmart.org, studies show that playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol. We all know that living a low stress lifestyle has many health benefits. Healthier employees are more productive, take fewer sick days and insurance costs are reduced with a healthy work force.
An article at entrepreneur.com cited a study by Virginia Commonwealth University that tested the physiological and psychological effects of pets at the workplace on 2 groups of employees. One who brought their pet to work and one who did not. By the end of the day, the group that was unable to bring their pet to work had significant spikes to their stress levels while the other group’s were reduced. The spikes were usually caused by stress related to making sure they were home in time to feed, walk or let their pet outside.
PETS IN THE OFFICE HELP FOSTER WORK RELATIONSHIPS
Co-workers who wouldn’t normally interact in the office can sometimes find common ground when pets are around.People will get to know each other simply by getting to know each other’s pets. According to inc.com, Replacements, a dinnerware retailer located in North Carolina has allowed pets in the office for decades. One employee reported she experienced improved interactions among staffers. “When I first took the job, I often learned the names of the pets before employees, and it helped me build a bond with everyone.” This can lead to more teamwork among coworkers on job related projects.
PETS GET EMPLOYEES MOVING
It can be a lot of fun to have animals in the office. Another way allowing pets can benefit your work force is exercise and convenience. Some bosses encourage mental breaks by leaving your desk and getting your eyes off your computer screen. Small breaks to play or take a dog on a walk can lead to healthier and happier employees. Pet owners who are able to bring their pets to work are able to save money rather than hiring a dog walker and are able work more hours without having to rush home at day’s end.
MUST HAVES FOR A PET-FRIENDLY WORKPLACE
Lay out clear ground rules or establish a pet policy . Here are a few examples:
no aggressive behavior
no loud barking
responsible pet ownership
create a pet- free zone in case some employees are allergic or uncomfortable around animals
Some of the largest and most successful companies welcome pets on their premises. Google, Amazon and Ben & Jerry’s are known for their work culture and employee friendly policies that include allowing pets in the office. Build-a-Bear Workshop even has Milford, their Chief Executive Dog! Employees even celebrate Take Your Dog to Work Day every June with over 10,000 companies participating in the United States since 1996.