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Pets in the office: Good for morale and for business

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Pets in the office is increasingly a regular sight. To keep employees happy and productive these days, businesses are increasingly promoting the care and feeding of employees through the care and feeding of their pets -- in the workplace.

More and more, employers and employees are finding that allowing their pets inside the office is a win-win situation. "We allow employees to bring their dogs to work every Friday,'' said Danielle Chriscoe, a spokesperson for Charlotte, N.C.-based Livingstone & Haven, a manufacturing company. "So, on any given Friday, we have about 10-15 dogs roaming around the building. People generally like having the dogs around, even employees who don't own pets. It's good for business, good for morale, and it brings excitement into the daily work routine.''

A 'breath of fresh air'

Morale, in particular, seems to rise in pet-friendly workplaces. Daniel Gaugler, a marketing manager at PrintingforLess in Livingston, Mont., said that his company's pet policy is made to order for him and his dog, Daisy.

"At our e-commerce printing company, at least eight and as many as 12 dogs roam our halls during the day,'' he said. "I bring Daisy, my 2-year-old Labrador retriever, to work with me. She is so anxious to go to the office in the morning that she jumps up and down by the front door. Then after a nice ride in the car she bolts out when we arrive. After a drink of water, she starts her morning rounds for treats.''

Gaugler added that his office complex makes things easier for employees and their pets. "Our new building was designed to be dog friendly,'' he said. "The floors are concrete so they're easy to clean. We have a trail system around the building, and people take turns taking several dogs out during the day.''

At Seattle-based Barokas Public Relations, employees are allowed to bring their pets in on a daily basis. "My dog Cody comes with me to work three or four times per week,'' said account coordinator Alison Paoli. "Other people tell me that Cody brings a lot of life to the office. (And) our owner is great about having pets around. He brings his dog to the office and we now have a good supply of dog bones and pet pads in the office. I love it.''

Good for business?

More and more companies are taking note -- and rolling out their own pet-friendly workplace policies.

According to a new survey from Greenwich, Conn.-based American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA), nearly one in five companies allows pets in the workplace.

According to the APPMA's survey:

  • 55 million Americans say that having pets in the workplace leads to a more creative environment.
  • 53 million believe having pets in the workplace decreases absenteeism.
  • 50 million believe having pets in the workplace helps co-workers get along better.
  • 38 million believe having pets in the workplace creates a more productive work environment.
  • 46 million people who bring their pets to the workplace work longer hours.

More good news: Companies that have pet-on-the-premises policies report few problems.

"We've embarked on a six-month project that allows employees to bring their pets to work,'' said Karen Bracey, a human resources manager at Leader Dogs for the Blind, a Rochester, Mich.-based non-profit that provides trained guide dogs for visually impaired people. "So far, so good. It's been a great recruiting tool for us and our employees are telling us that they're more relaxed and happy.''

Sure, they don't take dictation, and you can't count on them to balance the books. But pets in the workplace are starting to contribute in their own inimitable way.

Credit: Reviewed by Amy I. Attas, V.M.D.
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