Bring Your Four-Footed Friends to the Office – Pro or Con?

Bring Your Four-Footed Friends to the Office – Pro or Con?

By: Kris Kleinknight I just watched a video about a new employee at an airline.  This made me ponder: what’s the current temperature out there on bringing your pet to the workplace?  The video is from KLM Airlines Lost & Found Service staring Sherlock the Beagle – WARNING: cuteness overload.  Sherlock canvases the plane with the attendant, is given a big sniff of the forgotten smart phone which is placed into his backpack and he bolts off to find the owner.  Everyone, especially Sherlock, is so happy throughout the video as he clearly loves having a career and those in the airport love the added distraction.  It made me want to investigate a bit about the effects our pets can have on us at our workplace and vice versa. Catching a glimpse of a wagging tail skittering around the office isn’t just cute. It may just save your life and the lives of employees.  According to an article in Inc. by Jordan smith; “Allowing pets in the workplace has long been seen as key employee benefit, as well as an amusement (depending on whether you’re an animal lover). But for some employers, an open door policy toward pets–particularly, man’s best friend–has a raft of other business-enhancing benefits, which includes improved morale, reduced employee absenteeism and stress-related ailments like heart disease and diabetes. In a 2012 study, employees who were around dogs in the workplace reported feeling less stressed than employees who have dogs but left them at home, according to researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University. The study also found that pets triggered workplace interactions that would not normally take place.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also cited similar stress-reducing benefits. Replacements, a dinnerware retailer based in Greensboro, North Carolina, has been pro (well-behaved) puppies at the office for decades.  “The VCU study proved what we always thought: Having dogs around leads to a more productive work environment, and people get to know each other through the pets,” says Lisa Conklin, Replacements public relations manager. “If you are in a position where something is stressful, seeing that wagging tail and puppy smile brightens the day–it can turn around the whole environment.” The benefits of Replacements’ pet policy extend beyond employee health, says Conklin. Specifically, she reported 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.” She added that some employees consider the peace of mind that comes from of having their pets within reach a key benefit. “It is a lot of fun to have dogs around the office,” says Conklin. At Etsy, however, even the dogs have a community. The company keeps a doggie database, which features more than 50 nearby office dogs that are registered to come in. On any given day, about 4 to 10 pups are present.   Janet Myers; a nurse at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, IN founded the pet-therapy program at the hospital.  “It’s been proven that people are always more productive when they are happy,” Myers said. “If Bentley is by my side, I am not thinking of needing to be home to care for him or that he’s lonely. I often stay late at work with him snoozing away under my desk. He is a big part of my life.” My findings went on and on to reinforce that YES the critters are happier and the employees are happier.   The bonus side effects include added health benefits for both owner and pet.  We love our furry friends, and having them around is just the best!  

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