Feeling ruff? Did your boss just bark at you, leaving you with your tail dragging between your legs, licking your wounds? A little puppy love on Take Your Dog to Work Day will likely make you feel better. And if your employer is on board with dogs in the office, it might benefit them, too.
Happy Take Your Dog to Work Day!
This Friday, June 22 marks the 20th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day, a “holiday” started in 1999 by Pet Sitters International. Originally, the day was meant to encourage people to adopt homeless pets. And while dozens of happy, loving canines roaming around the office may still persuade some to head to their local shelter and take home a new best friend, having dogs in the office doesn’t just pay off for Fido; it benefits employees and their employers, too.
It’s Good for You, Doggone It!
According to Chanda Leary-Coutu, director of consumer experience for Wellness Natural Pet Food, as quoted in USA Today – aside from the general health benefits of owning a dog – “there are proven benefits to having pets at work, like lowered blood pressure, lessened anxiety and increased physical activity.”
Indeed, the University of Southern California’s Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences reports that, “Studies prove that pets have calming effects, reduce blood pressure, lower stress, and make employees more cordial and productive.”
Continued the report:
Both employers and employees stated [having pets in the office] helps them pass long work hours happily, and the pets remind them to take necessary breaks. Spending too much time too close to a project, problem, or other work can inhibit productivity and cause unnecessary stress. Pets remind people to pause and step back from whatever they are involved in. Short walks, a little playtime, and temporary distractions allow mental breaks so as not to overwork and become stressed.
The report also stated that:
More and more frequently, employers and employees are discovering that pets at the workplace make them happier, lower stress levels, and create a comfortable, flexible environment. Pets can create camaraderie within the workplace and trigger interactions that may not have happened without them. Better communication leads to more trust, a key component in a successful work environment. Trust and communication rival stress and promote productivity, causing improved morale and reduced absenteeism. Furthermore, reduced stress means less stress-related ailments and the healthcare costs that accompany them.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”There’s a change in the energy of the office with dogs around. It’s calmer. I think it makes it harder to be a jerk when there’s a Labrador Retriever aggressively nuzzling you under the table.” – Tim Low, PayScale SVP, Marketing” quote=”There’s a change in the energy of the office with dogs around. It’s calmer. I think it makes it harder to be a jerk when there’s a Labrador Retriever aggressively nuzzling you under the table.” – Tim Low, PayScale SVP, Marketing”]
It’s Good for the Top Dog, Too
Thirty-seven percent of American workers would sacrifice benefits – including vacation time or the ability to work from home, or even take a pay cut – to be able to bring their dog to work, according to Wellness Natural Pet Food’s Leary-Coutu. Furthermore, 44 percent would consider switching jobs to work in a pet-friendly workplace.
That’s an amazingly well-valued – and cost-effective – employee perk. So much so, employers who haven’t yet considered opening their offices to pets might well give it some thought in order to attract and retain talent.
PayScale itself invites dogs into the office once a month on a designated “Fido Friday,” and, according to Vice President of People Stacey Klimek, the tradition pays off in dividends.
“I’m passionate about building relationships here at PayScale, and Fido Friday creates the opportunity for our employees to engage in conversations that they may not have during the regular course of business,” says Klimek. “On Fido Fridays, you’ll find employees moving from floor to floor to meet new dogs or see their favorites. These connections often lead to friendships within the company, or – at a minimum – provide an avenue for employees to feel comfortable working with team members outside of their department.”
Tim Low, PayScale’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, sees additional benefits of PayScale’s dog-friendly offices.
“For companies thinking about how to make themselves more appealing to talent, adopting a dog friendly office might just be the thing that helps you keep or attract people when you can’t pay more or add costlier benefits,” he says.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘For companies trying to become more appealing to talent, adopting a dog-friendly office might just be the thing that helps to keep or attract people when you can’t pay more or add costlier benefits.’ – Tim Low, PayScale SVP, Marketing” quote=”‘For companies trying to become more appealing to talent, adopting a dog-friendly office might just be the thing that helps to keep or attract people when you can’t pay more or add costlier benefits.’ – Tim Low, PayScale SVP, Marketing”]
Adds Low, “I love having dogs in the office. There’s a change in the energy of the office with dogs around. It’s calmer. Somehow it diffuses tension having these critters around during a meeting. I think it makes it harder to be a jerk when there’s a Labrador Retriever aggressively nuzzling you under the table.”
Agrees Klimek, “On a personal level, I love Fido Fridays. Having dogs in the office makes me so happy. My co-workers have had the opportunity to meet all three of my pups and have helped me through the tough times of losing two. My dog Louie is now two years old, and he has grown up coming to the office. His ears perk up when I tell him, ‘It’s Fido Friday!’”
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
Are you able to bring your dog to work? Would you like to? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.