Have you ever worked in a dog-friendly office? We are certainly that. A couple of office pets who come nearly every day are Fozzie—in the New Hampshire office—and Burt and Noxie in Fort Collins. Burt has been part of the team for well over three years, so if it weren’t working out we probably would have figured it out by now. Jake, the original office dog, has been coming to the office his whole life, close to 14 years now. He is the unofficial RCS mascot and even has a cartoon drawn of him.
There are tons of studies linking pet ownership to health benefits like lower cardiovascular stress. More and more companies are allowing dogs at work with the idea that they can they can strengthen the three-legged stool of Health, Happiness and Productivity.
NPR recently reported that “Studies show pets lower stress hormones, and some show that workplaces that allow pets see higher morale and productivity.” Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University published a study showing that stress levels actually taper off over the day for pet owners who take their dogs to work. As importantly, office pets may improve work satisfaction for non-pet owners.
Responsible policies allowing office pets can benefit companies in all sorts of ways. Attracting and retaining talented younger employees is one of those perks. Forbes reports that “Millennials have been known to choose dog friendly companies over their competition when most other considerations are equal.” Fortune also wrote that many human resource managers use pet-friendly workplace policies as recruitment tools.
For practical guidelines about office pets, the Society for Human Resource Management just published a helpful guide on “How to Be a Pet-Friendly Employer.” There are many options suited to all types of companies, from fairly permissive office policies to online employee resource groups for pet owners.
Breed can be a poor predictor of a pet’s suitability to office settings, experts at the American Veterinary Medical Association say. Instead, screen office pets for things like temperament, obedience training and neuter status. RCS also has employees sign a pet policy before they can bring their dogs into work.
The idea of allowing dogs at work is not without controversy, but a good workplace pet policy can result in more engaged, loyal and happy employees. It’s a perfect culture match at Retail Control Systems—so what if we’re biased? They’re some of our best friends!