Today, August 26, is National Dog Day. We’ve all heard the expression that dog is man’s best friend. But could dogs also be an employee’s best friend?
It’s a widely known fact that it’s an employees market. In this day and age, when it’s harder to recruit and retain talent, companies want to gain any advantage they can. Apart from higher salaries (and increased transparency), one thing a company can do is to offer better perks. Savvy employees want perks that matter to them. Thus, employers should offer perks that employees actually want and need. Among those perks is the provision of pet-friendly workplaces.
Pet-Friendly Workplaces on the Rise
One of the most popular employee perks today is the pet-friendly workplace. From co-working spaces to full-fledged corporate headquarters, more and more businesses are following this trend. In Japan, an aptly-named IT firm called Ferray Corp, allows employees to bring both dogs and cats to the office. Co-working spaces, a newer phenomenon disrupting the traditional office space models, are offering pet-friendly environments as well.
Kurgo is a company that creates active-lifestyle products for dogs and their human companions. This is an example of a company that goes above and beyond just letting employees bring their dogs to work. Kurgo offers dog-specific amenities like low water fountains, treats in the kitchen, artificial grass for indoor play areas, a shower for dogs and baskets of toys.
Seattle-based Rover, an in-home dog-walking and pet care company, even came up with a ranking of the 100 most dog-friendly companies in the U.S. Their rankings were based on four criteria: whether or nor dogs are allowed in office; in-office perks like treats, gates and dog beds; support for pet insurance and/or adoption and paid time off for pet bereavement or adoption.
Many Benefits to Pet-Friendly Workplaces
Whether you’re team Fido or team Fluffy, there’s research to prove that a pet-friendly workplace can be beneficial for almost everyone. Just in case you’re still not convinced, here are some of the ways companies can benefit from having a pet-friendly workplace.
Increased Morale and Reduced Stress
A study from the University of Missouri-Columbia found that even just petting a dog for a few minutes helps your body release beneficial hormones like serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin. It also helps lower blood pressure. The result is contagious. Even if you don’t have a dog of your own, you can still enjoy the effect via contact with your coworkers’ canines.
Increased Employee Performance and Productivity
Employees are having to spend more and more time working. Being able to bring their pets to work helps alleviate employees’ worries about their pets. No longer do they need to rush home during lunch or fight their way home through rush hour after to take care of their pets’ needs. This helps reduce mental distractions, allowing workers to be more deeply engaged in their work.
Helps Boost Company Brand and Recruiting
Employees who are happy at work are likely to tell others about their experience. In turn, these brand evangelists can help boost your company’s profile to outside candidates. Amazon, for example has Social media sites like LinkedIn or Facebook can do wonders for raising your company’s profile.
Establishing a Pet-Friendly Program
As mentioned above, some companies have fully comprehensive pet programs. However, the type of program your company allows will depend on various factors. Some things you’ll need to consider are:
Have you employees expressed an interest in bringing pets to work?
Does your company’s office lease allow for pets in the workplace?
Does your company’s leadership support and understand the value of allowing employees to bring pets to work?
What is the layout of your office? Are there individual offices or one big open floor plan? Are pets allowed free range to roam around or do pets need to be leashed or contained to certain areas? Will noise be a problem for other employees?
Will you offer treats and drinking water stations? Is there nearby access to open space for pets to have potty breaks?
Different Programs for Different Companies
The type of program you choose will depend on the size of your company. Amazon for example has 7,000 pets coming to work every day. As such, they have a greater amount of resources for their program. PayScale, on the other hand, has a once-a-month Fido Friday, where employees can bring their dogs to work the first Friday of the month.
No matter how large or small your business is, you’ll find there is great opportunity to increase morale and productivity.