In this dog-eat-dog corporate world of deadlines, stress and non-stop meetings, I got to thinking about the effect it has when I bring my pup Dwight (see below) to work. The minute he trots in the door, people light up. They relax, they smile, they play. And Dwight loves every minute of it. Does this mean we should let the dogs out?
An article from CNN cites a recent study that says, “According to a preliminary investigation published in March in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Business, employees who bring their dog to the office can cap the amount of stress experienced during the day, and improve job satisfaction for all.” Less stress and increased satisfaction? Seems like a no-brainer, and some pretty successful companies including TRX, ModCloth, Yammer and Google here in San Francisco seem to have found a way to do it by doing the following:
Have a Solid Policy in Place
Google for instance, has a dog policy that outlines a basic set of guidelines including picking up after your furry friend and being respectful of allergic co-workers. And Google is clearly a dog’s world as their code of conduct forbids cats under the notion that because Google is a dog place, any visiting felines would feel less than secure. Your policy should also spell out specifics of any breeds not allowed, as well as damages and personal injury issues. Covering your bases and being respectful to all employees will help ensure a good experience for everyone. Also consider that not all buildings and landlords are pet-friendly which is a bummer, but if yours is, you may want to try it.
A recent Inc. article discussed how the company, One Call Now even goes beyond dogs. The company has several dogs, fish, birds, turtles and other caged animals that hang out with their humans during the workday. The company worked with their HR team to develop a pet policy, “There’s nothing that’s not common sense,” CEO Lieb Lurie, says of the policy. “So if you have common sense, your pet is welcome.” Simple and straightforward.
Take It For a Walk Before You Go Full Force
Take Your Dog to Work Day is just around the corner (June 21st) and it’s a great chance to “test drive” having dogs, or other pets in your office. Pet Sitter International has a great action pack with all the details to keep tails wagging during the event.
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Make Them Part of Your Culture
Modcloth has been one of the fastest growing companies in San Francisco and are known for their mascot Winston, the pug who shows up throughout their site. They’ve incorporated Winston and other pups in their blog and even have a Facebook page called ModDogs which according to their About section is, “meant to showcase our most loved pups and give you a chance to submit your own puppy photos once you join the club!” And judging by the 4,000-plus likes they’ve got on the page, they’re creating some great engagement with their customers and fans! This is a great example of taking a positive thing for your employees and expanding the reach to your customers.
What do you think of having dogs in the workplace? Are you a fan?
This article by VerticalResponse CEO and founder Janine Popick originally appeared on Inc.com.