Pet-friendly offices are a growing trend and not as ‘out there’ as one might imagine. As all owners know, pets are great morale boosters, reducing stress levels and making their human companions feel more content. Offices have long had aquariums of tropical fish because organizations understand the therapeutic value of watching these creatures.
Benefits for employees (and their pets) are obvious. Dog owners, in particular, can find it very difficult to arrange for their dogs to be exercised regularly while they are away at work for long hours — and dogs need regular companionship. Being able to take your dog to work means you have the opportunity to schedule a long walk during your lunch hour, ensuring you get out into the fresh air and take some exercise instead of eating lunch at your desk — a definite health benefit. Having a dog to stroke while waiting on hold or simply brainstorming your next project can be a great outlet for stress and might well make you more productive.
For many people, however, this may still seem like a pipe dream — after all, what could possibly persuade your boss that you need to bring your Great Dane to work? Interestingly, there are definite benefits for employers also. Happy workers are more productive workers and offering a pet-friendly office is a perk, like offering telecommuting or a gym membership; the more perks a company offers, the more attractive it is to new talent. Allowing pets in the workplace also results in lower levels of absenteeism, and having a pet-friendly work environment creates a relaxed, informal atmosphere for all employees, not just for the pet owners themselves.
The benefits of a friendly pooch welcoming customers should not be overlooked either. Some stores and offices find that having an "office dog" actually encourages customers, many of whom are delighted that they can bring their own dog into your store or place of business.
Sadly, not everyone loves animals; some are allergic or even phobic. Clearly pet-friendly working environments needs to give consideration to these workers also. Companies wishing to be pet friendly should have guidelines regarding cleanliness and how much freedom pets have within the workplace. Some companies insist that dogs be leashed unless they are kept in offices with closed doors or behind safety gates. In order for you and your dog to be happy at work, it should go without saying that your dog must be calm, sociable, and well-trained. Obviously, some workplaces will lend themselves to being pet-friendly more readily than others. A smaller office may be more likely to encourage pets than a large, impersonal corporate setting. That said, both Google and Amazon are listed among the thousands of pet-friendly workplaces in North America!
InSite's own mascot is a golden retriever named Maple, and she frequently accompanies her owner to work — providing great company to those in the office, and an excellent brainstorming partner!