When it comes to happiness and wellness, sometimes the most important factor is not where you are, what you are doing, or even how or why you are doing it. Sometimes, the most impactful element in alleviating your stress level and increasing your energy — especially in the workplace — is with whom you are doing it. And while colleagues and coworkers are an extremely important element of your overall satisfaction at work, that’s not who we’re referring to here. Rather, we’re talking about the furry, four-legged friends who are increasingly being welcomed into offices with open arms. While the practice of bringing pets into work may be rooted in Pet Sitter’s International “Take Your Dog to work Day,” a “holiday” (if you will) created in 1999, today, companies like Amazon, Google, and thousands of others allow their workers to bring their pets into work whenever they want — and the results are fascinating
According to Julie Franklin, a communications specialist at Proctor and Gamble, bringing pets into the office has a large impact on her and her colleagues’ overall health, happiness, and productivity. Julie’s not alone alone; the stats and data surrounding this practice don’t lie. Despite the extra responsibility and chores tending to an animal involves, a staggering 81% of pet owners credit their pets as being a major stress reliever, and 62% report getting more exercise because of their pets. A recent study conducted at Central Michigan University found that workers in animal-friendly offices often collaborate more and have more trust in their team members. Because of these many proven positive effects, almost half of all pet owners say that they would bring their pet into work if given the choice. That number is even higher, nearing 61%, for workers between 18-34 years old. This means that companies looking to attract young employees should listen up and be open to the idea of sharing their office space with those crawling on all fours.
And thankfully, it doesn’t necessarily take that much work to dog-ify an office space. The basics are fairly intuitive; owners should make sure to bring leashes for their pets, a water bowl, and treats. With that said, implementing certain protocol is often beneficial in making sure the office remains a comfortable setting for everyone. At the Humane Society of the United States, “dogs must be in good health, altered, up to date on shots and well-mannered.” The office has designated meeting rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms that are completely dog-free, and baby gates are required to keep animals behind each employee’s individual cubicle. They’ve also created a committee that oversees all in-office dog-related activity, which has the added benefit of not only ensuring that pet protocol is being followed but also helping coworkers further bond and learn to work together.
Many other companies take pleasure in pampering on their doggie companions. At Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, employee’s dogs are treated to dog-friendly water fountains and dog biscuits, and are welcome to run free at the many of the nearby parks. Proctor and Gamble has a Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen who serves as the VP of Canine Communications. While this may sound (and be) somewhat frivolous, the proven effects of bringing pets into work and creating a fun and less stressful workspace cannot be ignored! Even Ivy League colleges, like Columbia, are taking note and bringing in puppies for students to play with in the crunch of finals.
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