Today is National Take Your Dog To Work Day, an annual event created by Pet Sitters International to promote pet adoption. Some tech companies have run with the idea–should you consider implementing a pet policy. After all, you, too, could be greeted by:
Consider letting the dogs in. These tech companies have – take a look at at some of the cutest pups in the digital economy.
Studies support canine companions
If you’re looking for some science to back up your pets at work policy, there’s plenty out there:
One study from Virginia Commonwealth University examined the effects of dogs over a week at one workplace in Greensboro, N.C., where there are usually between 20 and 30 dogs present. Workers whose pets were present had lower stress levels.
A survey in the U.K. of 1,000 dog and cat owners (equal opportunity, y’all) found that pet owners are more likely to work full-time, make an extra GBP3,000 a year, manage more people at work, and enjoy their jobs.
A Central Michigan University study reports that dogs at work engender a more productive and collaborative environment.
And there’s plenty of research that reveals the health benefits of pet ownership in general—less stress, heart disease, and isolation.
Some companies go so far as to offer perks for pets, not just employees.
Still the exception
Science may say yes, but most American businesses say no. According to a survey by the American Pet Products Association, only 17 percent of companies have a pets at work policy (although that 17 percent does include Tumblr, Etsy, and Google).
Google even includes dogs in the company Code of Conduct: “Dog Policy: Google’s affection for our canine friends is an integral facet of our corporate culture.”
Put some guidelines in place that delineate acceptable behavior, distractions, maintenance, and policies for incidents of aggression, and allow for employees who aren’t fans of dogs or are part of the 30 percent of Americans who suffer from dog and cat allergies. You’ll probably want to get some legal advice as well.
Not everyone’s a fan
Office pet policies might seem like an easy win if you’re a devoted pet parent, but there are plenty of others who take the opposing stance: No pets at work. Whether they’re allergy sufferers or just not fond of dogs, it’s not a good idea to assume that every employee is on board.
Cat videos for better health
On a related topic, if on-site pets are not an option at your office, you might consider compulsory daily cat video viewing times. Turns out that watching cat videos might be good for your mental well-being. An Indiana University Media School survey of 7,000 people reported that respondents felt more positive and energetic and less emotionally negative after watching cat videos online. The cuteness factor might have something to do with it – researchers at Hiroshima University report that viewing images that are considered kawaii – defined as “cute” in English – helps with focus and concentration.
Share the puppy love. Post a pic of your digital mascot below and tell us how your dog helps you at work.
To learn more ways to engage your employees, read How Empowering Employees Creates a More Engaged Workforce.