June 23rd is the 19th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day®. In 1999, Pet Sitters International created this day so non-pet owners could experience the special bond pets have with their owners and hopefully decide to adopt a pet of their own. Over the years, the event has grown exponentially, with businesses large and small allowing their employees to bring their—well-behaved—pooches to the office.
Pets as a perk
Some employers don’t limit pets at work to one day a year, however. According to research published in the report SHRM 2016 Employee Benefits, approximately seven percent of employers allow pets in the office. For many of these organizations—typically tech companies and startups—it’s just one of the many perks they use to attract top talent.
The scientific case for bringing dogs to work
Interestingly, there’s a growing body of research that shows workplaces with dogs are less stressful and more productive. A 2016 study proved that people who played with a dog had diminished stress levels—a finding that’s highly significant when you consider that stress-related illness is a major cause of missed workdays.
As neuroeconomics professor Paul Zak of the Claremont Graduate University in California pointed out, having dogs in the workplace is a highly effective way to increase employee productivity.
What to consider when establishing a dog-friendly workplace
If you’re interested in allowing your employees to bring their dogs to work, it’s crucial to prepare properly. Keep the following considerations in mind:
It will take some time and resources to establish a relaxed, dog-friendly work environment. However, when done well, your investment will pay off in terms of a less stressed and more productive workplace that not only yields higher profits, but also has the potential to attract and retain more top talent.
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