Imagine a stress filled workday. The phone is ringing, email is piling up, a co-worker is talking loudly and the deadlines are getting closer by the second. Now imagine instead of eating the brownie someone brought to work you just reach down and pet a soft fuzzy head. Sound too good to be true? Some companies not only tolerate pets in the office but encourage employees to bring them. Studies on pet friendly environments show pets at work do more for employees than providing free doggie day care. It reduces stress, promotes healthy behaviors, and encourages co-worker communication. Now, some companies are changing their policies to allow pets at work. (And no, you’re not dreaming.)
Purina pet food has a pet friendly office. The company has been ranked as a number one workplace in St. Louis for the past two years. It’s not a coincidence that they also encourage employees to bring their pets to work. Purina’s website states, “many of us are so attached to our pets that we bring them to work every day. Not only do our pets get more time to socialize and play, but we find that it boosts our work environment as well.” They have an entire web page dedicated to their pets at work practice. The webpage lists the benefits for pets and employees as well as tips for encouraging other companies to follow suit.
Employee benefits per Purina’s website:
- More inspiration and relaxation
- Improved job satisfaction
- More co-worker interaction
- Healthy break time
- Healthy work-life balance
- Lowered stress
Most major pet food and supply companies have office pets roaming the cubicles. Companies like Kong, Purina, and Greenies all allow pets at work. Similarly, companies outside of the pet supply world also have pet policies. Google is one of the technology companies with a pet friendly environment. They allow dogs but not cats, stating, “Google’s affection for our canine friends is an integral facet of our corporate culture. We like cats, but we’re a dog company, so as a general rule we feel cats visiting our offices would be fairly stressed out.”
It’s hard to argue against a system that boosts employee health and happiness. Employers looking for ways to increase employee job satisfaction can choose from providing brownies and pizza that contribute to weight gain and health issues, or fifteen minute activity breaks where employees can move around and take their dog for a walk.
Most company pet policies are respectful of other employees. Guidelines involve dogs on leashes when they are not at their owner’s desk. They are not allowed in restrooms or kitchens. Additionally, employees are encouraged to have open communication regarding allergic reactions to the pets that are brought into the office. Pet owners can have the best of both worlds with these new policies, less doggie guilt and less stress at work.