They are the ultimate employees. Eager to please, they play well with others, respond to the slightest of praise, learn quickly, follow a routine, and have a keen sense of character. Okay so maybe they aren’t the typical employee but dogs can certainly be an employer’s best friend when it comes to promoting a happier work environment. According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study, employees who bring their dogs to work produced lower levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol. Stress is a major contributor to employee absenteeism, morale and burnout and results in significant loss of productivity and resources. A preliminary study, published in the March 2012 issue of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, found that dogs in the workplace may buffer the impact of stress during the workday for their owners and make the job more satisfying for those with whom they come into contact. It seems 17 percent of companies agree that dogs in the workplace can improve employee morale and reduce stress. Google, Amazon.com, Zynga, Healthwise, Truepanion, INK, inc., Purina and our own North Carolinian based Replacements Ltd are among the growing list of canine-friendly workplaces. Simply put…Dogs at work are cool.
Many workplaces that allow dogs are small businesses and typically in a creative line of work like advertising, design, and technology. But other groups are joining the pack. The Washington Post wrote about the ‘Who’s who of Canines in Capitol Hill. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) rescued Julep, a Labrador mix from the side of Interstate 64 in West Virginia. She became a permanent office companion. Others include Rep. Ken Calvert (R) who owned a Dachshund named Cali, for California, and Rep. Jerry Lewis’s (R-Calif.) Bichon mix named Bruin, after the UCLA mascot.
Dogs are even a part of the hiring process. Some companies use their dogs in the interview process to introduce applicants to the corporate climate. One company spokesperson stated, “I’ve never met a dog-friendly person who wasn’t customer-friendly.” Maybe this isn’t the most scientific way to hire customer friendly employees but to me it actually makes sense. Yes, I’m a dog lover and therefore biased. If my dog doesn’t like someone then I ask myself why?
Dogs in the workplace can be a recruiting tool. A pet- friendly organization can appear more attractive to a dog lover. It worked for me. My support for this movement started years ago when I interviewed for a software sales job. Like most eager candidates I went to the interview armed with the company profile and a freshly printed resume. The receptionist was anything but typical. Yes….friendly and furry, I was greeted by beautiful Border Collie, Mack who actually sat through the entire interview process. He approved and I approved. I got the job.
So, if your company doesn’t have a dog-in-the-workplace policy—organize a “Take your dog to work Day” and test out this growing trend. Helpful tips can be found here to help set up a successful dog-policy.
Obviously there a few kinks to work when through working with Mans Best Friend. It may take longer for your mailman and other delivery folks to warm up but it’s worth it. Just ask Ed Whitfield. In 2002, his dog Bosley escaped from the office building and took off down Independence Avenue. Members of Whitfield’s staff and a policeman chased him all the way to the Capitol. So much for just another day at the office.
Let me know your thoughts or stories on Dogs in the workplace. Cat lovers need not reply.
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Tricia Lucas has over 25 years of demonstrated success in recruiting, marketing communications, and social media and helps technology companies recruit more efficiently by focusing on Recruiting Efficiencies, Employer Branding, and Social Media.
At Lucas Select, based in Raleigh, NC, we are passionate about technology startups and about sales and marketing as professions and have built extensive national networks of top-performing executives and managers. Unlike typical staffing agencies and headhunters, our recruiting services ensure that your company maintains a sustained growth model that is supported by strong sales management, talent recruitment at scale balanced by on-going people development while aligning with your Company’s core values.