Do Dogs Belong in the Workplace?
Today is Take your Dog to Work Day. Founded in 1999, by Pet Sitters International, it was created to celebrate the great companions dogs make and to encourage their adoption from humane societies, animal shelters and breed rescue clubs. I can only guess how few companies were dog friendly every day in 1999, so this was probably a very novel concept. However, currently 17 percent of U.S. employers allow people to bring their pets to work daily, usually dogs, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association.
Many workers are so devoted to their pets that they’ll only consider taking jobs where they can bring them along. SimplyHired.com is a job searching site that lists job openings of companies that will also allow you to bring along Fido. A poll conducted by Dogster and Simply Hired found that 66 percent of the 150 dog owners surveyed would work longer hours if their dog was with them. And 30 percent would even take a 5 percent pay cut to bring along Fluffy.
While this may seem a little crazy to some, research has shown that there are many benefits for dog-friendly companies. As long as dogs are well-mannered, the work environment is friendlier and more productive. Google offices are known for their innovation and fun factor. So, it’s probably not so surprising that their offices are dog friendly. I spoke with a Google employee from the Mountain View, California office and asked why. Google works to enhance the quality of their work place. And if a dog is an important part of an employee’s life, then Google feels it helps keeps their employees happy. And when outsiders visit, they smile and are very entertained by the dogs. But, the dogs aren’t running around wild all day. They are happy lying by their companion’s side quietly. It’s also not unusual to find dogs lying patiently just outside the Google cafeteria. And it helps that there is a dog park a block away from the Google office building.
Two years ago on Take your Dog to Work Day, I was in Louisville, CO, at the offices of Sounds True – our wonderful publisher for Through a Dog’s Ear and a Care2 partner. While there, I interviewed owner and founder Tami Simon, who said, “having dogs in the workplace humanizes the people. They stop to pet the dogs, and pause for beauty. And there is a warmth that comes from having the dogs with us. We are coming together as a community to actualize our lives and have more fulfilling day to day lives. Dogs add to that quality. When people feel part of a community, they are much more likely to enjoy their work.” The Sounds True dogs are so famous that they even have their own webpage. At the top of the page, you’ll find a quote by Tami’s adorable Cocker Spaniel, Jasmine: “Spiritual awakening would be nice, but first I’d like to learn how to open the fridge.”
I work from home these days. But, when I owned my music school, Sanchez and later Gina accompanied me daily. Sanchez pretty much grew up there and loved his job of greeting students. To this day, I’m convinced that he inspired many students to keep playing music.
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