How To Bring Your Pet To Work
You'll be more calm and better able to carry on. A new study from Virginia Commonwealth University looked at employees of a North Carolina company that has allowed dogs at the office for more than 15 years. Employees were divided into three groups: people who brought their dogs to work, dog owners who were asked to leave the pooches home for a week, and people with no pets. The results? Workers who'd brought their dogs to work had the lowest levels of stress, while those who'd had to leave their four-legged pals at home had the highest.
You'll get some productivity-boosting exercise. Not only can dogs reduce stress levels, says lead study author Randolph Barker, PhD, a professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, but they can also add some exercise to the day for everyone. He found that other employees go out of their way to find coworkers with dogs and ask to take them for walks.
Related: 16 Ways to Make Your Dog More Healthy
You'll take fewer sick days. "Companies that allow dogs report lower absenteeism and higher retention rates--I call it the 'furry handcuffs,' " says Jennifer Fearing, California state director for the Humane Society of the United States and coauthor of the book, Dogs at Work: A Practical Guide to Creating Dog-Friendly Workplaces.
You'll like your human coworkers more. Past studies have shown that dogs in the workplace can build trust among employees and also boost collaboration.
Ready to make Puddles your cubicle mate? You'll need a little more finesse than just asking HR to allow dogs, says Fearing. Here's how to go about it:
- Arm yourself with studies like this one. Show your employer the health and morale benefits of pets in the office (Fearing's book is filled with references). "Every CEO is interested in the bottom line," she says. "This study is one of several out there that shows bringing a dog to work is good for the employer, too."
Related: 7 More Benefits of Pets
- Form a committee. Once you get the go-ahead from management, find coworkers who love the idea of having dogs at work, those who don't really care, and a few who are completely opposed. All the differing perspectives will help you come up with a set of rules--like designating dog-free zones for people who are allergic--that take into account the interests and concerns of everyone, Fearing says.
- Offer a two-week trial run. Routine is very important for keeping dogs calm and quiet, says Fearing. Bringing a pet to work for just one day can get the whole experiment off to a bad start--one that bosses won't want to repeat--so go with a two-week test to give Floyd the Frise more time to settle in.
Related: What Your Dog's Breed Says About You