Thursday, August 18, 2011
Having pets in the workplace can give an office a more relaxed and friendlier atmosphere. According to the American Pet Products Association, approximately 17% of U.S. businesses allow employees to bring their pets, usually dogs, to work daily. CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company is one of them. At CANIDAE, dogs have been known to be among the “executives” sitting in on meetings. I spoke with CANIDAE employees Diane Matsuura, Sarah DeNunzio and Carl Boley, as well as Anne Prinns who operates a dairy equipment repair company called J & A Enterprises, to get their take on dogs in the workplace.
For many employees, having their dog with them at work helps them feel more relaxed, but depending on someone's workload and responsibilities, it can also create stress if there's not enough time to properly care for a dog while trying to make sure their work gets done. Sarah prefers to leave her dogs at home because “Having my dog here stresses me out! I constantly worry about them getting along with the other office dogs, and I don't have time to take them on potty-walks each hour.”
Working at a pet friendly company can give you more time with your four-legged friend, especially in multiple pet households. When I asked Diane what she liked about the pet-friendly policy at CANIDAE, she said “I spend so much time at work that I enjoy being able to bring one of my dogs with me. I can spend more one-on-one time with them which wouldn't happen at home.” Carl also likes bringing his dog to work because “My buddy gets to hang out with me. Most of the time it is relaxing and a great ground breaker when potential clients come by.”
For some dog lovers, a pet friendly workplace is a deciding factor in accepting a job with the company. Diane explained it perfectly. “One of my favorite things about working for CANIDAE is being able to bring my dog to work. I don't bring a dog every day, but I love having the option. Most of the dogs in the office look forward to coming to work and are friends as well. It's fun to watch them play and interact with each other. All of us at CANIDAE have dog beds under our desks. My work also involves outside events such as dog shows, and we are encouraged to take our dogs with us and participate in the event as time and work obligation allows. I feel extremely lucky to be able to get a paycheck for playing with my dogs and representing CANIDAE at the same time.”
I asked if having their dog with them at work helped reduce on the job stress. Sarah said, “They can be a huge distraction for daily tasks.” Diane answered, “I'm not sure if they help with stress, but it is really nice to have a dog sit under my desk and just be there for me.” Anne responded by saying, “I think it is nice to have him at work because it gets quiet in the office sometimes and I know he is there to take short breaks outside.”
One of the biggest challenges a pet friendly company faces is dealing with people who aren't dog lovers. Anne, Sarah, Diane and Carl all said they try to be respectful to visitors or clients who aren't as happy to be around dogs in the workplace. “We don't really have that problem at CANIDAE, but occasionally we have visitors who don't like dogs,” Diane said. “However, most people that visit us say they wish they could bring their dogs to work and they envy us.” Anne explained, “I will remove my dog and put him in the parts room while attending to a customer who is afraid of dogs.”
I asked if allowing dogs in the workplace made employees happier. Anne said “It does help both the employee and the company when the work environment is more relaxed.” Would she recommend dog friendly workplace? “Yes. I think it’s great, but there should be rules.” Diane agreed and said “Companies need to have a plan to deal with the various issues that come up when dogs are in the office. Employees have to remember that it is a work environment first and not their home.”
Working from home with my pets around me all day, I can understand the issues a dog friendly company faces by allowing employees to bring their dog to work. Nevertheless, pet friendly companies like CANIDAE and J & A Enterprises would be high on my list of places I would love to work for. Would you like to bring your pet to work?
Read more articles by Linda Cole