This office is going to the dogs

Working from home today I caught the watchful eye of my supervisor, the dog, I was reminded of a piece I wrote on dogs on the office. 

Work harder or walk me,
suggests my supervisor dog.
Some Australian offices are going to the dogs to keep their workers happy and pet-friendly workplaces are becoming common. My current employers aren't onboard but some of the world’s largest are; including Apple, Amazon and Google. Over 20% of work places in America are dog friendly, but the world leader is Taiwan where over half of all work places welcome man’s best friend with open arms. 

While there’s no doubt many dog-owners will see advantages to taking Rover to work, what’s in it for the business? Employee satisfaction and an edge in recruiting staff, according to a survey carried out by Dogster.com and Simply Hired, who found two-thirds of dog owners would work longer hours and a third would take a pay cut if they could bring their dog to the office. A study by Central Michigan University found that working teams who had a dog with them had ranked higher on qualities of trust, team cohesion, and intimacy than dog-less teams. 

And it’s not just dogs; New York’s Algonquin Hotel most famous employee was a ragdoll cat named Matilda III, who appeared on CBS in her capacity as “Directfurr of Guest Relations”, with her staff Alice de Almeida, who described herself as executive assistant, ghostwriter and “opposable thumb”.  

Why should your business allow pets at work? David Lawrence, Managing Director of The Web Showroom and owner of office dog Bronte, suggests ways to appeal to your boss from a business perspective.
  • It gets people interested - from contractors blogging to ice-breaking conversations with new clients, an office dog always gets people talking.
  • A recruiting edge - potential staff almost all say they’d love to work for a company with an office dog when they see them at the interview.
  • Dog owners are happier at work and spend less time worrying about what is going on at home, particularly if they need to work late.
  • Forget smoke breaks - having an office dog allows people to take mini breaks to pat the dog, and most people get a feeling of wellbeing out of interacting with the dog. And the dog loves it too!

Would you like to take your dog to work? Would your workplace ever allow it? Let me know in the comments.

My piece, Who’s letting the dogs in, was published by Executive PA Australia in their July 2012 issue (this magazine is now called Chief of Staff). You can view the full article here.

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