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Is Your Company Pet Friendly?

National study shows that pets provide more benefits than management classes

pet friendly officeEvery time I get ready to leave my home, two sets of big, brown eyes plead to go with me. Unfortunately, my girls, Kaila and Holly, often have to be left at home. If you have four-legged kids of your own you know what I’m talking about.

Happily, I recently discovered that every year there is a Take Your Dog to Work Day. Sponsored by Pet Sitters International, Take Your Dog to Work Day was started over a decade ago in 1999. Who knew?

Prompted to do a little more research, I learned that increasing numbers of pets are joining their parents at the office. According to a 2006 survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association* (APPMA) nearly one in five US companies allowed pets to accompany their owners to the office. And when that happens, it’s not just the owners and animal companions that benefit.

When pets accompany their owners to the office the companies reap numerous benefits as well according to another survey by the APPMA** pets provided more benefits to companies than management classes. Not only were employees more relaxed at work, they were more productive too. Having pets in the office created a more productive work environment among 73 percent of the participating companies. A significant number, 27 percent, saw a decreased absenteeism rate.

These are just a few of the findings that were uncovered when APPMA surveyed companies nationwide that allow pets including dogs, cats, fish, small animals, reptiles and birds in the workplace. The survey showed that many of the health-enhancing benefits of pet ownership – including reduced blood pressure, lower stress levels, and improved overall emotional and physical health – translated to the workplace when pets were present.

Once pets were introduced to the office environment, employee stress levels dropped. This led to happier, healthier employees who were more creative, motivated and productive, according to the APPMA.

Which is probably why 100% of the survey participants who said they allowed pets in the office planned to continue the practice. Results from the APPMA survey say:

  • Brainstorming increased, 73 percent of companies indicated that pets in the office led to a more creative office environment
  • Employees were out less often, 27 percent found that employees had lower absenteeism rates
  • Interpersonal skills improved 73 percent when pets accompanied their owners to the office.
  • Stress was down, 100 percent of responders indicated that employees were more relaxed.
  • Overtime was easier, 58 percent of employees stayed later when their pets were with them.
  • People were just happier, 96 percent said animal companions created positive work relations

Many years ago I worked in a building where one company allowed their employees to bring their four-legged companions to work. Every day I wished I worked there. Just riding up on the elevator with the golden retriever who “worked” for that firm started my day off on the right foot.

What do you think? Do you think having well-behaved dogs and cats in the office would be beneficial? If so, talk to your HR department. Be sure to have several rules and regulations in mind, for example an allergy-free zone and mandatory clean up after your pup rule.

This year’s Take Your Dog to Work Day might be a good place to start. If HR says it’s OK I’m sure your pets would love it.

*Founded in 1958, APPMA is the nation’s leading not-for-profit trade organization serving the interests of pet product manufacturers and educating the public on the many joys and health benefits associated with pet ownership. APPMA’s membership consists of more than 600 companies which include both small businesses as well as the nation’s leading pet product companies. For more information visit www.appma.org/

** APPMA survey reported on www.PetPublishing.com, Cats and Kittens Magazine

About Annette Richmond, MA

Annette Richmond, MA, CARW, CCELW, is a Certified Resume Writer, Certified LinkedIn Profile Writer, and former recruiter. Her career advice has been featured by Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Business Insider, Monster, Vault, and WSJ. She helps motivated, senior level professionals tell their unique career story. She also serves as executive editor of career-intelligence.com.


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