Category Archives: dog-friendly workplaces

The Kaptin of Tips Hair

If you’re in Boston and need a hair cut, then the place to go is Tips Hair salon, located on Dartmouth Street in the South End.  There you will find Kaptin, an English Bulldog who is the salon’s mascot:

Photo copyright Tips Hair Boston

Photo copyright Tips Hair Boston

Kaptin is a girl and she spends her day sitting in the window watching all of the activity on Dartmouth Street!

K9 Flight School

Air Hollywood

Assistance dogs and small dogs that are allowed to fly in aircraft cabins are now supported with a training program specifically for them!

The training is provided by Air Hollywood, a studio where the television show Lost was filmed.  The K9 Flight School prepares people and pets to travel confidently by simulating a real aviation environment.  During the training, dogs are exposed to:

  • airport checkin
  • security screening
  • boarding
  • turbulence
  • landing
  • disembarking (no pun intended)

The one-day course costs $349.   Will your dog become a frequent flyer?

Good golly, Miss Molly

Andrew Neil, co-host of the BBC’s This Week, has started bringing his Golden Retriever, Miss Molly, to the set.  She’s sat on the sofa next to guests on the late-night political commentary programme.  She even had a snooze in the lap of guest David Starkey.

Miss Molly naps in David Starkey's lap (photo courtesy of the BBC)

Miss Molly naps in David Starkey’s lap (photo courtesy of the BBC)

Taking Miss Molly to the set opens up a whole new category of dog-friendly workplaces and it’s great to see the dog welcomed onto a televised show.  In my opinion, it helps to create awareness of dog-friendly workplaces.

Photo courtesy of the BBC

Photo courtesy of the BBC

Neil has suggested that Miss Molly might become a bit of a fixture on the show, although not a permanent one. “We probably broke every health and safety rule in the book but she is very well-behaved.”

Miss Molly roams around the set as guests are interviewed (photo courtesy of the BBC)

Miss Molly roams around the set as guests are interviewed (photo courtesy of the BBC)

Source:  The Independent

Pets welcome in many workplaces

I tip my hat to the Indianapolis Star for its recent excellent coverage of pet-friendly workplaces in Indiana.

Take Inverse-Square, where Bob Baird takes his German Shepherd to work with him in a demanding job where he leads a team of systems integration specialists.  His online profile on the company’s website clearly lists him as a ‘dog enthuasiast.’ Company employee Anne Marie DeLa Rosa reports that ‘When I’m stressed, I usually call Zoe (a chocolate Labrador retriever) over and rub her ear. That’s my therapy.’

DeLa Rosa also reports that because Zoe is in the office, she’ll take a proper lunch break which includes a short walk.

Inverse-Square is located in The Stutz office park where commercial developer Turner Woodard made it possible for employers to have pet-friendly office policies.  The newspaper reports that 25 percent of the tenants take advantage of the perk.  Two other properties developed by Woodard — the Canterbury Hotel and Wasatch Lake — are also pet-friendly.

Other Indiana companies that are pet-friendly include:

Jacobs Law office: Sam Jacobs allows his office manager Karie Jacobs, 28, to bring her Cockapoo to the office.  Sam has declared that ‘Larry is a wonderful diversion…I can talk to him and he doesn’t talk back.’

Gradison Design Build:   This company includes two Great Danes, one Labrador retriever and a Yorkshire terrier.

Pack leader David Gradison, 75, says ‘They are like family and we’re a family environment.’

Indiana Lighting:   Bella Mia, a Peekapoo, comes to work in Tracy Leeper King’s handbag. ‘She comes to work because she brings joy, positive energy and gives the employees a break from their desks.’

Rusted Moon Outfitters: The company spokeperson is an English Setter named Rosemary.  On the company’s website they  happily announce ‘We’re ready to answer your questions and help you find the gear you need. Visit us in Broad Ripple, just off the Monon Trail. Oh yeah, bring your dog too.’  A photo of Rosemary declares ‘Rosemary says Dogs Welcome’  Yes – this store is also a dog-friendly shopping destination.

Petplan USA

I wish I could work at Petplan USA, the pet insurance company based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Why?  They’re pet-friendly!  That’s 24/7 pet-friendly not once-a-year-we-allow-pets-to-come-to-work-friendly.

This progressive workplace allows pet parents to bring their animals to work, creating an environment that is productive and happy.  A clear majority of workers surveyed by American Pet Products Manufacturers Association felt that having pets in the workplace leads to a more creative environment, lessened absenteeism and improved the relationship between managers and employees.

Workers who are allowed to bring their pets to work are more likely to work longer hours because they aren’t worried about getting home to their animals.  (And let’s face it – America has a culture of working some really long hours – many New Zealand employers are heading in this direction).

Why go pet-friendly?  ‘Encouraging our employees to bring their pets to work helps to foster a uniquely creative work environment,’ says Natasha Ashton, Co-Founder of Petplan. ‘Happy employees are productive employees and this ‘perk’ certainly has given us a distinct advantage in attracting new talent.  So many prospective employees place a real premium on being able to bring their pets to work as it provides more quality time with their beloved companions and reduces care costs such as dog walkers or pet sitters. Most importantly though, we have found that sharing our office with our pets serves to reaffirm our strong commitment to the good health of pets – both our own and our policyholders’ pets.’

Solid policy is needed if a workplace is deciding to go pet-friendly.  Petplan’s Pets at Work pledge includes the following points:

Healthy Paws. All pets must be current on their vaccinations and receive monthly flea and tick treatment.

Manners Please. Pets must be socialized and well-behaved. Aggressive behavior towards people or other pets will not be tolerated and any pet exhibiting such behavior will be asked to leave.

Port a Potty. Dogs must be housebroken and cats should use the litter tray in the mail room. In the event of an accident any damage is the responsibility of the pet parent. If a permanent stain results then said pet parent will be responsible for the cost of hiring professional cleaners to remove the stain. Three accidents and you’re out.

Off Limits. Other people’s food, the front conference room and any communal building areas outside of the Petplan offices are off limits to all four legged workers. If you need to walk your dog please always make sure that they are leashed and that you use the back door to the building and clean up any mess.

Going Solo. Pets are to be supervised at all times. If you know that you are going to be absent from the office for a period longer than 30 minutes then do not bring your pet in on that day.

Chow Hounds. Pets are not to be fed in the offices (that includes pet food and pet treats as well as human food). A water bowl is always readily available in the kitchen.

Puppy Love. Because not all pets get along with each other, as a consideration to fellow team members please send an email out to Internal Workforce the day before bringing your pet(s) into the office, if your pet(s)are selective in who they consider their friend(s).

In the Doghouse. Destructive behavior will not be tolerated. If a pet willfully causes any damage to property within Petplan then they will be asked to leave the office and their owner will be liable for any costs associated with repairs.

Following the above rules will ensure that coming into Petplan every day really is a dog’s life, whether you are a dog, a cat, or even a human.

Benefits of taking Fido to work may not be far ‘fetched’

The  benefits of dogs in the workplace are the subject of new research published in the March issue of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University  found that the presence of dogs in the workplace may buffer the impact of stress during the work day in both their owners and the people that they come into contact with.

In this YouTube video, principal investigator Dr Randolph T Barker (no pun intended) talks about the costs of stress to employers through lost work time and the benefits of increased productivity.

The researchers conducted their study at Replacements Ltd, the pet-friendly workplace that I featured here in March 2011.

Although Dr Barker is a Professor of Management, he collaborated with specialists in psychiatry and biostatistics for this study.  The researchers emphasise that their results are preliminary and that the next step is to expand the study to a larger sample size in an organisational setting.

I wonder which firm will put their hand up for that study?

Pet insurance support for employees

The Kimpton Hotel chain based in the United States regularly makes it onto the list of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list.

Why?

Well one reason that distinguishes this employer apart from others is that they offer a benefit programme that includes pet insurance at reduced rates.  The hotel chain has chosen Pet Assure as its insurance provider.

“At Kimpton, we respect and care for all canine companions,” said Steve Pinetti, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.   “We want to make sure every member of the Kimpton family is well taken care of, and that includes making sure our pets are safe and happy.”

copyright Kimpton Hotels

The Kimpton chain offers pet packages at each of its locations; these pet packages include gourmet dog treats, dog walking and dog massage services.

Printing for Less – a dog friendly workplace

PrintingforLess.com (PFL) is a Montana-based printing business that is also a dog-friendly.  Their press release for this year’s Take Your Dog to Work Day proudly stated:

Here at PrintingForLess.com, we get to bring our dogs to work on a daily basis. We’ve found having office dogs helps with staff morale, builds camaraderie among employees, stimulates creativity and decreases employee absenteeism.

I’m a huge supporter of the pet-friendly workplace for all of the reasons stated above.  I recently heard a Chief Executive say that he uses statistics on frequency of employee sick leave as a measure of whether the employees are engaged with the business or not.   Many businesses with pet-friendly workplaces, like PFL, report that employee absenteeism decreases after the pet-friendly workplace is instituted.  That’s good news for employees, employers, customers, and the dogs!

Here’s a video (courtesy of YouTube) of Bodie performing tricks in the offices at PFL:

When you take a look at the PFL website, you can see that the company has a pretty special culture, and the dog-friendly workplace policy is only one part of that.   Watch the PFL culture video on their website.

Well done PrintingforLess.com!

Take your dog to work day 2011

Take Your Dog to Work Day is Friday, 24th June this year.

This day is used to help raise funds for animal care organisations around the world  as employers sponsor special events for employees and their dogs.  It has also become an opportunity to introduce employers to the benefits of a dog-friendly workplace.

The folks at Pet Sitters International started this event back in 1999 and their website gives you lots of useful information about how to get your employer on board, tips for success, and event ideas.

Their tips for Dog Day Success include:

  • designating some areas as off-limits to cater to employees who do not want to participate
  • having regular breaks for dog walks, possibly offering the services of a dog walker
  • ensuring all dogs are kept on leash
  • making sure employees have alternative arrangements if their dogs get sick or are unhappy in the office

There’s still time to organise your own Take Your Dog to Work Day for this year!

 

Pet-friendly workplaces – Replacements Ltd

I’ve written for some time now about hotels that offer pet-friendly accommodation for dog owners.  I am now extending my research into firms that have pet-friendly workplaces.

First up:  Replacements Ltd. This firm was founded in 1981 and is the classic case of a person who turned their hobby into a business (no need to guess why that appeals to me).    During the 1970s, founder Bob Page spent his weekends collecting china and crystal.  Friends would ask him to keep an eye out for certain patterns (as replacements for pieces they had  lost or broken.  He began buying more and more pieces, storing them where he could in his house.

By 1981, he had left his job as an auditor to found Replacements, Ltd.  The company’s facilities now are the size of seven football fields, housing 13.8 million pieces.  Some of these pieces are more than 100 years old.

Bob also brings his two dachshunds to work with him and, out of his love for his dogs, he encouraged his staff to bring their dogs to work as well.  The company now promotes the pets of its staff through its  newsletter in a column on Featured Pet (and Pet Owner!).  The company even encourages customers to visit them with their well-behaved pet.  Partially in recognition of the take your dog to work policy, the company was awarded the 2009 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award by the American Psychological Association.

Replacements, Ltd – I salute you!

Golden retriever Dios comes to work with Brad Newton, who works in the online marketing team

Judy Sizemore delivers mail with her dog Alex

Senior dog Darby has worked at Replacements for 8 years with owners Jenn Barton (continuous improvement analyst) and John Harris (internet services supervisor)