Category Archives: dog-friendly workplaces

Is a pets-at-work policy wellness’ new best friend?

The challenges for managers these days include ‘employee satisfaction’  ‘reduce stress’ ‘employee retention’ ‘increase productivity’ and ‘how can we get people to work longer hours?’

In this article by BenefitsPro (a resource for HR managers), you’ll discover the 2012 study which showed that employees whose dog accompanied them to work actually had lower stress at the end of the day compared to the start (the opposite was true for employees who were not accompanied by their pet).

Risdall Public Relations employee Len Mitsch takes advantage of the firm's pet-at-work policy with his dog, Rowdy. Photo courtesy of Risdall Public Relations

Risdall Public Relations employee Len Mitsch takes advantage of the firm’s pet-at-work policy with his dog, Rowdy. Photo courtesy of Risdall Public Relations

“Pet presence may serve as a low-cost, wellness intervention readily available to many organizations,” says Randolph Barker, professor of management in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business

For the full story, click the link below:

Is a pets-at-work policy wellness’ new best friend? | BenefitsPro.

Setting the standard for pet-friendly workplaces

Trupanion pet insurance, based in Seattle, has been pet-friendly since the very beginning – when it was just the Founder and his dog, Charlie. They are currently a company of more than 300 employees and 90 pets that recognizes the benefits every day of allowing pets in the workplace.

Better still, they are happy to share their knowledge for other workplaces that may want to go pet-friendly.  For example, they have a comprehensive page on Getting Started which covers:

  • Executive buy-in
  • Templates for developing a pet policy
  • A getting started checklist
  • and more

As another example, the company made a video about their experience in developing their fire evacuation policy – since there’s a lot of dogs (and a few cats) to evacuate along with their staff:

There’s also a page on Office Petiquette!

I think I’ll be monitoring the job vacancies on Trupanion’s website…this sounds like a great place to work!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

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.