Tag Archives: dog-friendly workplaces

Take Your Dog to Work Day

Take Your Dog to Work Day is coming up on Friday.  I hope many of you are able to take your dog with you for the dayand maybe even convince your manager that a pet-friendly workplace has ongoing benefits.

Here’s my column on Office Dogs…profiling two Christchurch businesses that allow dogs to come to work!

September 2016-page-001

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Workplace fostering

Most rescue and adoption groups are familiar with fostering programs – these are programs when a dog is taken to a home on a temporary basis so it can learn to adapt to a domestic living situation.

Foster carers are very special people who bring animals into their homes knowing that they may have had a rough start in life; they expect some teething problems.  Adopters will often ask to look at dogs who have been fostered because these dogs have a ‘head start’ in terms of settling in and can be less challenging for the adoptive family.

The folks at PetRescue, which supports 800 independent rescue groups in Australia, have taken fostering to a whole new level by developing a Workplace Foster Care Programme.  The rationale for the programme relies on research evidence into the human-animal bond and the positive impacts that pets in the workplace can have on productivity.

Things like encouraging staff to interact with one another, stress relief with a dog who wants pats or walkkies, and breaking the ice when new staff are introduced, are all aspects of workplace life that benefit when there’s a dog around.

Workplace Foster Care Programmes also raise awareness, so staff, clients and the general public learn about the benefits of adoption.

workplace foster dog

Vinomofo, a wine retailer based in Melbourne, was an early addition to the Workplace Foster Care Programme (photo by StartUp Daily)

The Sydney Morning Herald has recently covered the story of one company with a greyhound as its workplace foster dog.  Click here to view.

If I was looking for employment, I’d definitely be attracted by companies with a foster dog included in the benefit package.  (Sign me up!)

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Pet-friendly companies

This post is inspired by my friend Rachel, who tells me that her husband, Nick, is trying persuade his company that they should become pet-friendly.  Or at least give it a try.

I support the concept of pet-friendly accommodation, workplaces, and shopping because I believe it supports good socialization in our dogs, offers stress relief for owners and workers, and supports good dog ownership because dogs are not left at home for long periods of time.

Autodesk dog at work

Photo by Autodesk

Earlier this year, Fortune magazine profiled the 12 best pet-friendly companies.  They are:

  • Genentech, a biotech company.  While it can’t allow pets in the office because of federal hygiene regulations, it makes up for it by providing its employees with discounts for doggy daycare, pet insurance and a company club for dog lovers called gDogs so they can share information.
  • Kimpton, a hotel chain with a long history of being pet-friendly. The company provides its employees with pet insurance, pet bereavement leave and supports them bringing their dogs to work with bowls, treats, and beds.  Some hotel locations also have a Director of Pet Relations which is usually a dog owned by one of the employees whose job it is to greet guests.
  • Atlantic Health, a hospital chain in New Jersey.  It trains its staff to become part of its Soothing Paws therapy program and even sponsors a pet therapy conference.
  • VMWare, a visualization software company with an open campus policy.  Staff who want to bring their dog to work sign an etiquette agreement and their dog is given a bandana.
  • Salesforce, a cloud-based software company in San Francisco.  It provides its employees with pet insurance discounts, dog walking services, and house calls from a vet.  The company’s pet policy called Puppyforce allows up to six employees to book a special room with water bowls, beds, sound-proofed walls, crates and cleaning materials.
  • Mars, the multi-national providing confectionery and pet food products. 80% of the company’s volunteer projects are about animals; traveling staff are supported with pet feeding and boarding programs, and the offices are pet-friendly.
  • Google, the search engine company.  Dog-friendly offices are combined with a dog-themed cafe and an in-house group of employees who are dog enthusiasts called the Dooglers.
  • Build-A-Bear Workshop, a soft toy retailer.  Once an employee signs a Doggy On-Boarding agreement containing basic rules, their dog can come to work.  Dog birthday parties, treats, and a spa and grooming service are offered.
  • Autodesk, providers of design software for architects.  Dog-friendly offices with rules to protect the human staff who have pet allergies, along with discounted pet insurance.
  • GoDaddy, a web hosting and domain name service.  On-site psychology services using assistance dogs.
  • Workday, makers of finance and human resources software. Dog-friendly offices, an annual Take Your Dog to Work party, and financial assistance to help employees with pet adoptions.
  • Activision Blizzard, a gaming company where approximately 395 dogs come to work every day.  During the annual “Pet Parents Day,” the company brings in pet insurance providers and local vets to provide free health screenings, insurance quotes, and treats for both pets and their humans.

Rachel:  Print out this post and have Nick bring it to work with him!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

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.

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?

With a few rules, dogs and offices can mix well

“No one at the Ohio chapter of The Nature Conservancy enjoys going to meetings more than Annie. Once, she was even disciplined for attending a meeting to which she was not invited.”

The San Jose Mercury News has picked up this story by Associated Press reporter Melissa Kossler Dutton about the value of having a pet-friendly workplace.  This article profiles companies such as The Nature Conservancy, Replacements (which I’ve previously covered) and Extrovertic.

A dog in the workplace can help to reduce stress and provide another way for staff to interact with one another.  And walking the dog at break time forces people to get out and get some fresh air and stretch their legs (all positives for health & safety programmes!)

Of course, there have to be rules – such as excluding the cafeteria from the pet-friendly policy, and having behavioural standards which dogs must adhere to…but the firms that have adopted dog-friendly workplace strategies are in no doubt that they are effective.

(Oh, how I wish I could say that I enjoy meetings (I don’t).  I’m sure if I could bring Daisy to meetings, I’d enjoy them a lot more!)

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!