Although I personally think this is a great idea, since I love dogs, I can see how take your dog to work day might raise some office controversy for the canine-aversive. As someone with a serious cat allergy, if there was such thing as annual Take Your Cat to Work Day, I would call in sick on that day every year. Yet despite any potential employee opposition, an increasing number of companies are making it policy to allow animals in the workplace — and not just once-a-year.
According to a 2008 survey by The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 17 percent of businesses in the United States allow pets in the workplace. Indeed, large companies like Google, The Jim Henson Company, Dell, Clif Bar, Athleta Clothing, Smith & Hawken, DraftFCB and Amazon.com are all dog-friendly.
TheWorkBuzz wanted to see what employees thought about pets in the workplace, so we talked to a bunch of workers at companies with animal friendly policies — whether those policies exist just for today, or all year round. Here’s what they had to say:
“We got a puppy in December and bring him to work every day. It’s really improved morale and socialization in our office. The dog reminds us to have fun and take a break to play ball or give a treat. One of my staffers told me that he’s one of her favorite things about the office. We call him our chief puppy officer!” — Michelle Madhok, CEO, SheFinds.com
“Allowing employees to bring their dogs to work is great for morale, retention, and is a reminder of our start-up roots.” — Collin Bass, public relations associate, UShip
“We welcome dogs and cats and, although we have had our share of chewed computer speaker wires and unplanned carpet cleanings, it is very positive for the employees who bring in their pets and those who are interacting with our pets. We employ 20 disabled adults through a local non-profit group who work at our facility packaging healthy dog treats. The office dogs give our diverse workforce unconditional love and delight them with their tricks and shameless begging.” –Rebecca Rose, CEO, InClover Pet Supplements
“For my company, every day is Take Your Dog to Work Day. It just wouldn’t be the same without Sandy, my golden retriever, at my feet. Sandy is so well-behaved that I’m not concerned about doing conference calls with her here–she seems to consider it rude to bark indoors. For me, Take Your Dog to Work Day is a good idea every day.” — Mellanie True Hills, CEO, StopAFib.org
“We work really hard during the week and each Friday many of our producers, developers and other staff members bring their dogs to work. Allowing dogs in the office one day a week has been a great program for the company – and it’s a nice to have some furry friends around our very busy, hard working, deadline driven environment once a week!” — Carrie Peters, Smashing Ideas Digital Media
“I love the concept of taking your dog to work and know it is fraught with challenges. I once worked for a PR firm with offices in Emeryville, California (near Berkeley) that had a dog-friendly office. It was a great idea, and having dogs in the office did a lot for creating a family and friendly atmosphere. The real challenge is that you have to interview the dogs who come to work as well as their masters. The concept of bringing your dog to work is great, assuming the dog is well behaved and the master is willing to take responsibility.” –Tom Woolfe, Woolfe Media
“OtterBox is participating in take your dog to work day with “Otter Barks” day! We are celebrating with our furry friends while giving back to a great local organization, the Animal House Dog Shelter in Fort Collins, Colo. Each person bringing a dog will make a $10 donation and all proceeds will be given to the Animal House Dog Shelter.” — Kristin Golliher, public relations manager, OtterBox
“We’re a graphic design firm and [our office dog] is a full member of our company. Every member of our staff loves her. She’s even listed on our ‘Meet Our Staff’ page.” — Brian Law, president, Prime Design Solutions
Based on the responses we received, it seems like the overall reaction to animals at work is positive, but what do you think? Let us know in the comments section.