Spiffy up your pooch and make sure his computer skills are up to snuff. It's time for him to go to work.

This Friday, June 22, marks the 13 annual Take Your Dog To Work Day (TYDTWDay). The event was started in the US in 1999 by Pet Sitters International, the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters. It was created to celebrate the human-canine bond and spread the word about the positive impact that dogs and other companion animals can have on our lives. The event also raises awareness about the need for more adoptions from humane societies, shelters, and other animal rescue groups.
Not only are employers encouraged to open their organization to employees' four-legged friends on this one special day, but to consider making the workplace more pet-friendly going forward.

Reaping The Benefits of a Pet-Friendly Workplace

A recent study published in the March 2012 issue of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, found that permitting dogs in the workplace can reduce stress during the workday for their owners and others who come in contact with them. Stress is a major contributor to employee burnout and absenteeism, which can result in significant loss of productivity and resources.

More and more employers are recognizing the benefits that can come from offering some degree of pet-friendly environment. Recent surveys from Dogster.com and Simplyhired.com found that 70 percent of job seekers consider a dog-friendly job an important employee benefit, and nearly 50 percent would switch jobs to be able to take their dog to work.

The surveys also discovered that 66 percent of dog-owners would work longer hours if they didn't have to leave their animals at home, and 32 percent would take a pay cut if they could bring their pet to work. After all, they'll make a lot of that money back by not having to pay for doggie daycare.

Generally speaking, dogs in the office foster friendlier, more collaborative work environments, and make the job more satisfying for those they come in contact with. And your company's wellness program will benefit when employers opt to go outside for a brisk dog walk or game of Frisbee rather than a smoking break.

Promoting Pet Adoption

Aside from the enjoyment the dogs and employees will get from TYDTWDay and the support for more pet-friendly companies, the event also promotes pet adoptions. Representatives from local animal shelters can be brought in for presentations and pet "meet-and-greets." And non-pet owners in the office may find the animal interactions on this day so enjoyable they decide they would like to share their homes with a pet.

Pet-Friendly Requires Pet Polices

A successful pet-friendly workplace means a safe, healthy, and enjoyable experience for pets, their owners, and all staff they will come in contact with. To that end, it's important to have pet policies in place to ensure only healthy, friendly, and well-behaved pets are allowed in the workplace. Rules need to spell out the days or hours that pets are allowed; what areas they can occupy; food, water, and containment provisions; noise restrictions; and potty areas. And don't forget to consider the health of the dogs. Areas where dogs are allowed should be free from harmful plants and chewable items, and dogs need to be healthy and current on their vaccinations so that other animals are not exposed to disease.

Many pet-friendly businesses have a dog-free area for employees with allergies, dislike or are afraid of dogs, or who simply don't want the distraction. It's important to try to balance the needs of all concerned.
Even if dogs are allowed in your company only on TYDTWDay, it's important to make that experience a success for all. If you are planning a TYDTWDay at your office, you can download a kit from the official Take Your Dog To Work Day site.  The kit contains a sample "dogs at work" policy, tips for planning and  carrying out your event, and other resources to help make your TYDTWDay event a success.

What about you? Does your company have a pet-friendly policy? If so, has it proven to be a good thing or simply a distraction? Do you think dogs have a place in the workplace, or should they continue their unemployment at home?

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