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Productive Paws: Pets in the WorkPlace

By: Alex Lieber

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If you want your employees to stay late and work like dogs (without the usual growling) the best way is to let the dogs in – literally. Letting pets into the workplace is proving to be a tonic for low morale and poor productivity.

More than 73 percent of companies surveyed noted that productivity rose when animals were permitted in the office. In addition, fewer people called in sick, communication between workers improved and brainstorming sessions were more effective.

In other words, all the things that management classes try to improve were greatly helped by the presence of pets. When asked which was more effective, management classes were rated a distant second.

That comes to no surprise to Hillary Bressler, owner of .Com Marketing, an interactive advertising agency located in Orlando, Fla. Dakota, her miniature poodle, helps keep he staff of 10 people on an even keel. "Last week, one of my employees was having a bad day," Bressler said. "Dakota sensed this and jumped on her lap. Everyone laughed ... it was a funny moment."

The American Pet Products Manufacturing Association conducted the study nationwide to determine the effect pets had on offices that permitted them. Study after study has demonstrated conclusively that pets help lower blood pressure, boost self-esteem and generally improve health. The APPMA wanted to determine the effect of pets in high-stress situations.

No matter what pet type, animals in the office are overwhelmingly positive, the report noted. "Since offices have such high activity and stress levels, it presents the ideal environment to study the health benefits of pets," explained Funda Alp, spokesperson for APPMA. "Once pets were introduced into these work environments, stress levels dropped, leading to happier, healthier employees, with more motivation, creativity and productivity ... all the essentials to success."

Dogs are popular in the office, but fish have been found to relax people as well. Cats are also welcome additions to the staff. Sometimes several types of pets coexist in the workplace at the same time.

Here are a few highlights from the survey:

  • All the companies polled noted that they would continue to allow pets in the workplace.
  • More than 73 percent indicated that having pets leads to a more productive, creative environment.
  • Fewer sick days were used by 23 percent of the respondents, and none had an increase when pets were in the office.
  • All respondents agree that pets make for a more relaxing workplace, and nearly 58 percent of employees said pets made them more willing to work late.

    The 3-year-old poodle was promoted several times for her excellent work – she holds the august title of vice president in charge of sleep research, food management and safety. (She even has her own business cards – which the staff gives to solicitors.)

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