By Dr. Becker
For pet lovers, there’s virtually nothing more comforting than having your dog or cat by your side, and research shows interacting with pets can lower stress levels, boost morale, and more.
Now, more and more companies are catching on to the benefits of pet ownership and allowing employees to bring their furry family members with them to the office. According to one national survey, 17 percent of companies allow pets on the premises.1
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) found that when employees brought their dogs to work, their stress levels declined significantly.2 Stress is a leading cause of employee absenteeism, lost productivity, and burnout, so measures to reduce stress may improve company profits.
Employees who brought their dogs to work also reported higher levels of satisfaction with their jobs, and the researchers noted positive pet-related interactions between employees that may not have occurred otherwise.
They believed the interactions might further boost productivity and morale. Randolph T. Barker, PhD, professor of Management in the VCU School of Business, told the University:3
“Pet presence may serve as a low-cost, wellness intervention readily available to many organizations and may enhance organizational satisfaction and perceptions of support.”
If you’re wondering which companies support pets in the workplace, the nine that follow, as reported by Fortune, are the best of the best.4 Even if securing a job at one of these nine isn’t in your future, you can use them as an example to your own employer to encourage more pet-friendly policies.
Most companies that try it are pleasantly surprised by the results, although there are considerations that must be taken regarding allergies, proper pet etiquette, and so on.
9 Best Companies to Work for with Pets
Federal regulations prevent Genentech from allowing pets on premises at its San Francisco-based headquarters. However, the company offers significant pet perks, such as discounts to doggie daycares, reduced pet insurance rates, and a dog lovers club that organizes meet ups and doggie romps.
This hotel and restaurant group, based in San Francisco, has had a pet-friendly policy since 1981. Employees may bring their pets to work with them at the hotels and some of them have a resident dog (or “Director of Pet Relations”) to greet guests.
Pet perks include pet insurance, bereavement leave for a pet’s death, and on-site amenities such as water bowls, treats, beds, and toys.
3. Atlantic Health
This New Jersey-based hospital chain has a “Soothing Paws” pet therapy program for patients and employees. The therapy pets and their owners make daily rounds in the hospital for patients and “Ruff Day” visits for employees. The company has also sponsored two pet therapy conferences and has plans for a national pet therapy center.
At this California-based software company, dogs, family, and friends are allowed on campus. Each employee must sign an etiquette agreement for their dog and pets are equipped with a tag and bandana. Currently, 94 dogs are registered to visit VMware.
Salesforce is a San Francisco-based computing company that offers Puppyforce, a special room where six employees can reserve desks and bring their dogs to work.
The room is soundproofed and has water bowls, crates, dog beds, and cleaning wipes for accidents. The company also offers pet perks including discounts on pet insurance, vet house calls, pet supplies, and dog walking.
Candy and pet food maker Mars, based in Virginia, allows pets in its offices. Up to 50 dogs may be in the office on any given day. For Halloween, the company even offers costume contests for dogs and some offices offer pet feeding and boarding programs for traveling employees.
They’ll also cover the entry fee for employees interested in joining dog-friendly 5ks, and volunteering projects are often related to pet food donation drives and cleaning up dog parks.
Google calls itself a “dog company” and allows dogs to visit the offices a few times a week. The company also has a café inspired by Yoshka, Google’s “first dog,” which was owned by Urs Holzle, employee #8, as well as a group of “Dooglers,” which are dog-loving Googlers.
8. Build-a-Bear Workshop
This make-your-own teddy bear company, based in Missouri, also allows dogs at the office, provided employees sign a “Doggy On-Boarding” agreement. The company throws doggy birthday parties and keeps a stash of dog treats on hand. They also offer a “Bow Wow Bus” to pick up dogs and take them for grooming and day camp at a discounted price.
Autodesk, based in California, produces software design tools and has a policy allowing employees to bring dogs to work (with special provisions for those with allergies or who are uncomfortable around dogs). About 25 dogs frequent the office on any given day (along with an occasional cat, rabbit, or bird). Also offered is a pet insurance discount for dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, and more.