HR Strange But True!
October 13, 2011

Pet-friendly companies find collaboration among multispecies co-workers increases productivity and reduces absenteeism, according to an article on

A survey from the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, says only 17 percent of U.S. employers currently allow animals in the workplace, but lists Google, Zynga, and among them.

The article reports that some animal-friendly policies start by accident, as with Once All Now, in Troy, Ohio. The practice started when owner Leib Lurie’s dog, Ivy, kept showing up at the office from the owner’s home, so the owner just decided to allow pets in his workplace. Now the company not only allows dogs, but fish, birds, and other “caged animals.” Lurie reports a 2 percent turnover rate he attributes to office pets.

And 10 dogs wander through TRX’s San Francisco office because a dog was the founder Randy Hetricks’ first “employee,” keeping him company as he started the business. Hetrick says “having dogs wander around makes people happy.”

But some companies specifically include the policies as part of their company culture. G5 CEO Dan Hobin said he adopted the policy “a culture that promotes freedom for the employees and helps them thrive. If that involves bringing your dog to work, bring your dog to work." Hobin says he feels that dogs in the office foster friendlier, more collaborative work environments.

Many pet-friendly work environments develop as a part of the company’s larger mission or company culture. After working in uptight corporate climates, Nancy Squires, founder of The Squires Group, wanted a “distinctly homey” atmosphere in her company, which included bringing her two greyhounds to work. And Squires believes that allowing dogs eases stress and tension among her workers, allowing them “to relax and reprioritize.”

However, all say that it’s important to have a written pet policy that stresses owner responsibility and defines when, what is expected, and what happens if expectations are not met.


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