HR Strange But True!
July 10, 2008

Every dog has its day, but should there be a continuous canine presence everyday in your workplace? Are pet-friendly companies really best in show when it comes to recruitment and retention?

Yes, says Rhonda Abrams, author of What Business Should I Start? and Six-Week Start-Up, writing of her dog-driven success for an article in The Hartford Business Journal.

Cosmo, a terrier, spends 5 days a week lying under Abrams's desk at her pet-friendly office, a situation negotiated with the landlord. Cosmo's co-canine, Coca the Chihuahua , works hard supervising the other humans.

So what's the advantage of having a dog-friendly office? From her personal experience, Abrams gives these examples:

  • Helps in recruiting employees. Abrams says she lists "dog-friendly office" in every employment advertisement, which, she says, has enabled her to attract "some astonishing people who are delighted to be able to either bring their own dog to the office or just to work in a friendly atmosphere where dogs are allowed."
  • Helps in retaining employees. "Bringing a dog to work is viewed as an incredible perk," Abrams maintains. "Once someone can bring their canine companion on the job, it takes a long time before they'll give that up."
  • Makes it easier to stay late. Employees don't have to worry about rushing home to walk or feed their pets.
  • Makes everyone happier . Instead of taking caffeine-laden coffee breaks, employees take dog breaks to play with the pets or take that necessary walk around the block.
  • Have traits employees can emulate. Onsite dogs lead by example and have a lot of traits that humans can internalize in order to be successful in their careers and maintain a harmonious workplace, says Abrams, including loyalty ("dogs virtually invented this"), patience, acceptance, perseverance, gratitude, confidentiality, and compassion. "Humans put a lot of emphasis on superficial things -- how someone looks or the clothes they wear," says Abrams. "Dogs look for what's inside."

Yes, we are all aware of allergies, leases, and potential trip-and-fall lawsuits (or worse) that often make it impractical--or dangerous--for pets to go to work. Sure, you can have a pet-friendly workplace if you telecommute. However, for some workers, the perfect job offers colleagues with four legs.

Source: Hartford Business Journal

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