Today is the one day out of the year that many offices across the country have unarguably gone to the dogs. As you suspect, it’s Take Your Dog to Work Day.
For some companies, Amazon, Google, and Procter & Gamble, to name three of the larger ones, every day is a dog day. Others, not yet ready for that much togetherness, today serves as sort of a test of what is becoming a slow, if steadily growing trend toward tolerance of furry friends in the workplace.
There’s a practical side to allowing dogs, as many companies, particularly in the high-tech world. have found. A survey conducted for Wellness Natural Pet Food found that a large majority of 18-34 year-olds want to bring their pets to work, at least occasionally. That happens to be the demographic sweet spot for tech giants and startups. The latter, especially, see allowing pets as a recruiting plus when talking to candidates with dogs.
“For us, having dogs in the office is out of necessity,” says Bob Baird, founder and president of Inverse-Square, a software development company. Recognizing that some individuals might be turned off by having to share office space with dogs and cats, Baird nonetheless says having them around is “indicative of our culture. We love having them around because this is home away from home. We work long hours, and it’s nice to have them with us.”
P&G sees other advantages to permitting dogs at work (not, though in all parts of the operation; safety considerations restrict where they are allowed). “It’s a definite stress-reliever,” says Julie Franklin, P&G communications specialist. “It makes our employees healthier and calmer, which means they’re much more productive.”
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Bring Your Dog to Work Day got started 16 years ago by Pet Sitters International. Then, about 300 companies participated. Now, thousands do. No records are kept, but judging from the publicity and the tweets and posts about the event, it clearly has legs. Just this year the mayor of toney Boca Raton, Florida, officially proclaimed today Take Your Dog to Work Day.
The Wellness survey found about 12 percent of workers can bring their dogs to work regularly; four times that percentage want to. They may get the chance in the future, as more and more businesses discover it’s good business to allow them, if not for their workers just now, then for their customers.
Restaurants are adding pet-friendly patios, while dog parks and beaches have sprouted across the U.S. Traveling with Fido has become easier, with many hotels not only allowing pets, but making special efforts to reach out to owners. The Motel 6 chain has a special arrangement with the American Kennel Club to offer discounts to dog owners. La Quinta prominently declares its pet-friendly policy. Even in Sin City, hotels from Caesar’s Palace to Mandalay Bay are opening their doors to guests with dogs.