Dogs in the workplace

Forward-thinking global companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s, Purina and Huffington Post, are renowned for their employee friendly policies and allowing dogs into the workplace is also part of their work culture. According to reports,  Taiwan appears to be ahead of the rest of the world, with half of all work places welcoming dogs. And it is time for Australia to follow. The RSPCA estimates more than 60 per cent of Australian households own a pet but less than 25 per cent of employers allow pets into the workplace.

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Studies have long shown that allowing dogs in the workplace can reduce work-related stress, improve morale and creativity and increase job satisfaction. Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University found that employees who left their pets at home experienced much higher stress than those who brought their pets along to the workplace. Fifty-three percent of employees said they’d be more likely to stay at their current company if pets were allowed in their workeplaces. 65 percent of HR decision makers reported that candidates often inquire about the workplace pet policy during the interview process. Furthermore, A Central Michigan University study also found having a dog in the room can even make human colleagues more cooperative and encourage teamwork.

In Australia, it is a rare find for companies to allow this policy. But there’s a few lead by example. Surry Hills real estate agency, Gunning Commercial is one of them having up to three dogs in the office at times and Malcolm Gunning, the principal says to ABC in an article, “I think what it does, it creates a very balanced environment. Real estate sales, particularly, is stressful. You’re dealing with large assets. But the dogs are the calming effect. They’re the balance.” he said.

Queensland-based pet supplies company VetShopAustralia also believes that having multiple dogs around their office helps de-stress the work environment and creates an “all-around a happier workplace”. The apparel company, Cotton On, is dog-friendly in its head office in Geelong, Victoria even with their own hashtag on Instagram called #dogsofcottonon that tracks the canines who comes into the office. Senior communications manager Greer McCracken says to Herald Sun that “animals are a great social catalyst in encouraging collaboration, mitigating stress, creating a strong sense of community and increasing job satisfaction,” she says.

Located in Rhodes in Sydney, Nestlé Purina PetCare has around four or five pets in their ground floor office. Lal Meyer, the country business manager of Purina Petcare Australia said to Sydney Morning Herald bringing pets to work is part of the company DNA and business model. Pets have their own designated entrance, so people with pet allergies who work in the rest of the building can safely enter the building. HR Manager Carol Dietrich tells Workplace OHS that it all comes down to responsible pet ownership and Purina hasn’t had to tell anyone to stop bringing their pet to work because everyone has a clear idea of what is expected of them and their pet.

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