Yes, today we honor our furry, feathered, or scaly animal companions in all their wonderful forms. But while we think of pets as features of our homes, they are increasingly present in the workplace. As a tighter labor market makes competition fierce for good employees, businesses are considering unique ways to attract and retain quality workers. Allowing employees to bring a pet into the office can be the difference maker for individuals looking at two potential employers.
When we called in to the offices of our Lands' End Business outfitting partner, Force 5 in South Bend, Indiana, we were warmly greeted by one of the brand marketing firm’s three office dogs: Brady, a fluffy Bichon; Sophie, a docile West Highland terrier, and diminutive Pixie, a Bichon/Shih Tzu mix. “Clients love them,” said Vice President David Morgan, adding that at least one of the adorable pets attends every meeting. Force 5 President Deb DeFreeuw told us the three pooches help relieve stress and are "a great way to connect when we have clients come in.”
A recent article in Scientific American outlined the increasing popularity of LinkedIn results for “dog friendly” jobs, as companies like Google, Mashable, and Amazon have pet-friendly policies, while smaller companies are following suit, either allowing employees to bring in their own pets or featuring designated office pets. While the benefits are many—improved morale, reduced stress, increased communication and camaraderie—there are potential pitfalls to consider.
Obviously, not everyone may like pets, or more specifically, your pet. A cat person might not be as charmed by your friendly Rover as you are. A dog person may be allergic to your cat. Will your pooch play well with your coworker’s kitty? Will your pup start yipping during an important conference call? Will the visiting client be turned off by the cat hair on the chairs? All the possible drawbacks need to be carefully considered before a pet policy is instituted.
If you happen to have a pet-friendly policy at your workplace, check out some Lands’ End items to make your animal companions look sharp and feel comfy. Not to mention plenty of jackets and fleece for you to wear when taking your pets out for a walk.