More than 17 years ago, Nestlé Purina started encouraging its associates to bring their pets to work, and the program has provided many benefits for employees and their pets through the years. This year, the company celebrated national Take Your Dog to Work Day by encouraging other companies to join them in this movement and start their own pets-at-work policies.
“At Purina, we believe that pets and people are better together – whether at home or at work,” said Dr. Kurt Venator, a Purina veterinarian. “As pet lovers and owners, we are passionate about the Pets at Work movement and encourage our associates to bring their pets to work every day so they can experience the benefits, including exercise from a dog walk during lunch break or having a calming companion nearby during stressful times. This is why we see hundreds of pets at our St. Louis campus every week.”
Studies show that employees who bring pets to work have fewer signs of stress. To get a better understanding of how people felt about pets in the workplace, Purina partnered with the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine to conduct a U.S. survey in June 2015 and found among 750 respondents:
- Almost two out of three employees agree pets should be allowed in the workplace if there is a general consensus among employees
- 85% of employees of companies with pets in the office say that pets-at-work policies are beneficial
- 72% of employees said their jobs do not allow pets in the workplace
- More than half of those who want pets allowed in the office are willing to spearhead efforts to make their workplaces pet friendly
The 750 respondents include pet owners and non-pet owners, as well as people who can take their pets to work and those who cannot.
“The relationship humans and animals share is dynamic and, over the years, it has been shown that the bond can be beneficial to the well-being of both,” said Dr. Sharon Fooshee Grace, clinical professor at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. “Through this survey, we now have a real opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the human-animal bond and how to maximize the potential of the special relationships shared between people and pets.”
Purina is calling for other employers to join the Pets at Work movement by asking companies to pledge their intent to implement their own pets at work program. The company has developed resources to help other companies become more pet friendly, including an Employer Toolkit with tips and documents to help employers implement a pets at work program. The toolkit includes an etiquette guide, office checklist and an authorization and release form, among other helpful resources.
Purina has also provided pet lovers with their own Employee Toolkit to help encourage facility managers and employers to embrace pets in the workplace and recognize the positive impacts it can have on employees and the overall business. Employees can get access to tips, articles, printable guidelines and a petition to help make their workplace pet friendly.
“Having pets walking through our offices every day makes for a warmer, friendlier environment at Purina, and we believe it helps with our productivity,” Dr. Venator said. “We realize it won’t work for every company and every pet owner, but we encourage other companies to try it and see for themselves how bringing pets to work can be a real benefit – for pets and their owners.”