The idea of bringing your pup to work may sound like a hipster concept, but businesses across the country are proving that there are real advantages to having pooches in the workplace.
While Google, Etsy, and Amazon encourage their employees to bring their pets to work, it’s also become more popular among small businesses, too. In fact, a 2015 survey conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management found that around 8% of workplaces surveyed now allow employees to bring their dogs to work, representing a 3% increase in just two years.
Americans love dogs, as is evidenced by the 46.3 million U.S. families that own one. While dogs aren’t appropriate for every work environment — and not every dog is fit for such situations — studies have shown that those who bring their dogs to work experience lower stress levels. Conversely, those workers without pet companionship in the workplace tended to experience increased stress levels throughout the day.
A pet at work can also entice customers and make them feel at ease. Angela Peterson, owner and manager of a bicycle warehouse called Cyclextreme, notes that her dog Casper’s presence often breaks the ice with customers. Even though 36 million Americans over the age of seven rode a bicycle at least six times in 2015, Peterson says Casper allows her customers to be more engaged in the buying process.
“The customers that have initially come in and kept to themselves seem to open up a bit more [around Casper],” she said to the Columbia Daily Tribune. “He helps the conversation get started.”
Other times, a dog can simply be good for business. Whenever Nickie Davis brings her dog Whedon to work at her alternative street wear store, he’s a real hit. Many of her customers will come in just to see him. And while he has the habit of going into fitting rooms when customers are trying on clothes, no one seems to mind. Anything that brings people into the store is a plus for Davis.
Ultimately, having the option to bring their dogs to work is a huge benefit for both owners and consumers. It’s true that not everyone is thrilled to see a dog when they walk into a business, but by and large, it makes both working and shopping a lot more fun. Some owners say that it’s encouraged customers to bring in their own dogs, too.
Steve Stonecipher-Fisher, owner of a biking and running store called Tryathletics, states, “It’s just more fun. It gives us something else to talk about [with customers] other than the weather. We’ll talk about the dog.”
Since a pleasant experience is likely to translate into higher sales and improved company culture, business owners have an incentive to embrace the dogs in the workplace trend. And that means dog-loving workers everywhere have reason to hope this phenomenon will soon come to a cubicle near them.