Standard amenities at hip start-up companies -- like ping pong tables, free snacks and beer on tap -- all make for a fun work environment. But to really boost morale, according to a new survey, companies should invest in some fuzzier pick-me-ups.
Findings from a Banfield Pet Hospital survey reveal that workplace dogs are a key to a happy office.
While the survey may not be as scientifically rigorous as humanly possible, it included some 200 human resources professionals and 1,000 employees from a variety of company sizes and industries who were screened and were polled about their views on pet-friendly workplaces.
In total, 70 percent of survey respondents -- including those whose companies do not allow pets -- agreed that pets in the office improved working conditions.
"Overwhelmingly, responses indicate that pet-friendly workplaces are viewed as highly positive, boosting morale, contributing to talent retention and providing employers with a competitive edge in the recruitment process," reads the Banfield Pet Hospital report. "Survey respondents even report that they believe more people would adopt pets if their companies offered pet-friendly office policies."
Pet-friendly workplace policies don't just benefit the employees, but can do wonders for the company at large. Fifty-three percent of employees who worked at offices without pet permission said they'd be more likely to stay at their current company if employees were allowed to bring their pets to work.
Even more, 65 percent of HR decision makers reported that potential candidates often inquire about the workplace pet policy during the interview process. Both of these findings suggest companies could better retain current employees and attract new ones by letting pets accompany their owners.
In-office pets could also encourage employees who normally chain themselves to their desks to get up and recharge. Research shows that taking breaks during the day actually makes employees more productive. With a pet comes mandatory outdoor walking breaks as well as voluntary yet hard-to-resist belly rubs, meaning that even the most dedicated workaholic would be more prone to look away from the computer screen every once in a while.
Of course, there's a case to be made against having pooches at work: Some dogs don't behave properly for the corporate environment, and some employees may be allergic to or simply dislike four-legged creatures. If a company does allow dogs, it's important to instill policies to keep them in check for everyone's safety.
Still, there's even more evidence that pups could put a skip in employees' steps. A 2012 study from Virginia Commonwealth University found that employees reported feeling less stressed when around dogs in the office. Dogs have some pretty serious medicinal powers, including the ability to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and feelings of loneliness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It seems like the verdict's in: Dogs rule.