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Forget “Bring Your Child to Work Day.” At 9 Clouds, we’re all about bringing our pets to the office — and not just one day of the year, either.
I shouldn’t say “our,” because I regretfully do not have a pet of my own (despite my frequent pleas to my husband). Still, with the number of pets my coworkers own, I may as well have one myself.
Allow me to tell you why bringing pets to work is basically the best thing ever.
1. Pets at Work Are Fun
Pets make the world a better place. If you don’t believe me, take a gander at these “35 Dogs That Will Make Your Day Instantly Better.” (I assure you, they will.)
Our staff at 9 Clouds is well aware of the joy that pets bring. It’s why at least half of us own one. (Is it a coincidence that nearly all our pets are dogs, and the only cat among us is considered mildly evil by its owner? I think not.)
Meet the dogs of 9 Clouds: Huck, Q, Ava, Bean, and Elaine.
Studies show that pets are good for the mind, body, and soul. So why not pass those health benefits onto your coworkers as well? Share the love, people.
Every so often, someone at 9 Clouds will bring their pet to work, and we all rejoice. Some of us have even been known to make a calendar event in anticipation of a pet’s arrival.
Having an animal in the office is a fun experience for all involved — especially those of us who have to live vicariously through our pet-owning coworkers. Bringing pets to work allows us to relieve stress, bond with our team members, and kick back our feet a little on a casual Friday afternoon.
Plus, it’s a prime opportunity for funny Snapchat videos. And who doesn’t need more of those in their lives?
2. Pets at Work Are Practical
Pets are like tiny, furry children. They’re cute, and they shouldn’t be neglected.
On the occasion that an employee can’t make it home to let their pet out during lunch, having the freedom to bring them into the office can be a huge help. For companies that allow pets day in and day out, employees are able to work longer hours since they don’t have to jet home to care for their pet.
Out of curiosity, I looked up the benefits of having pets in the workplace. I was shocked not only by how beneficial it actually is, but also by how common it’s becoming.
According to a 2015 Society for Human Resource Management survey, 8% of companies allow employees to bring their pets at work. And 9% of companies like Google, Amazon, and Etsy even provide pet health insurance. Some of them offer free training, treats, play areas, and even pampering services for pets.
These pet-friendly companies tend to attract millennials, who value employers who invest into their personal lives as well as their professional lives. But they aren’t the only ones who benefit from having pets at work — companies do, too. As Bob Vetere, president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association, puts it:
Employers are starting to realize that having a millennial bring . . . a pet to work, you wind up getting a more focused employee, you get someone more comfortable at the office, and a person willing to work longer hours.
Pets at work can apparently lower your stress levels as well. A 2012 study by Virginia Commonwealth University found that stress level scores dropped 11% among employees who brought their pets to work, while they rose 70% for those who didn’t.
My team at 9 Clouds understands the calming spirit that pets bring to the office. It’s nice to have a pooch around to pet, play with, or just keep captive under your desk when you want to (a la Rachel in the photo above. That’s not even her dog, you guys).
As a company comprised mostly of millennials, we appreciate that we have the ability to bring our pets to work. We don’t do it too often, mind you — we’d never get anything done, considering how easily diverted some of us can be.
But I think that I can say on behalf of my entire team that bringing pets to work does increase our happiness at work. And that’s a pretty cool thing.
3. Pets at Work Bring People Together
Pets might be small, but they sure are powerful. They have the power to bring people together — through laughter or through tears.
Just a few weeks ago, one of our team members, Jenny, lost her beloved dog Bloo Radley. At only three years old, sweet Bloo passed away much too soon. But he’d been raised and cared for by Jenny and her husband as if he were their baby. They were deeply devoted pet parents.
As Jenny mourned, the rest of us at 9 Clouds mourned with her. We’d met Bloo several times, and we all loved his adorable, squishy self. (I’ve decided to forgive him for barking at me the first time we met. Hey, first impressions can be hard.)
It’s been awful to watch Jenny wade through such heartbreak. She’d poured so much of herself into that pup.
Yet somehow, I think the experience has allowed us all to grow a little closer together. We’ve been able to share our condolences and our memories, to open up some important conversations about life, love, and loss.
When we started bringing our pets into the office, we expected it to be fun. We never expected one of them to pass away — and we never expected how much it’d hurt, both for Jenny and for the rest of us. In that way, bringing pets to work has been a bonding experience for us all.
I’m not saying all companies need to adopt a pet-friendly policy. There are obviously allergies, space limits, and building restrictions to consider (not to mention the fact that pets are distracting, plain and simple).
But if you want to increase happiness at work, it’s something you might want to consider.
On behalf of Huck, Q, Ava, Bean, Elaine, and dear Bloo Radley, we hope you’ll hug your pet a little harder today — and, if possible, introduce them to your coworkers. You never know what friendships might form.
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We’re all about workplace happiness here at 9 Clouds. We think it’s important to give employees some freedom at work — both for their own sake and for the company’s.
If you’d like to learn more our work environment, read our Guide to Business Productivity. It’s full of tips and tricks for increasing job satisfaction and getting stuff done at work.