You probably knew about Bring Your Child to Work Day, but did you know there's also a day set aside each year for welcoming your fur babies into the office? Yup, every June features a Bring Your Dog to Work Day (this year it fell on Friday, June 23) when many employees "hire" their four-legged friends as happiness ambassadors for the day.
For some companies, every day is Bring Your Dog to Work Day! More and more organizations are embracing pet policies that allow dogs into the workplace, as being around dogs can help alleviate stress, promote physical activity, and foster connection. One such company is Tito's Vodka, where dogs share the work space with their humans every day, and where the company's enthusiasm for animals has led to an entire initiative called Tito's Vodka For Dog People. The program even has its own pet policy expert in Beth Bellanti, who has helped many companies make the transition into pet-friendly environments. In honor of this high holiday for pet-lovers, we asked Bellanti for her insights and advice on bringing pets into the workplace.
Dogs in the office bring calm and promote wellness.
Bellanti has observed firsthand the positive effects of having dogs in the office. For one thing, dogs require activity, which means that humans are forced to be active, too. Workers have to take breaks to walk the dogs, which is good for their physical health and gives the brain a bit of a breather as well. Dogs also have a calming effect on people; their natural playfulness and joy is contagious, and being around that kind of energy is a wonderful stress reliever.
Dogs foster happier relationships between humans, too.
According to Bellanti, "having a pet-friendly office has created a deeper sense of family here at Tito's. We're a pretty tight-knit team, but we've noticed deeper bonds forming between co-workers when pets are involved. For example, there are offers to pet-sit and requests to take co-workers' dogs on walks. To that point, pets are also a good icebreaker. When someone is walking their dog around or has a pup at their desk, other employees are more likely to talk to them. The pet provides a nice way to start a conversation between two folks whose work may not cross paths. This also opens the door to collaboration and creativity, which we love!"
It's easy to incorporate dogs into the workplace — here's how.
Whether just for one merry day in June or all year long, there are ways to bring beloved doggos into the workplace. If you can convince your company to take part in a Bring Your Dog to Work Day, these are Bellanti's top tips for creating a safe and successful day for dogs and humans alike. And who knows? Maybe it'll boost morale so immensely, the higher-ups will simply have to implement a dogs-welcome policy.
- Set Boundaries! Be sure to communicate the rules first and foremost so everyone can focus on celebrating dogs. A few rules that have worked for us include: maintaining dog-free zones, implementing a "no roaming" policy, and agreeing on behavior policies prior to the day.
- Respect nonanimal people. While many love animals, not everyone is a pet person, so just be sure that they are aware and comfortable with the established rules so they too can enjoy their work day. Communication is key!
- Pet-proof the office. Be sure to do a sweep of the office and remove anything that's not pet-friendly or pet-safe so that won't be in the way of a good time.
- Celebrate a bit. Whether it's hosting an "after-pawty" at a dog-friendly bar or restaurant, a pet costume contest, or a picnic lunch at a dog park, give everyone an excuse to take a break and enjoy man's best friend and each other. Don't forget to order a few treats for the pups!
- Give back. Pet Sitters International created "Bring Your Dog to Work Day" in 1999 to celebrate the great companions dogs make and also to promote their adoptions. What better way to do both than by giving back to your local pet nonprofit. Whether you do a raffle, host a minifundraiser, or simply share posts of pups looking for homes, you can find several different ways to give back on this day.