During the summer months especially, many employers plan events and switch up work schedules to give their team members a break to enjoy some fun in the sun. Extra days off, summer hours and company picnics are just a few of the ways employers create an enjoyable environment for their employees. One of the latest benefits to come to the corporate world is incorporating a dog-friendly atmosphere. Keeping these five tips in mind when bringing your furry friend to work can help ensure a fun and safe time for all.
5 Tips for Bringing Your Pet to Work this Summer
(Family Features) During the summer months, many employers plan events and switch up work schedules to give their team members a break to enjoy some fun in the sun. Extra days off, summer hours and company picnics are just a few of the ways employers create an enjoyable environment for their employees.
In a competitive talent market, employers are typically looking for new ways to provide the latest and greatest in employee benefits, eager to be the best place to work. One of the latest benefits to come to the corporate world is incorporating a dog-friendly atmosphere. In fact, a survey from Mars Petcare found that 87 percent of employers in the United States believe that being dog-friendly helps them retain and attract more talent.
“Having pets in the workplace can boost morale, increase physical activity and even improve productivity,” said Cheryl DeSantis, vice president of people and organization at Mars Petcare. “Our survey findings also discovered that nearly half of pet parents are concerned their pets are lonely while they are at work, and nearly 40 percent worry their dogs need to be walked and are either hungry or thirsty while they’re home alone. Bringing their pets to work with them can drastically eliminate these concerns.”
Keeping these five tips in mind when bringing your furry friend to work can help ensure a fun and safe time for all:
To learn more about how to safely bring your pup to work this summer, visit BetterCitiesForPets.com, where you can download the Pets Work at Work toolkit and find more information on the survey results.
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To the delight of animal lovers everywhere, awareness of the physical, mental and emotional toll taken by stress is leading progressive employers to create take-your-pet-to-work programs.
(BPT) - If you’ve ever felt tense, anxious or simply unable to relax while performing your job, you’re far from alone.
A recent survey by the American Institute of Stress found 80 percent of U.S. workers across industries have felt stress in the workplace; nearly half say they could use help dealing with it and 42 percent said their co-workers could use some relief.
To the delight of animal lovers everywhere, awareness of the physical, mental and emotional toll taken by stress is leading progressive employers to create take-your-pet-to-work programs. For example, for the past 20 years Purina has encouraged its associates to bring their pets to work, and in a typical week hundreds of dogs and cats enjoy spending time with their owners at the pet food maker’s St. Louis campus.
"Pets bring a wealth of benefits — both physical and emotional — to pet owners and their families, so it's no surprise those same benefits also apply to the workplace and employees," notes Dr. Kurt Venator, Purina's chief veterinary officer. "Whether a pet helps provide a calming sense during a challenging situation or encourages employees to take a walk during their lunch break, here at Purina we experience the benefits of pets at work every day, and want others to as well."
As more and more companies adopt a pets-at-work policy, consider these facts based on a recent Purina report about the many advantages of such programs:
* They can benefit health: Pet-employee interaction has been shown to reduce the employees' blood pressure and cholesterol levels in addition to alleviating anxiety.
* They can improve employee retention: Sixty-three percent of employees in pet-friendly workplaces say they’re very satisfied with their work environments — nearly twice as many as those in other workplaces. In fact, respondents rank the option of bringing pets at work as the second most-valuable employee perk — more valuable than free coffee and parking. Overall, three in five survey participants wish their workplace would institute a pet-friendly policy.
* They can alleviate loneliness: Eight in 10 employees who can bring pets to work say that activity makes them feel more happy, relaxed and sociable. That's partly because talking about pets can be an ice breaker, making it easier for people to approach co-workers and get to know them better.
* They can promote physical activity: Many employees spend breaks and lunchtime playing with their pets or taking them for walks, boosting their own aerobic activity at the same time.
* They can increase pets’ happiness: Rather than staying home waiting for their owners to arrive, pets get to socialize with new people, play with other pets and enjoy more activity. Nearly nine of 10 people in the survey agree that bringing their pets to work strengthens owner-pet bonding.
In light of the proven benefits, Purina encourages other employers to consider allowing pets in the workplace. A toolkit with tips and information is provided at Purina.com.
“Our goal with our report is to continue to raise awareness of the benefits of taking pets to work and to arm employees and employers with insights that can help facilitate pet-friendly environments within their companies,” notes Dr. Venator.
(BPT) - It’s fair to call Charger a bull in a china shop. Well, at least a pit bull. The charming nine-year-old has a full-time job in the marketing department at dinnerware giant Replacements, Ltd.
“Charger’s been coming to Replacements since I rescued him from the side of a road as a puppy, so he’s really grown up here,” says Kevin Boyd. “Coming to work is great for Charger because he’s able to engage with people and other dogs so it’s really helped him become more sociable; he has so many friends who give him treats or want to take him for walks. Having him here helps me relax because I know he’s not home alone and really creates special moments in the day, like having him sit in my lap while I’m working.”
Charger is among dozens of pets you’ll find at Replacements. A walk through the warehouse and you’ll see dogs riding on carts pushed by their owners or perhaps encounter a cat or two. An opossum riding high on the shoulder of her human friend even graced the company's retail store with a visit.
Replacements implemented its pet-friendly policy more than 20 years ago, after Founder and CEO Bob Page received a dog for his birthday and couldn't bear to leave him home alone. Fast-forward two decades, and national and international media have repeatedly recognized Replacements as one of the top pet-friendly businesses in the country. The company invites all employees and customers to bring their pets to work or shop; in fact, Replacements’ front doors read, "All Well-Behaved Pets Welcome."
Gaining scientific support
Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University spent a week at Replacements, focusing specifically on the impact of dogs in the workplace. The VCU team monitored stress levels among three test groups: those who brought their dogs to work every day, dog owners who left their pets at home, and those who do not own any pets.
"We were surprised to find that stress actually decreased throughout the day among those who brought their dogs to work, while stress levels significantly increased for those who left their dogs at home," says principal researcher Dr. Randy Barker. "About half of those who bring their dogs to work said their productivity increased with their dog present. Some employees even commented that the presence of pets increases cooperation and builds relationships among coworkers.”
Barker also notes employees overall had higher job satisfaction than industry norms. He believes establishing pet-friendly policies could be a great benefit that doesn't hamper a company's bottom line. "I think leadership in many organizations may be hesitant to allow animals in the workplace, but our study indicates pet presence may serve as a low-cost wellness intervention that may enhance organizational satisfaction and perceptions of support."
Getting started as a pet-friendly workplace
Replacements hears from large and small companies across the country wanting to start similar practices and policies. Their best advice? Start small.
“Consider having a pilot day to gauge how a pet presence works for your organization,” says Public Relations Manager Lisa Conklin. "You might try allowing pets for a half day or a Friday to determine the best fit for your employees and your business. Being pet-friendly is truly a huge part of our corporate culture — so many of our employees tell us it’s one of the best benefits the company offers."
Replacements' formal pet policy requires all animals must be current on vaccinations, polite to people and other pets, and stay on a leash near their owners unless contained in an office or cubicle space. Owners are also required to clean up after any accidents.
Conklin adds pet owners must be sensitive to the fact some people have allergies or may be fearful of animals. Likewise, other employees aren't allowed to aggravate or intimidate pets. "We've seen many instances where employees actually got to know each other better through their pets. Seriously, it's hard not to smile when you're greeted by a wagging tail and friendly face!"
When the common cold hits, sharing is not caring
(BPT) - Being considerate of others when you’re sick is one of the first steps to good sick etiquette.
For example, you may think you’re going to score points for showing up at work despite feeling under the weather. However, if you were to run this by an etiquette expert like Diane Gottsman, she would probably tell you the reverse is true.
“A recent survey found that half of Americans feel anxious about getting sick when others cough around them,” Gottsman says. “So when you cough, your co-workers are likely going to be thinking of themselves and may not sympathize with you.”
That’s why Gottsman says the best thing you can do is steer clear of the office. If working remotely isn’t an option, it is best to take a sick day.
“When you’re sick, it’s so important to take precautions to keep your germs from infecting others, which should always include staying home from work or other activities until symptoms have subsided,” says Gottsman. “I understand that sometimes life seems too busy to get sick or a workplace may not offer enough paid time off. So staying home and putting work on the back burner until you’re well is not an option for everyone. Still, productivity will decline when you are sick and you may prolong your illness by overexerting yourself."
With that, Gottsman says the name of the game is keeping those germs to yourself. Don’t be afraid to be demonstrative about that so you send a clear signal that you care and you don’t want to infect anyone — it will put your friends and colleagues at ease. Here are Gottsman’s sick etiquette tips:
Telecommute: If it is physically possible for you to complete a day’s work at home, that is probably the second most ideal solution to taking a sick day. If that’s not a typical arrangement at your place of employment, though, frame it as being beneficial to your boss and your fellow employees. For example: “I understand we have this important deadline coming up, which is why I would prefer not to spread this bug to others. What if I worked on the project from my home office today instead of coming in? If you sent me the call-in information, I could still join the conference call later. Of course, if you need anything at all, I’m just a phone call or email away.”
Touch no one: If a friend moves in for a hug or a handshake, kindly warn them that you are recovering from a cold and would prefer to “play it safe” before extending your hand or leaning in for a hug.
Keep a sickness arsenal: Keep your desk well stocked to help you treat your symptoms and keep common areas germ-free. For your kit, consider items like tissues, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer, as well as relief for sick symptoms, like pain relievers and a cough syrup like Robitussin.
Avoid shared surfaces: Cold viruses can survive several hours on surfaces, transferring easily to your colleagues. Germs can be hard to contain and avoid, but you can do your part by wiping down shared areas like a table or chair with a disinfecting wipe when you are finished using them.
Cover your mouth wisely: Coughs and sneezes give germs and viruses a nice little vehicle to get around and infect others nearby. When you must cough or sneeze, use a tissue or cough into your arm or elbow — never your hand, because the hands help spread the germs around. When using a tissue, promptly dispose of it and sanitize your hands.
Minimize coughing: When people hear someone cough in a crowded space, 26 percent feel annoyed, and 46 percent feel anxious about getting sick themselves, according to a recent online survey conducted by the Harris Poll. Keeping the medicine cabinet stocked with a powerful cough reliever is one effective way to suppress your cough. One product Gottsman recommends is Robitussin 12 Hour Cough Relief, because the long-lasting formula gets you through the whole work day by providing soothing relief from the hacking coughing. (You'll also be much quieter, which is a bonus.)
It’s not always possible or practical to stay home for several days when you come down with a cold, but practicing good sick etiquette can help keep viruses from spreading to those around you.
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