· 1 min read · Features

Dogs

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If a dog is man’s best friend, why not let them scamper around the office? It’s not actually as crazy as it sounds.

A recent study by Virginia Commonwealth University found that pets in the workplace reduced stress levels in staff, even in those without pets.

At Mars Petcare, HR has been instrumental in “bringing the company’s passion for pets to life,” says HR manager Andrea Hardman. “We’re a pet-care business, and we believe that the more people that are connected with what we do, the more they will deliver.” In other words, employees can bring their dogs into work.

In practice, this means providing facilities like dog bowls, a dog ‘playground’ and making sure any pet owners are mindful of those who might have allergies or are tentative around animals. With a large field near the office, having dogs at work has encouraged people to be more active in breaks, whether they own pets or not, says Hardman.

“Having pets around promotes an atmosphere that is open and involving,” she continues. “It’s a great icebreaker around the company. Even senior leaders bring their dogs in.”

Other companies with dog-friendly policies include Nestlé’s pet-care arm Purina and Google, whose code of conduct even says: “Google’s affection for our canine friends is an integral facet of our corporate culture. We like cats, but we’re a dog company.”