Pets at Work

Making belly rubs a part of break time is the newest way for any employer to boost morale and increase productivity on the job.

Photo by alkir/iStock

It’s the ultimate “Spot” bonus. And although only 8% of companies (including Amazon, Ticketmaster and Build-A-Bear Workshop) allow pets in the workplace, that number has doubled in just the past three years. Even if you don’t own a cat or dog, cuddling with one can still replace coffee breaks. Shelters across the country, such as Oregon’s Humane Society and Florida’s Humane Society of Broward County, offer Snuggle Deliveries of adoptable cats and dogs to local companies. That’s a nice little perk for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to work at Ben & Jerry’s Vermont offices, where a special set of employees—a dog pack named the K9 to 5ers—spend time with employees throughout the day. All the furry benefits—just your regular day’s work required.

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→ Talk to Your Colleagues: Be cognizant of your coworkers’ limitations and needs—from fear of animals to allergies—and come up with workarounds where possible.

→ Give Them Space: Set up a bed or crate to define a territory that your pet can feel comfortable in.

→ Don’t Let Them Roam Unleashed: Leash or enclose your furry friend whenever they’re not in your work space.

→ Keep Them Occupied: Bring toys and make sure animals get plenty of exercise, both before showing up and throughout the day.

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→ Puppy Parental Leave: Companies like BrewDog grant one week off for new furry additions.

→ Pet Insurance: 36% of U.S. employers (including Ikea) offer the benefit.

→ Personal Time Off: Pet sitting company Rover allows three paid days of pet bereavement leave.

Pet-ition Your Company: If you’d like to have your furry friend tag along, ask your employer about implementing a pet in the workplace policy. Find a toolkit with advice and tips at

First appeared in our November 2017 edition.