Pets at work have pluses and minuses In this Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, photo, Kristine Florio works as her dog Gio sits in her lap at O'Connell & Goldberg Public Relations, in Hollywood, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Pets at work have pluses and minuses
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When a conference call turns tedious, Brent Robertson can still count on getting a smile from watching Gus roll around on the floor.
 
The golden retriever is a regular visitor to Fathom. That's Robertson's management consulting business in West Hartford, Connecticut.  So are Pookie and Ari, dogs owned by two of Robertson's co-workers.
 
Beyond the old tradition of a used bookstore or antique shop having a resident cat, some urban delicatessens and bodegas have cats to mitigate any rodent problems. And at some smaller professional businesses, it's becoming more acceptable for employees to bring in their pets. Robertson is among business owners who think having animals around boosts morale, improves the work atmosphere and raises productivity.
 
"Everyone seems to smile and immediately become a little bit happier," says Barbara Goldberg. She is the CEO of O'Connell & Goldberg. It's a public relations company based in Hollywood, Florida. Her bulldog, Rosie, is a frequent visitor.
 
A survey by the Society for Human Resources Management found that 7 percent of organizations allow pets in the workplace, though that may not reflect the practices of very small businesses that don't have HR officers.
 
At Badger Maps, owner Steve Benson's Pomeranian mix, Foxy, seems to know when employees of the San Francisco app developer need some comfort.
 
"They're very intuitive," Benson says of dogs. "They have the ability to recognize when someone's stressed out."
 
But not everyone, including employees, customers and visitors, thinks animals belong in an office or a store. Some people are allergic or afraid and might take their business elsewhere. So besides paying attention to permission from landlords and laws about having animals where food is being prepared, people need to consider how to accommodate uncomfortable staffers or clients.
 
Rodney Alvarez, a human resources executive at Celtra, a video advertising company, says legal issues to consider include making sure the company's insurance covers any incidents like biting, and keeping animals well-behaved so they won't frighten visitors. Some owners say when they interview job candidates, they let them know there are pets around.
 
Staffers at Celtra's San Francisco office asked to bring in their pooches. Managers decided that was OK at its four offices. But, Alvarez says, that is only if every staffer agreed. One Boston employee said no. So there are no dogs in that office.
 
One regular deliveryman to Fathom is petrified of dogs. Since Gus "is a full contact dog," Robertson says, "we collect the dogs and put them away in a room so (the deliveryman) can do his thing."
 
And at Sterling Communications, seven of the 20 staffers want to bring their dogs into the Los Gatos, California-based office. CEO Marianne O'Connor, who has a German shepherd named Kaya, worked out a schedule that allows two dogs each day. Upholstered furniture may be off limits.
 
"We push them off gently, and they learn, that's not for them," O'Connor says.
 
When visitors arrive, pups may be placed in a closed office with a water bowl and toy.
 
At Crescent City Books in New Orleans, the majority of customers are glad to see Isabel, a Maine coon mix cat, and some let her curl up on their laps as they sit reading.
 
"Most with any issues just keep their distance," manager Michael Zell says.
 
Most often, a business becomes pet-friendly when it's the owner who brings an animal in. Anne Buchanan adopted a dog about 12 years ago who turned out to be emotionally needy and much happier when Buchanan was around. So she began taking him to work at her eponymous PR firm in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
 
As her company grew, staffers asked if they could bring pets in, too. There are generally two dogs in the office. Sometimes, there's as many as four, including Buchanan's two rescues, Katie and Lacey.
 
Behavioral issues can crop up. But many owners said they can be dealt with. If Rosie the bulldog at O'Connell & Goldberg starts barking during a phone call, the office manager quickly lures her away from Goldberg's side. When Buchanan's dog and a staffer's couldn't get along, the boss paid for a trainer to work with both pups and their owners. Peace was restored.
 
Sterling staffer Rosie Brown recalls when Hazel, a co-worker's Swedish Vallhund, couldn't wait for her owner to get out of a meeting and left a present behind Brown's chair. The next day, Hazel's owner brought a cake for the office that said, "Sorry I pooped. Love, Hazel."
 
"We all laughed it off," Brown says.
 
Cats also sometimes make themselves at home in workplaces with dogs. When Brandon Scivolette, president of Elite Moving Labor, goes on vacation, his cat boards at the Tampa, Florida-based company, where there is often at least one dog about.
 
"A cat is a great thing for an office. It goes from office to office to hang out with people," Scivolette says.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
CTC: Why are employees more likely to bring dogs rather than cats?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (61)
  • mhailie-dav
    11/16/2016 - 10:04 a.m.

    In response to "Pets at work have pluses and minuses," I agree that we should have are pets at work. One reason I agree is that it says everyone is a bit happier. Another reason i agree is that dogs have the ability to know when were stressed. It says in the article "Robertson is among business owners who think having animals around boosts morale, improves the work atmosphere and raises productivity." It claims it improves the mood. A third reason is that it just is a good way to show the store or office is friendly. Even though i think dogs should be allowed in jobs some may think no because there allergic to them.

  • gmandy-dav
    11/16/2016 - 12:09 p.m.

    In response to "Pets at work have pluses and minuses," I agree that "But not everyone, including employees, customers and visitors, thinks animals belong in an office or a store." One reason I agree is that animals or pets could disrupt something important going on at work. Another reason is that
    they could make messes in the place you work. It says in the article Behavioral issues can crop up. Even though Pets can be adorable and sometimes wont do anything to mess anything up, I think they shouldn't be aloud at works.

  • vmargaret-dav
    11/16/2016 - 04:53 p.m.

    In response to "Pets at work have pluses and minuses," I disagree that dogs should be allowed in offices. One reason I disagree is that the dog could poop or pee in the building, and if they pee on carpet it will be hard to clean up. Another reason is that If the dog is vicious it could bite someone who is just trying to work. It says in the article that a dog in an office was so excited for the owner to get back that it pooped in the the office- "Sterling staffer Rosie Brown recalls when Hazel, a co-worker's Swedish Vallhund, couldn't wait for her owner to get out of a meeting and left a present behind Brown's chair. The next day, Hazel's owner brought a cake for the office that said, "Sorry I pooped. Love, Hazel." A third reason is that during calls the dog could start barking and interrupting important calls. Even though dogs can be a pleasure to have around, I think that they are just too much work to have at work.

  • eharlan-dav
    11/16/2016 - 07:23 p.m.

    In response to "Pets at work have pluses and minuses" I agree that pets would be good in offices. One reason I agree is it makes most workers more happy and productive. It says in the article that "Robertson is among business owners who think having animals around boosts morale, improves the work atmosphere and raises productivity". Another reason I agree is that some pets either act up home alone or get lonely when the owner is away. Even though some people don't like animals, you could always solve that problem by putting them in a vacant office with food and water.

  • hmadison-dav
    11/17/2016 - 05:23 p.m.

    In response to "Pets at work have pluses and minuses," I agree that people could bring their pets to work. One reason I agree is because having pets at work can make people feel more comfy and at home so they don't have to feel tired or bored at work all of the time. Another reason I agree is that it makes everyone feel better at work. According to the article some people think having animals around boosts morale, improves the work atmosphere and raises productivity. It also says"Everyone seems to smile and immediately become a little bit happier," A third reason is even the customers love the idea. In the article it says even the majority of the customers love the idea and always go up to the dogs and pet them . Even though the dogs could be distracting and they might use the bathroom in the building once or twice, I think having pets at work is a wonderful idea.

  • rlillian-dav
    11/17/2016 - 07:38 p.m.

    In response to, "Pets at work have pluses and minuses," I do think that pets should be allowed into offices and work places. I think that it is a good idea because some people feel better with animals around. In the text, it says, "Everyone seems to smile and immediately become a little bit happier," showing that it is a great idea to allow animals into an office because they lighten the mood. The animals also could be trained not to misbehave. In the article, it says, "Behavioral issues can crop up. But many owners said they can be dealt with." This shows that behavior would not be a problem. Even though some people may have problems, they could just avoid the animal altogether.

  • fpresley-dav
    11/17/2016 - 07:46 p.m.

    In response to "Pets at work have pluses and minuses," I agree that pets should be able to go to work with their owners. One reason I agree is that dog and cats like to be around their owners. A dog, or maybe a cat, would probably rather be at work with their owner than by themselves at home laying on the ground our in a crate. Another reason is that the owner can be stressed and a pet would help them not be as stressed. It says in the article "When a conference call turns tedious, Brent Robertson can still count on getting a smile from watching Gus roll around on the floor." A third reason is that if you have to go anywhere for a second you can just leave them in your office for a little bit. It says,"When visitors arrive, pups may be placed in a closed office with a water bowl and toy." Even though cats can cause some rodent problems and some people can be allergic to animals, I think pets can be a joy to have at work.

  • temmy-dav
    11/17/2016 - 08:17 p.m.

    In response to this article I agree that pets should be able to be taken to work. One reason I agree is that "having animals around boosts morale, improves the work atmosphere and raises productivity". Another reason is that cat can chase away unwanted rodents. A third reason is that animals improve peoples moods. Even though think this, I can see why people don't want animals in the office.

  • sayida-dav
    11/17/2016 - 08:46 p.m.

    In response to "Pets at work have pluses and minuses," I agree that pets can be allowed at work with some rules. One reason I agree is that sometimes you've had a bad day at work and need something to cheer you up. Another reason is that if you leave your dog at home alone, then they can get lonely and out of hand. Even though dogs can sometimes be noisy and mess up people's work space, I think they're still a pleasure to have.

  • bmaria-dav
    11/17/2016 - 09:03 p.m.

    In response to "Pets at work have pluses and minuses," I agree that pets should be allowed at work. One reason I agree is that pets will put the workers in a better mood, so they can treat costumers better. Another reason is that dogs can sense when people are stressed, so they can comfort anyone. To support my claim, it says in the article that "They're very intuitive," Benson says of dogs. "They have the ability to recognize when someone's stressed out." Even though you need a lot of insurance just incase a customer is allergic to dogs, I think
    every one needs a smile on their face when they are working. I found it funny that 20 staffers at a company called "Los Gatos", Gato is cat in Spanish, and they wanted to bring their dogs to work.

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