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
Lexile

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)
  • edrew-dav
    11/20/2016 - 01:21 p.m.

    In response to "Pets at work have pluses and minuses." I agree that pets are good to have at work. One reason I agree that its a good idea because some people feel that it boosts morale, improves the work atmosphere and raises productivity. Another reason is that animals can tell when your stressed out and can make you happier. It says in the article Anne Buchanan adopted a dog about 12 years ago who turned out to be emotionally needy and much happier when Buchanan was around. A third reason is people enjoy it more when dogs and cats are around because of how friendly they can be.Even though animals can distract people from work, I think having animals in a office is a great idea.

  • hannahm-lam
    11/23/2016 - 08:49 a.m.

    I believe that if you work in an office or a small building it is a great idea to bring your dog. They make you happy, they give you a reason to take a small break as well. However I think if you work somewhere that has a lot of people coming in and out. For example a school, daycare, or restaurants would not be for the dog could possibly get in the way. Also if you are on the phone a lot and your dog likes to bark or your dog is not too fond of strangers then it might not be the best idea to bring your dog to work.

  • blakem-lam
    11/23/2016 - 02:15 p.m.

    I think that having pets be able to go to work with you is a great idea. This allows some joy in peoples day and you can also take a break once in a while. If you don't have anyone to work with, then your pet can keep you company.

  • jacobb3-lam
    11/23/2016 - 02:15 p.m.

    I approve of small business's allowing pets in the workplace, they're playful, cute/cuddly, and cheer you up. I would not approve of animals in bigger business's like Walmart or Kroger or any super center, not even cubical jungles because pets could distract people from their work or chew cords, just wouldn't be a all around good idea.

  • carmenh-orv
    11/28/2016 - 11:36 a.m.

    Employees are more likely to bring their dogs because dogs are more obedient than cats are.

  • alexar-pol
    11/30/2016 - 08:17 a.m.

    Employees are more likely to bring dogs rather than cats because dogs are playful and sweet. Cats are sweet but most just hide in the corner or hide from their owner. You should bring a cat to you job if you work at a place where it needs to be quiet. Also if you bring your cat it might get lost but if you have a dog you will be playing with it and it will not just wonder off like a cat would.

  • colinm-pol
    11/30/2016 - 08:22 a.m.

    Employees are more likely to bring dogs because cats can jump very high and might knock something over and they are good hiders so they might freak you out if one is under your chair.

    • namirb1-pol
      11/30/2016 - 08:34 a.m.

      your right

  • briannaf-pol
    11/30/2016 - 08:25 a.m.

    Employees are more likely to bring in dogs rather than cats because cats like to scratch at things and they like to hide. They are tiny so they could hide in the corner. Dogs also can be more trained then cats.

  • christiand-pol
    11/30/2016 - 08:26 a.m.

    Employees are more likely to bring dogs than cats because Cats are very mean and they bite usually, But dogs are very sweet and if they don't like you they will usually leave you alone. Dogs do make some noise but only when they want or need something, Cats do the same thing if they want or need something. Sugar Gliders would be a better alternative, They glide and do need a big space but they don't need much because they are nocturnal.



    Sugar gliders weigh only four ounces approximately, They are known as one of the cutest animal's alive, They can sleep in your pocket all day. In conclusion a dog and a cat shouldn't be aloud in work but a sugar glider should.v

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