In the startup world, where work hours are long and the nature of bootstrapping can get stressful, culture plays a big part in keeping employees happy and making things fun. At doggyloot, we have a lot of great traditions (such as gourmet doughnuts on birthdays), but one of my favorites is our dog-friendly office.
Since we're a dog-centric business, many of our employees bring their own dogs. Everyone's happier when the dogs come into the office -- owners get to skip paying the dog walker, the dogs get to test doggyloot's products and people who don't have a dog get to come visit with one anytime. There are lots of good arguments for allowing dogs in the office; here are a few of the benefits I've witnessed firsthand.
• Having dogs around the office raises morale. It's hard not to smile when a sweet pup trots in the office to hang out, and it’s a lot harder to have a bad day.
• Dogs also reduce stress. Studies have shown that having dogs in the office not only lowers stress levels, but gives employees higher job satisfaction and a more positive view of their employers (good news for the CEO).
• Pets in the workplace foster communication that otherwise might not have happened. When someone turns up at work with a new puppy, chances are they'll have a conversation with someone they've hardly been acquainted with in the past.
• Dogs help encourage teamwork and trust. Researchers from Central Michigan University found that groups worked together better and were more likely to be loyal to each other when a dog was around.
• Employees in dog-friendly offices are more willing to work longer hours. This is especially pronounced with employees who have a dog of their own -- when the dog is with them all day, there's no need to rush home to let Fido out.
Turning your office into a dog-friendly environment can be challenging, especially depending on where you work. Your landlord might not allow it, someone could be allergic, or the dogs might not behave or get along. To see how you can work towards inviting dogs into your workplace, check out this post with tips for how to transform your own office to a dog-friendly environment.
Jeff Eckerling is an experienced e-commerce executive and entrepreneur. He joined doggyloot as the CEO in May 2012. Before joining doggyloot, Eckerling was the CEO and co-founder of BonVoyou, a flash-sale travel site acquired by HauteLook (acquired by Nordstrom). Prior to BonVoyou, Eckerling was part of the pre-launch team at Orbitz and spend nine years in a variety of managerial roles.