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Would you switch jobs to be able to take Fido to work?

If you’re like millions of Americans who suffer at least a twinge of guilt or sadness about leaving Fido behind every morning when you leave for work, take heart – there’s now online help to find dog-friendly employment. SimplyHired.com, in partnership with Dogster.com, is celebrating the Year of the Dog with the launch of a dog-friendly job search tool.  (Simply Hired operates the world’s largest job search engine with over 4 million listings.)

Changing jobs to accommodate extended pet time may sound extreme, but Dogster.com and SimplyHired.com conducted a joint survey which found that a whopping 49% of dog owners would actually switch jobs to be able to take a pet to work. Given that 44 million people own dogs in the U.S., that result will likely interest H.R. recruiters. In fact, more U.S. households have pets (63%) than children (31%). When it comes to benefits, 70% cited a dog-friendly work place as an important consideration.

The benefit to dog-friendly employers? According to the survey results, 66% of dog owners would work longer hours and as many as 32% would agree to a pay cut to take their pooch to work with them.

What used to be a laid-back California experiment is now becoming a hardcore mainstream business practice as dog enthusiasts push for more opportunities to introduce animals into the workplace.  Today, California still leads the nation in the number of dog-friendly employers, but the idea is gaining popularity in every state. Business literature is full of fresh examples of successful pet-to-work practices and policies. According to Forbes, dog-friendly work benefits are especially popular with Millennials. The benefits to employers included “improved employee morale, increased collaboration among peers, more exercise for employees, greater time dedication to work, financial perks for pet owners and attracting top talent.”

In addition, a pet-friendly environment provides an onsite wellness clinic for many. There is much documentation by Habri, the Human Animal Bond Research Institution, showing the health benefits of animal interactions for conditions such as PTSD and depression, with overall improvement of cardiovascular health and blood pressure stabilization. According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study, employees who bring their dogs to work produced lower levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol. VCU compared employees who bring their dogs to work, employees who do not bring their dogs to work and employees without pets in the areas of stress, job satisfaction, organizational commitment and support. Noted principal investigator Randolph T. Barker, Ph.D. “The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction than industry norms.”

Not a dog lover? For those who have allergies, fear dogs, or just don’t like the distraction of an animal in the workplace, larger dog-friendly business environments (like Google and Amazon) usually feature dog-free work areas.

2017 may well become the “Year of the Dog” as more H.R. professionals are introduced to the idea of experimenting, and more employees switch jobs to gain this benefit.

About Jody Glynn Patrick

Jody is President of Glynn Patrick & Associates, which provides management consulting, executive coaching and strategic planning services. She is Publisher Emeritus of In Business magazine, which she published for 17 years. Selected as the “U.S. Business Journalist of the Year” in 2007 in Washington, DC, by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Jody has been a business reporter, editor, radio talk show host , and has won other state and national journalism awards. At the same time, she has helped corporate clients grow their businesses -- the basis for her practical coaching advice here. She also was the 2005 Athena Award recipient for her leadership role in mentoring other professional women. Jody will be talking with you weekly on TDS’ blog to share her insights and tips from the C-Suite perspective. Follow on G+.

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