Woof! Allow me to introduce myself. I’m ZuZu, Rhonda Abrams’ dog. I know you’re looking for Rhonda’s small business advice, but for “Take Your Dog to Work Day,” happening on June 23, I’m taking over her column.
Of course, in Rhonda’s company, every day is “Take Your Dog to Work Day,” as dogs are welcome every day. Though we’re a small business, we’ve had as many as five dogs–all well-behaved, of course–at the office at once.
Many high tech companies get credit for creating dog-friendly workplaces (companies such as Google, Salesforce, Etsy, Autodesk, and VMware welcome employees’ dogs), but small businesses have often led the way in supporting dogs accompanying their human companions to work. And, recently, to help attract millennial employees, some businesses have added pet-oriented employee benefits, such as company-subsidized pet insurance or “paw-ternity leave” (days off when an employee adopts a new dog).
What are advantages of having a dog-friendly office?
** Helps in recruiting employees. Employees love their pets, and companies, both large and small, that recognize the importance of pets in their employees’ lives have a competitive edge in attracting talent. Rhonda lists “dog-friendly office” in every help-wanted ad, helping her small business compete in attracting quality staff who are delighted to work where they can bring their dog to work or just work in a friendly atmosphere.
** Helps in retaining employees. Bringing a dog to work is viewed as an incredible perk. Once someone can bring their canine companion on the job, it takes a long time before they’ll give that up.
** Improves morale. Dogs make almost everyone happier. Getting down on the floor to play with a dog, petting a dog walking by, or just seeing a well-behaved dog across the room lightens the mood.
** Makes it easier to stay late. Employees don’t have to worry about rushing home to walk or feed their pet.
** Creates connections. Dogs make it easier for employees to connect with one another and to communicate. It gets people up from their desks for doggie breaks from time-to-time.
** Gets people moving. Your employees will be more productive if they get up and walk around for a few minutes several times throughout the day. A dog makes that happen.
** Helps save dogs. More people are able to adopt a rescue dog if they can bring their dog to work. You can help make that possible.
Moreover, there’s a lot that you—as a businessperson—can learn about success from your friendly canine. Let me share some of the traits dogs excel at that can help you build your business:
** Loyalty. We canines virtually invented it. If we ran businesses, we’d be loyal to our employees—recognizing we depend on these people for our success. We’d also be loyal to our customers, making sure we really take care of them.
** Patience. If dogs were as impatient as humans, we’d have given up on our owners a long time ago. People make mistakes. Businesses suffer setbacks. In business, you have to learn to take the long view and learn patience.
** Acceptance. You humans put a lot of emphasis on superficial things—how someone looks or the clothes they wear. Dogs look for what’s inside. That’s why people love us.
** Perseverance. I can run around for hours and hours. It takes persistence to get ahead. Some humans want to “get rich quick.” That’s not the way it works.
** Gratitude. How do dogs get humans to do what we want? We let you know when you’ve made us happy by wagging our tails or licking your face. Canines know humans are suckers for appreciation. Try it. When someone does something that pleases you, let them know. A simple “thank you” helps. (It’s better if you don’t lick their face.)
If you’re a small business owner, consider getting a dog. They’re great business companions. You can talk over your problems and ideas in complete confidence, or take a walk and meet potential customers. Dogs restore your sense of well-being, and support you through thick and thin. And if you’re good and bring lots of dog treats and toys, maybe they’ll even write your column for a week. Woof!
Copyright, Rhonda Abrams, 2017
This article originally ran in USA Today on June 21, 2017