ALL ABOUT PETS: Pets proven to improve work environment


By Stacie Smith • Last Updated 10:53 pm on Friday, October 25, 2013

Lucy, a 6-year-old Goldendoodle, sits at the working desk of her owner, Julie Stafford of The Daily News. Lucy frequently visits the newspaper office, always looking for a lending hand for a belly rub. Having sociable animals in the office, such as cats and dogs, help promote less stress and can also foster more friendly interaction between co-workers, according to Greenville licensed clinical social worker Sue Ellen Pabst.

 

Offices across the country are implementing new ideas to try and make the workplace a more pleasant environment for its workers.

With the American workforce logging longer hours and spending more time with co-workers than family, it is important to foster an inviting atmosphere. Many local businesses have adopted a pet friendly policy, including The Daily News, which welcomes the friendly, regular visits of 6-year-old goldendoodle, Lucy, Publisher Julie Stafford’s dog.

Tammy Hollinshead’s dog, Reese, is a mainstay of The Topper Shop, and Hollinshead sees the positive effect her beloved pet has on both customers and employees.

Customers of Nature’s Needs gift shop in Belding are greeted with purrs and furry tails. As soon as a patron passes through the door, Nature’s Needs’ cats are ready to provide a warm welcome. Owner Craig Crebessa appreciates the special touch his greeters offer.

“A customer walked in and both cats jumped up to greet him, “ Crebessa said. “They are the gift shop greeters here.”

Patrons of The Topper Shop, just north of Greenville, receive a four-legged welcome and an invitation to play a spirited game of fetch.

Tammy Hollinshead’s dog, Reese, is a mainstay of The Topper Shop, and Hollinshead sees the positive effect her beloved pet has on both customers and employees.

“Every time the door rings, he takes off running,” Hollinshead said. “He has to see everyone at the door. He instantly brings the stress level down.”

In addition to the observations of local business owners, Greenville licensed clinical social worker Sue Ellen Pabst is aware of the benefits of welcoming pets to work, as well. It isn’t just small, local businesses that permit pets into the workplace, but large corporations, too.

“Google Inc. promotes people to bring their pets as long as they are potty trained and don’t bite,” Pabst said. “When people are in a positive brain state, they actually have higher intelligence and are more creative.”

A customer of Nature’s Needs in Belding is welcomed by the gift store’s greeters, Tommy, an orange tabby, and JoJo, a black cat.

Having sociable animals in the office, such as cats and dogs, help promote less stress and can also foster more friendly interaction between co-workers, Pabst explained. Pets are often used in therapy and due to their calming nature, are ideal working with children with conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and those on the autism spectrum. Petting a dog or cat allows children to more effectively self regulate their behavior.

“If we could allow pets in elementary schools, we may see less behavioral issues,” Pabst said. “The fact they (students) are stroking and petting the animal from head to tail, really helps to engage the parasympathetic nervous system.”

Having a pet-friendly policy in the workplace may increase productivity and creativity while decreasing stress and promoting a cohesive attitude among employees. Factors to consider include that an animal is properly potty and behaviorally trained as well as verifying that employees are not allergic to a particular animal.

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