This idea will sound absurd to many of you as we all know us cats don’t necessarily travel well. So, as crazy as it sounds, what’s behind the idea of having pets at work?
How long have people been bringing their pets to work?
According to mom, the trend of bringing your pet to work has been around for a very long time. Growing up in Los Angeles in the 60’s, she knew of family owned businesses where the owner would bring their dogs to work. Moving to New York City in the early 70’s, she met “working cats” in the bodegas and delis performing important rodent management! And when she opened her first office in the early 80’s, mom brought her beloved Yorkshire Terrier, Hank, to the office every day – he was in charge of PR and goodwill, she said.
Those “in the know” always knew the many benefits that pet ownership brings from stress relief to lowering blood pressure. And currently with today’s workday comprising a lot of computer time, daily interactions and meetings and often stressful projects, the pets provide just the right amount of “presence” to break the tension and reduce the workday stress over a mutual love of animals. People who love animals and pets enjoy being around them “all the time” and pet owners bond over this shared love.
Because of this mutual love of pets, their presence at work makes employees happy and increases their workday productivity as per companies who have a pet policy.
So, what is a Pet Policy?
As mom did her research, she was surprised and very happy to read that many major corporations have a pet policy! Big companies are featuring their pet policies as an important benefit in order to attract and keep valuable employees, particularly the millennials, who happen to be the largest group of pet owners of all the generations. As usual, it’s a dog-centric world, so certain benefits are geared to dogs specifically as they are the ones coming to work generally.
Companies include the following: Pet Smart, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Nestle Purina, Salesforce, Work Day, Bissel, Zynga, Zoosk, TicketMaster, Etsy, Tradesy, HubSpot, Mars plus many more!
Depending upon the company, the benefits include, but are not limited to:
Pet insurance offered as part of the health insurance package.
Fully paid pet boarding and feeding services for traveling employees.
Financial assistance for employees looking to adopt a shelter animal.
Paid time off to volunteer for worthy animal causes.
Designated pet play areas and outdoor walkways, which encourage employees to take their pet and go for a walk on their break.
Provide treats and toys for the pets.
Companies have also been known to help raise money to promote and support spay/neuter programs and support shelter pet adoption.
Mom says that the most important benefits are the ones that cover the cats too, like insurance as well as help with the costs involved with adoption and when traveling for business – and those count for a lot! We also acknowledge those companies who raise money for spay/neuter programs and recognize the importance of volunteering for animal causes! Bravo!
But getting back to the idea of bringing your cats to work…if we don’t want to leave the comforts of our home, how can companies and employees have a “cat at work” experience?
Put them to work!
From the original deli cat, to the warehouse and farm cat – the job was always rodent management and certainly more “organic” than putting down poisons and traps. These cats’ temperaments ranged from semi- friendly to semi-feral but still ready for a head pat or a few strokes of appreciation.
Lately the trend has greatly expanded to include the office cat or cats who provide a more cerebral and friendly emotional experience to the cat-loving employees.
Where did the “bring your cat to work” trend start?
As mom searched the internet, much of this trend appears to have started in Japan, often sighted as the origin of the beloved cat cafes.
Cat cafes offered cat lovers a chance to get a coffee and hang out with cats when their apartments were too small for a pet, or their building had a no-pet policy.
Taking their cue from these cat cafes, one company in particular, Ferray Corp. a Japanese IT company has 9 adopted office cats who were brought into the company to increase workplace productivity and encourage happiness at work. Each cat has an owner who brings their kitty in each morning and takes them home at night.
They also provide a bonus to every employee who adopts a cat while working at the company.
Watch the video below to see the cats of Ferray Corp at work and the positive effects they have on the company and the employees! Everyone is happy and working better together fueled by their mutual love of felines!