By: Meghann Witthoft
Barks and Bonds
There is something to be said about the bond between humans and our canine counterparts. It’s so strong that you can’t help but talk “baby talk” as you stare into those big brown (or blue) eyes even though you are a fully grown adult with a corresponding vocabulary. As soon as you sense their unconditional love and feel their fuzzy bodies just waiting to be snuggled, you instantly melt and soften. However, this bond does not disappear the moment you cross the threshold of your home and head to the job that helps you pay for all of the treats and toys your pup deserves. So, what can be done to preserve this bond beyond your home? Answer: Bring your doggie to work with you!
Raise Your Paw for Dogs in the Workplace
Aside from a semi-common understanding that the love many people hold for pups correlates in some way to happiness and fulfillment, there are several research studies that claim having pets (specifically dogs, in this case) can make the office a happier, healthier workplace.
According to The Huffington Post (article), a Banfield Pet Hospital survey found that dogs are “a key to a happy office.” This survey polled roughly 1,200 human resource professionals and employees and found that 70 percent of the individuals who filled out the survey thought that pets “improved working conditions.”
Another study by Virginia Commonwealth University, as outlined by Inc. (article), discovered that employees who shared their office with their dogs revealed lower levels of stress and higher levels of satisfaction with their job and employers. This study took place at a North Carolina manufacturing company called Replacements and included employees who brought their dogs to the office, who had dogs but did not bring them in, and those who did not own any pets. Approximately half of the employees who spent the day with their doggie by their side stated higher levels of productivity, whereas those who did not reported no change in their daily output.
Our HR and Finance Manager, Michelle Beckner, can attest to noticing some of these benefits in the JETPUBS office. “[Having] dogs in the workplace tends to improve morale and camaraderie and reduce stress as it creates a more laidback environment,” shared Michelle.
However, Michelle also notes the challenges that a pet-friendly office can pose. “A downside would be if there were anyone in the office that has allergies, or if anyone is uncomfortable around dogs. As a company we need to make sure that we accommodate any employees or customers that may visit the office with these concerns,” said Michelle.
At JETPUBS, we are a pet-friendly office for many of the same reasons as outlined by the studies. We currently have a pack of “JETPUPS” who brighten the office with their presence and help many of us feel more productive in the process.
As part of the JETPUBS family, these dogs are an integral part of our office culture and help to provide unparalleled services to our clients. Everyone in the office shares a unique view of the pet-friendly office policy and its part in their daily workplace environment.
Connections, Safety, and Friendship: Larissa’s Story
JETPUBS CEO Larissa Fildes was originally motivated to create a pet-friendly environment by her desire to have her own canine companion by her side. The idea, according to Larissa, started when the JETPUBS office moved from Eagan, Minnesota to its current location in Hudson, Wisconsin. “Initially, I would bring my two dogs in on and off, as would other people,” shared Larissa.
“Then, one day when I had left them both at home, my younger dog passed away due to choking. After that I started bringing Oliver [my other dog] in with me every day so that I could keep an eye on him,” said Larissa. Eventually, her original idea and concern for safety morphed into a regular part of the laidback, family-like office culture.
Larissa also believes that having a “JETPUPS” pack in the office is a fantastic way to relieve stress and connect with employees by adding an element of their personal lives into the workplace mix. “Aviation is a very fast-paced industry and, in order to really serve our clients, we have to constantly be running two steps ahead of that speed,” said Larissa. She stated that having the pups wandering the halls is a reminder that we can be an active member of this constantly-growing industry and have loads of fun along the way.
In addition to the general stress relief having dogs in the office provides, according to Larissa, it also provides a way to nurture relationships between co-workers. “I know at times it can be a little bit of a pain when they are loud or misbehaving, but I think that even in those times, the dogs become a reminder that everything isn’t always perfect and we should take [things] in stride,” said Larissa.
This idea of having four-legged reminders that we are not perfect is one of many lessons Larissa has learned from her experience working alongside her furry best friend and other office pups. Some other lessons Larissa shares are to “Bark less, wag more. Ask for what you need. Life is always better with friends and little treats!”
New Workplace, New Furry Friend: Krista’s Story
Krista Hallen, who heads up Production Administration and Shipping for JETPUBS, also shares her experience and how she has been personally affected by the pet-friendly environment that JETPUBS fosters. “I didn’t have a dog when I started at JETPUBS and my family had just lost our longtime [dog] Boomer about a year before I started,” shared Krista. “My parents had no intention of buying another dog but I, of course, wanted another in my life.” Enter Cocoa, a puppy friend all her own.
“Really, the only reason I even thought I could own a dog was because I work at JETPUBS,” said Krista. The idea of buying a puppy just to leave at home throughout the day was torture for Krista and she feels very grateful to be in a workplace that embraces the trials and tribulations associated with dog ownership.
“I’ve learned that the ‘it takes a village’ concept is true. Everyone in the office looks out for each of our dogs and they are spoiled beyond belief with love and affection and, of course, treats,” said Krista. Cocoa, according to Krista, was able to bond with the other office dogs in a way that he almost certainly would not have otherwise. “My favorite part of it all is watching them [the dogs] grow and embrace their personalities,” said Krista.
Beyond the doggies bonding, Krista emphasized that the experience has also forged a bond between employees by attending training classes, laughing at their crazy antics, and being there for one another in times of crisis.
“Once, before an all company meeting, Cocoa and Zola [another office pup] managed to break into a box of brownie brittle on the floor. While both dogs were completely fine we didn’t want to take any risks so Larissa, Diane Halweg, and I spent a good 30-40 minutes trying to induce vomiting. It was quite the adventure, and everyone ended the day feeling fine and back to their crazy antics, but we learned to keep an eye on the two trouble makers,” shared Krista.
Love at First Sight and a New Perspective: Mikaela’s Story
Another member of the JETPUBS team who has a unique experience in becoming a pet owner motivated by the JETPUBS pet-friendly environment is Mikaela Hammer. Mikaela found her furry friend via an ad on Craigslist and instantly feel in love the moment she held the pup, now called Ezra, in her arms. “My eyes filled with tears and all I could say was: ‘Oh, he’s gorgeous.’ It was love at first sight,” shared Mikaela.
From a personal standpoint, Mikaela has found Ezra to be a support system, providing comfort in the form of laughter and loads of cuddles. “I always knew that I enjoyed dogs, but after having Ezra for eight months I can’t imagine being without him,” said Mikaela.
At the office, Mikaela has gained new perspective on her surroundings and an appreciation for the culture that having dogs in the office promotes. She believes that the “friendliness and silliness” of the “JETPUPS” acts as a communication catalyst among coworkers and a calming presence in times of stress. In addition, it acts as a way of alleviating the worry of having a pup at home, kenneled and alone. “I am so thankful that he is able to share my office space instead of being kenneled for most of the day…I always hated the idea of ‘stay at home dogs’ who only get their lovin’ in the evenings,” said Mikaela.
Mikaela also noted that having dogs in the office has made her more aware of her surroundings. By making sure to keep an eye on her doggo during the day or taking breaks to let him out to avoid filling the office with puddles, Mikaela pays closer attention to those around her. In turn, this heightened awareness acts as a way to bond with coworkers and other office pooches as well.
Partners in Productivity
In learning from the stories of Larissa, Krista, and Mikaela, it is easy to see why studies and surveys have outlined the incredible effects that having a pet-friendly office can have on stress and, in turn, productivity. Their experience and the experiences of those in the office who interact with the individual personalities of the doggies are constantly growing and fostering new bonds. At JETPUBS, we will continue to learn from our pack of “JETPUPS” as we enjoy their company and see our daily activities through their eyes.