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Companies embrace dogs in workplace

Study shows dogs in the office reduce stress, boost employee satisfaction

ABC News - With all the ball-chasing, tails wagging and playful barking, a day at the office of URBN is truly for the dogs.

For Emily Netter, who works in bridal attire for the company's BHLDN subsidiary, the workday includes having her Brittany spaniel, Riley, right by her side.

"It's kind of nice throughout the day just to peek down and that's what I see: Riley being cute, Riley taking a nap, Riley checking out a new gown," Netter said. "He kind of brings a positive energy to our little area. The whole team loves him, and he loves getting to be around the product and accessorizing as well."

URBN, an apparel company in Philadelphia, is just one of a growing number of businesses that allows its employees to bring their dogs to work.

Staffers said the the move "boosts morale."

"It definitely makes the day better, all day," said Kathryn Schutt, who works for the company's Free People subsidiary, and brings along her Italian greyhound, Fritz. "I think it speaks to URBN's sensibility and the aesthetic that they try to create, not just in the stores but in the office. … Not all companies are like that."

According to a 2011-12 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 3 percent of U.S. dog owners can bring their dogs to work with them — but that's triple the number from five years ago. These days, more employers — including Amazon and Google and even Congress — are adopting dog-friendly polices.

"It definitely changes the tone of the workplace," said Becca Arneson, who works for Urban Outfitters, a subsidiary of URBN, alongside Shi-Tzu Rooney. "People just seem to feel happier as a result. It's really nice. It adds to the sort of chemistry around the campus."

A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management said that having your dog at the office could reduce stress and boost employee satisfaction.

BHLDN's Netter said there were definitely rules to having your dog in the office, though.
"We keep them on their leash. No barking. Obviously, the outside area is for playing and pottying and all that," she said.

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