(USA Today)--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-Alphabet, Salesforce, Etsy, Autodesk and VMWare welcome employees’ dogs), but small businesses have often led the way in letting dogs accompany their human companions to work. And, recently, to help attract Millennials, 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).
A dog-friendly office:
► Helps in recruiting employees. Employees love their pets, and companies large and small that recognize the importance of pets in employees’ lives have a competitive edge in attracting talent. Rhonda lists “dog-friendly office” in every help-wanted ad, helping her small business attracti quality staff who are delighted to 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 pooch as it walks 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 a few minutes 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 you — as a businessperson — can learn about success from your friendly canine. Dogs excel at these traits, all of which 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.
► 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. We’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 we’ll even write your column for a week. Woof!