Toronto Company Allows Employees to Bring Dogs to Work

According to studies, canines in the workplace can reduce stress and have other health benefits for humans.

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Dog at the officeSoftchoice, a Toronto-based software and hardware reseller, has become one of the few North American companies allowing its 600 employees to bring their dogs to work.

In many ways, dogs are a symbol of the kind of work environment we want to foster, Eric Gardiner, communications manager at Softchoice told the Canadian daily newspaper Metro. We believe in a relaxed, engaging atmosphere that embraces fun as much as it does hard work.

Dogs invite interaction between co-workers and help build team cohesion, Gardiner said. Meeting someones dog is often the first step in making a new people friend as well.

According to studies, having a dog in the office can reduce workers stress and also benefit their health in other ways. A British Broadcasting Co. report said that one firm found that having canines in the office helped 12 employees quit smoking, because the smokers would substitute smoke breaks for a 10 minute walk with a dog.

And according to a poll sponsored in part by the job-finding website Simply Hired, two-thirds of dog owners said they would put in longer hours and a third said they'd take a pay cut if they could bring their pet to work.

At Softchoice, to make sure that things don't get too disorderly with the pets, the company has a committee called D.O.G. (Dog Owners Group) in place, consisting of those who bring their dogs to work. They ensure that all canines entering the workplace have proper vaccines and are toilet trained. The committee also recommends prior obedience training.

Posted: March 23, 2006, 5 a.m. EST

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