Office animals no passing fad

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Some employers may have dismissed animals in the office as a passing fad but it seems furry workplace companions are here to stay as an increasing number of businesses become pet-friendly.

Research by the Society for Human Resource Management indicated that eight per cent of workplaces were pet friendly in 2015 – up from five per cent in 2013.

"Having a pet stand next to you when you go to a meeting is such a huge icebreaker," said Petco chief people officer Charlie Piscitello. "It eliminates some of the natural human barriers and some discomforts that people have interacting with each other."

New Zealand, it seems, is certainly a nation of animal lovers and had been quick to jump on the pet-friendly bandwagon.

Jane Kennelly, director of Auckland-based Frog Recruitment, says she recently surveyed Kiwi businesses employing an estimated 7,000 people and found that approximately half had a regular canine visitor.

"It brings that enjoyment and levity to the workplace and ultimately increases productivity,” says Kennelly, who added that office animals help reduce stress and lift morale.

Point-of-sale software firm Vend is one such company that allows employees to bring their pets into work.

"What we do is hard, so if someone wants to take a break and play ping pong, make a coffee or play with one of the dogs or cats that come in, that's great,” communications director Simon Pound told Stuff.

“It's all part of being able to be yourself at work, which we find helps people do their best work,” he added.

This week, Frog Recruitment launched its annual competition – New Zealand’s Top Office Dog – and is asking workplaces across the country to send in photos of their canine colleagues via Instagram.

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