US Department of the Interior to pilot doggy days for staff

Something for the weekend: Pets are becoming a more common feature in the modern working environment, with some employers noting a correlation between employee motivation and engagement, and staff being able to have their four-legged friends by their side or, as is probably more often the case, under their desk. One US federal agency will now also take the lead on the dogs-at-work approach; the US Department of the Interior is to run a pilot scheme, Doggy days at the Interior, allowing man’s best friend to also become man’s best colleague.

Interior secretary Ryan Zinke will lead the trial, which will enable employees at the agency’s Washington headquarters to bring their dogs to work with them on two Fridays in May and September 2017.

The new policy aims to increase employee morale and wellbeing.

The parameters for dogs allowed into the office are yet to be confirmed, this will include whether the pets will need to be leashed or limited to a certain size. Dogs will likely need to be vaccinated, housebroken, and have no history of aggression. Remote and flexible-working options will be available on doggy days for staff who prefer not to share their workplace with dogs.

Zinke, who has an 18-month old black and white Havanese dog called Ragnar, has already displayed his love of animals at work. Earlier this month, he rode US park police horse Tonto to work, bypassing a typical traffic-laden commute.

The initiative was confirmed by Zinke on social media platform Twitter on US National Puppy Day (23 March): “In celebration of #NationalPuppyDay I’m announcing Doggy Days @Interior to boost staff morale and lower stress.”

Here at Employee Benefits, we can see the appeal of having a furry friend to help us through a busy day at work, although we are not convinced that they would be efficient at helping with the coffee run…