Many SME retailers find a shop cat or dog can attract a few pet-loving customers, as well as being good company, but it turns out there’s significant staff-retention benefits in bringing pets to work.
In a survey conducted in connection with Pets at Work Day, coming up on July 7, Purina has found that 17 percent of Kiwi customer-facing retail businesses are happy to include pets in the workplace.
These include Mt Eden bookstore Time Out, which has had Lucinda the cat in the shop for seven years now. Lucinda has become “an icon”, says manager Jenna Todd, and is responsible for a steady stream of elderly customers who come to the store just to visit her. Todd says Lucinda provides many locals young and old with company and affection.
According to a recent study conducted by Purina, the top benefits of a pet-friendly workplace include smiling more, enhanced employee engagement, motivation and likability. Over 60 percent of employees agreed they liked their employers more when the employers allowed them to bring in their pets.
Nestlé Purina New Zealand Head of Marketing, Jennifer Chappell, is hoping that in 2017 more organisations will embrace pets at work, even if just for the day. Purina itself is a pet-friendly workplace.
“We love coming to work every day with our furry friends and we wish more people could have the opportunity to experience it for themselves. Having pets at work helps us to relax, laugh more and get some fresh air during the day. It highlights our core belief that pets and people are better together, including in the workplace,” Chappell says.
Purina has put together some documents to help workplaces and employees successfully negotiate having pets at work. Legislation around in-store pets changed in 2016, but don’t worry – as long as you’re not selling food, you’re golden, and if you are, pets on the premises are fine as long as they do not affect the safety of the food.