Along with theusual assortment of coffee mugs, briefcases and BlackBerrys that Bay Area professionals bring to work, employees can add another accessory Friday — their pet dogs.
The furry office additions will be part of the ninth annual Take Your Dog to Work Day, a nationwide event that is sponsored by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Dogs in the workplace can improve morale in office environments by acting as a common bridge for employees, according to Jan McHugh-Smith, president of the San Francisco SPCA.
"Studies have shown that employees are more creative and productive when their pet is in the office with them," McHugh-Smith said. "With dogs around, the office atmosphere is a little bit lighter."
Having dogs in the workplace does demand a certain level of tolerance from employees, and it’s ideal if the animals are well-trained and less rambunctious, McHugh-Smith said.
Thousands of businesses are expected to take part in Friday’s activities, according to McHugh-Smith, but she did not know exactly how many Bay Area companies would be participating.
Joe Bayliss, owner of Energy 92.7, a San Francisco-based radio station, will bring in his two dogs Friday. Bayliss said his dogs, Duke, a rat terrier mix, and Buddy, a setter mix, are frequent visitors at the station office.
"The environment is more relaxed when the dogs are here," Bayliss said. "Everyone pays attention to them, they socialize well with people, and I think they create a more enjoyable environment."
Bayliss said his employees have never complained about the presence of his dogs, who mostly lie down or roam around the studio office.
"They just cruise," Bayliss said. "They mostly stay out of people’s way, but if someone wants to go and play with them, they’re more than encouraged."
Take Your Dog to Work Day is a good thing, provided the business and building can accommodate pets, according to Jim Lazarus, senior vice president of public policy for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.
"Let’s face it, people have dog-care issues," said Lazarus, who is contemplating bringing his 130-pound Great Dane to work on Friday. "If an employee doesn’t want to have their pet cooped up all day, why not offer them the flexibility of bringing in their animal?"