Is Business Better with Furry Friends in Tow?
Businesses across North America have signed a pledge to incorporate pets into the workplace as part of the National Pet Day Off movement spearheaded by Vetster.com, a veterinary telehealth platform that connects pets to licensed veterinarians and encourages companies to include pet guardians in their culture, benefits packages and flexible work solutions.
- According to Vetster’s OnePoll survey, more and more employees are wanting their pets to be part of the workplace. For example:
- 6 in 10 pet guardians have left a job to seek a pet-friendly workplace (and 7 in 10 would take a pay cut to have a pet-friendly office)
- 48% of pet guardians say they are more productive at work when their pet is on site
39% believe their pets help them avoid professional burnout
Luckily, it’s a pet-friendly (business) world on the First Coast, as there’s a lot of support for working pet people. With more people wanting to work alongside their pets – especially post-pandemic during this period dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’ — more businesses are enabling employees to bring pets to the office.
Bringing Pets to Work
As the research mentioned revealed, when employees bring their dogs to work, it improves productivity and positivity. It also makes financial sense for the employee because they don’t need to hire a dog walker. According to wereallaboutpets.com, a pet-friendly workplace improves workflow 75-95% of the time. But are there really businesses that allow this? Yes!
Dr. Britany Timberlake and Dr. Chad Timberlake run Southeast Veterinary Hospital in St. Augustine. Dr. Britany Timberlake talked about the importance of dogs in the workplace. “Dogs make us happy. They provide unconditional love and comfort and help reduce stress, loneliness and depression. They give us a sense of purpose.” She also said her employees are more productive having their pets by their side.
Cat Evans, broker/owner of Palm Coast and the Beaches Real Estate, also allows pets at work. For Cat, this was a natural transition when she opened her doors almost ten years ago. “Before I opened my business, I worked in the corporate world. It was important for me to travel for business with my dog. I realized the value it provided me and made it my goal to offer a pet-friendly environment for my staff, agents, and clients.” She went on to say, “No matter what pet my staff members have, from turtles to birds to cats and dogs, everyone is allowed to bring their pet to work.”
Cat firmly believes that leaving pets at home causes a distraction for employees because they’re thinking about the pet they left behind, and therefore they’re not completely focused. Working for Cat also means discounts with local pet businesses, such as grooming and vet care. “There is always an endless supply of pet treats in our office. I probably spend more on pet goodies than office supplies!” Cat’s email address sums it up! Cat@dontworrylivehappy.com What better way to do that than by bringing a pet to work?
Unwinding with Pets After Work
After work, it’s great to be able to unwind with dogs. In Flagler Beach, Good Times Dog Bar is just one business that loves dogs.
Good Times Dog Bar offers a private dog park with a sparkling pond and waterfall, plus a large fenced-in area for dogs to play leash-free while adults enjoy a cold beer, a glass of wine, and the on-site food truck. The park has 7,000 square feet of pet turf with separate small and large dog areas and has plenty of shaded seating to spread out.
Owners Chris and Becca Huddleston took a leap of faith when they came to Flagler Beach and started the business. “We were both unhappy with our jobs in Alaska, so we took our life savings, bought the property sight unseen, and built Good Times Dog Bar,” said Chris. He went on to say, “We basically get paid to hang out with our dogs Trouble, a Pomeranian, and Monster, a Shih Tzu. We love providing our community a fun and safe place to unwind after work with their dogs.” Chris and
Becca’s passion is their dogs, and Good Times Dog Bar is their dream come true.
The Beachcomber, on St. Augustine Beach, is another pet friendly-bar and restaurant, owned by the LeClairs and the Samoras. Don Samora said, “Our local customers really appreciate being able to bring their dogs with them while they enjoy the deck after work.” The Beachcomber even offers select menu items for dogs, such as doggie chicken and doggie burgers. That makes for a happy hour for pet and person!
The bottom line is that business is better on the First Coast when furry friends are part of it.