Does your company let you bring your dog to work?

According to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management, 8 percent of employers now permit pets in the workplace.

“There’s certainly a trend of having a more inclusive work environment. Fllexibility now does include bringing pets to work, It’s not uncommon in New Jersey,” said Michele Siekerka, the president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association. “There is this feeling that the more flexible people are in the work environment, especially for the next generation of worker, the more competitive you are in the hiring process.”

Heather Cammisa, the CEO of St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, said there are several reasons why companies are allowing employees to bring their dog to work, including increased morale, increased productivity and reduced absenteeism.

“There’s just so many benefits to that pure companionship that animals offer us," she said.

But what happens if a dog gets nervous and bites somebody at work?

Siekerka said employers certainly want to have a well-thought-out policy covering pets in the workplace. But “your insurance that covers workers in the workplace — pets are not an exclusion. So if there was a dog bite, that would actually be covered," she said.

Cammisa agreed, saying if a company is going to allow pets to come to work they might want to think about “creating some zones that are specifically designated as pet-free — that might be a kitchen, a conference room.”

She said she brings two of her dogs to work every day, but it’s always important to respect people who are uncomfortable with or allergic to dogs or other animals.

“People can set themselves up for some long-term success, vs. just opening the doors and saying, 'Okay, come on in, bring your pets,'" she said.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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