For the holidays this year you could give your team a party or small gifts or a few extra days off. But if you really want to show them you appreciate them why not give them what they all really want, cute animal snuggles?

Where is this adorable but unexpected suggestion coming from? I was browsing my Twitter feeds this week when I spotted a post that (contrary to Twitter's troll-filled reputation) actually gave increased faith in the goodness of humanity. A business acquaintance who works at Florida-based media company The Penny Hoarder, had shared pictures of her office's animal adoption day. This, I thought, is something more leaders need to know about.

Good for animals, good for morale

As Alexis Grant, Penny Hoarder executive vice president and cuteness tweeter extraordinaire, explained in an email the idea behind the event was simple. The company's employee experience department had arranged for the local SPCA shelter to bring in a selection of puppies, kittens, and bunnies in need of good homes.

"The company also offered to cover the cost of any adoptions that happened as a result of the cuddle session, and there are several adoptions now in progress," Grant reports

This is clearly an awesome idea for so many reasons, but let me just list a few. First, not only do all non-sociopaths (and non-allergy sufferers) love to cuddle furry animals, but unlike a festive margarita happy hour this sort of event actually does some very real good in the world.

"Our shelter takes in 15 new dogs, cats and small animals every day, and we're just a mid-sized shelter. Our partners down the road take in 30 animals every day. That means at least 45 animals in our community are facing homelessness each day," reports Martha Boden, the CEO of SPCA Tampa Bay, which organized the event in conjunction with the Penny Hoarder. "You can make an enormous difference by considering adoption from a shelter first when looking to add a new family pet," she adds.

Second, if you need an additional reason beyond adorableness to think bringing a bunch of puppies and kittens into your office is a good idea, psychology is more than willing to help out with studies showing the mere presence of animals make people nicer and more collaborative, and even better leaders. In short, such events aren't just good for homeless pets and a fun afternoon, they're also good for morale and collaboration.

How to set up your own office cuddle session

So what should you do if you're convinced that your office's seasonal festivities need the addition of more cuddly pets in need? "I would encourage your readers to contact their local humane society, SPCA or animal services agency to see how they can partner to bring more people and animals together," Boden wrote me.  

(PS- Your employees would probably like the extra days off and the happy hour too.)

Published on: Dec 14, 2018