Companies looking for a low-cost wellness program to limit stress, encourage collaboration, improve moral and job satisfaction should allow dogs in the workplace. Some of the big players like Amazon, Google and Ben & Jerry’s are already on board. These companies are also ranked as some of the top companies to work for…coincidence? We think not.
There are numerous benefits to having dogs at work:
- Increased staff morale and productivity. Employees in dog-friendly offices are also more willing to put in longer hours, they don’t have to worry about rushing home to let their dogs out or feel guilty for leaving their dogs home alone for so long.
- Increased camaraderie among employees. Let’s face it, the water cooler is just nowhere near as inviting as a cute dog. Dogs are much better icebreakers and can initiate conversations between employees that otherwise might never interact. Dogs in the workplace have also been shown to increase trust and collaboration between coworkers.
- Happier employees mean enhanced job performance. Studies show that pet owners are happier and healthier, have higher self-esteem that those who don’t own pets. Let these happy people bring their pets to work and you’ll really see the entire workplace benefit.
- The presence of dogs gives people pleasure, as well as calms and reduces stress in the staff. Petting a dog for just 15 minutes significantly reduces stress hormone cortisol while increasing feel good hormones like serotonin and oxytocin.
- Employees who bring dogs in the workplace report feeling more satisfied with their jobs.
- For those of us who are desk-bound at work, our bodies are negatively affected by the lack of movement. Having a dog in the office forces employees to get up and go outside, which is very beneficial and otherwise overlooked.
So now we know why having dogs in the workplace is better for us but what about for our dogs? Besides the obvious upside of hanging out with you all day (because who doesn’t love that), you can ensure success and enjoyment for your dog by keeping a few things in mind.
First of all, consider your dog’s personality and the office environment. Is your office the type of place where employees or customers are constantly coming and going or once employees are settled at their desks, there’s not a whole lot of action? Based on the environment, you must consider how your dog would handle being in that environment all day. Some mellow dogs have no problem sitting by your desk as strangers pass by. Other, easily excitable dogs will be nervous and upset at every new face or new noise. It’s a good idea to start your dog out part-time to see how he reacts to the workplace and let him get used to his surroundings as you lead him around and introduce him to everyone he should get used to seeing on a regular basis.
Set up a safe, cozy resting spot near you. Make sure you bring your dog’s food, food bowl and water bowl as well as her favorite place to rest like her bedding or crate. Bring favorite toys too but leave the squeaky ones at home; your coworkers will thank you.
Be considerate of your coworkers and their dogs. All dogs in the workplace should be spayed/neutered, up-to-date on vaccinations and healthy. They should also be friendly, non-territorial and well behaved. A dog-friendly office can go wrong when employees don’t act responsible. A coworker with allergies may have approved the adoption of the dog-friendly environment but your dog in their personal space would quickly change that. Same with a dog that constantly picks fights with the other dogs, barks while coworkers are on the phone with customers or growls at customers when they come in the door. With that being said though, not all dogs are perfect all the time (shocking, right?! Ha-ha) so if your dog has certain restrictions, make sure you communicate that with everyone in the office so they know not to make eye contact or approach without your permission for example.
A dog-friendly office can be a positive place with benefits for employees and their dogs. If you are lucky enough to take your dog to work every day, I’d love to hear about your experiences and tips! If not, would you bring your dog to work if you could?