Friday 21st of June 2019 is Bring Your Dog to Work Day – an observance day where many employees and employers bring their four-legged friends into the workplace. While bringing your dog into the office for a day is a fun thing to do and a great place to start…why leave it at just one day?
In business today, productivity is at the heart of success. If your business is looking for a way to boost productivity and help your employees perform better without spending wads of cash to do so, allowing dogs in the workplace could be an excellent way to achieve this.
The benefits of dogs in the workplace
Having dogs in the workplace may seem a little crazy, but it’s actually backed up by science. Many companies in the US, such as Google, Amazon and Ben and Jerry’s, allow dogs in the workplace (though not near the ice cream of course!) and an increasing number in the UK and Ireland are following suit. But why?
According to the Blue Cross “More than 90 per cent of businesses we asked that allowed dogs at work said they’d seen a positive change in the working environment. One in two businesses noticed a decrease in absenteeism, 56 per cent said their dog had improved work relations, and 67 per cent said it improved staff morale.”
What it comes down to is that pets and people are better together and if your workplace is able to accommodate dogs as well as people, the results could range from improved health to a happier workplace.
Dogs can reduce stress levels
According to the HSE, over 11 million days are lost at work a year in the UK because of stress at work. While the causes of such stress may vary, the consequences are never good. Not for the employee and not for the employer.
Us dog lovers know that giving your pet a cuddle and a stroke can help the stress of daily life just melt away and science backs this up, with significant cardiovascular and behavioural benefits associated with pet ownership. And in the workplace, the very presence of one’s dog can effectively buffer stress and boost productivity for both the pet owner and other employees.
Dog owners tend to be healthier
Not only does allowing dogs in the workplace reduce stress among employees, but pet ownership in general, and of dogs in particular, provides a plethora of health benefits.
But what does that mean for you, the employer?
It means that if you encourage employees to own dogs and bring them to the office, you’re likely to witness a decrease in sick day calls and a healthier office all year round.
Allowing dogs in the workplace encourages social interactions
Interactions and relationships between employees are crucial for a healthy, harmonic workplace, and dogs can play a significant role in that as well. Nothing can fire up a conversation between people faster than a dog!
Dogs in the workplace benefit work-life balance
It can be all too easy to get bogged down on a project at work or overwhelmed by a particular problem. Dogs can help with this as they remind us to take small breaks from time to time, which can significantly reduce stress, enhance mood and thereby help make us more productive in the long run!
Short playtime, small walks, and temporary distractions caused by dogs give employees mental breaks that will help them get back to work feeling more energised.
Dogs boost customers’ perception of the business
The majority of customers and clients have a positive reaction when offered a chance to interact with an employee’s dog, or any pet for that matter. And when working in animal-related industries, there are even more opportunities to have your dog involved in your workday.
Financial benefits of allowing dogs in the workplace.
Allowing dogs in the workplace can alleviate a not inconsiderable financial burden on your dog-loving employees, as it eliminates the need for dog sitters, walkers and kennels, all of which are services that can be pretty costly for employees who spend a lot of hours at work every day.
Additionally, dog owners tend to work for longer hours with fewer absences if they can bring their dog to work, as they don’t have to worry about their lonely pet back home, nor do they need to rush in the middle of the day to feed their hungry dog.
Dogs can attract top talent
Workplace perks play a significant role in attracting top-performing recruits and a Dogs At Work policy is often viewed by employees as a valuable employment perk. As a business owner, you don’t want to miss on top talent from any community, including the dog-loving one.
It’s also beneficial for dogs
It’s not just us humans that benefit. Having a dogs-at-work policy can have a tremendous positive impact on the dogs themselves. Dogs that are around their owners for extended periods of times and during their social interactions tend to be better socialised and easier to be around compared to dogs that are often left alone during the day.
That means that allowing dogs in the workplace is a win-win-win situation for everyone – the business owner, employees, AND dogs. If managed properly, that is, of course.
Top tips from the Blue Cross for taking your dog to work
- Keep your dog under proper control at all times.
- Check insurance and health and safety implications and make sure that any requirements are followed.
- Carry out a simple risk assessment. A risk assessment is simply deciding what could go wrong and ensuring you’ve taken sufficient precautions to prevent or minimise any risks. If your workplace employs five or more people, the risk assessment must be in writing.
- Check your own insurance and/or pet insurance policies and ensure it provides adequate cover for damage to third party property or injury to third parties (including fellow employees).
- Make sure your dog is housetrained, but be prepared for little accidents.
- Your dog should be in good health and not suffering from any sickness.
- Watch out for signs of stress – is your dog panting a lot or licking his lips?
- Make sure there’s a quiet and comfy place for your dog to relax.
- Ensure they have access to fresh water.
- Don’t forget walkies!
If you bring your pet to work, do share your experiences in the comments below. And remember to follow #BringYourDogToWorkDay on Friday 21st of June to see all the dogs at work!