The Benefits Of Creating A Dog Friendly Workplace
23rd Mar 2021
That first sip of your morning coffee, nabbing the comfiest office-chair with the adjustable back, an empty inbox, that one annoying colleague being on holiday; these are all things that can brighten up our day when we’re in the office but have you ever been to an office full of humanity’s favourite four-legged companion?
Yes, we’re talking about dogs. Dog friendly offices are becoming increasingly popular and it’s clear that there are many benefits to having dogs around, for both employees and employers alike. You might be thinking that it’s simply indulging pet owners, but there’s actually a strong justification for dog friendly attitudes in the workplace.To honour World Puppy Day, we wanted to share with you just a few of the obvious benefits to opening up your workplace to canines, and if you’re looking to transition into a dog-friendly employer then we’ve got some tips for that too!
Dogs boost morale
Firstly, it’s a fact that dogs make people happy and that in itself is wonderful, but having dogs in the office also greatly improves morale and camaraderie amongst your employees.
Almost everyone loves dogs and will do almost anything to spend some time with them. This includes talking to other employees who you might not have ever interacted with otherwise. Dogs are a great way for new relationships to form, which in turn boosts the level of trust and collaboration amongst teams.
To top it off, if you’re having a bad day, nothing is going to cheer you up more than the wagging tail and unconditional love of a furry friend.
Dogs increase collaboration and work relationships
Okay, so we touched on this point above, but to reiterate, dogs can and will increase collaboration amongst your employees and make way for new workplace relationships.
This benefit is particularly good if you’re part of a large office. Most of us have experienced it, you’ve been with your employer for a number of years but for some reason, you still have no idea who Bob from Accounting is.
Some employee paths simply don’t cross, but what kind of culture are you establishing when employees aren’t encouraged to interact with one another, even at a basic level? It’s even more awkward when those employees do eventually have to communicate and have no idea who the other person is.Dogs are a great conversation starter and always draw a lot of attention in the workplace. Even the simple exchange of “oh my gosh, so cute, what’s their name?” contributes towards a friendlier and happier company culture.
Dogs reduce stress
Researchers have found that having dogs in the office can reduce employee stress levels. The reasons behind this are pretty clear but studies show that oxytocin levels increase when humans interact with a dog.
Oxytocin is a wonderful hormone that reduces stress and lowers the body’s Cortisol levels (Cortisol is produced by Stress).
So not only are the office dogs reducing stress, they’re making people laugh and smile, and both of those reduce stress and ease tension.
Dogs create a lighter, happier feel in the office and an environment that people want to come and work in.
Dogs can improve your health
So, we know dogs reduce stress but what else can these magic beings do?
Studies have also shown that people who own or are often around dogs have a higher level of wellbeing.
Dog owners tend to have lower cholesterol and blood pressure, healthier hearts and are able to maintain a healthy weight. This is because dog owners tend to be more active, which has a positive effect on health overall.
Dogs are great for your mental health too. They’re always there to cheer us up when we need it and can almost instantly lift our mood.
Dogs encourage us to take breaks and enjoy time away from our desk, and petting a dog has been proven to reduce anxiety levels and relieve feelings of low mood or depression.
There’s an added benefit if you have any neurodivergent individuals in the office, as dogs can be hugely beneficial when it comes to self-regulation and grounding.
Dogs enhance productivity and creativity
Dogs in the workplace can increase productivity and creativity just by their very presence. As we’ve already mentioned, dogs reduce stress and put people at ease, this leads to an increase in morale and collaboration, and the elevated mood helps the brain focus on what it needs to.Dogs also encourage us to take breaks or go for a walk. This in itself prevents us from spending too much time on any given task and allows us to return to our desk with a clear mind and fresh perspective.
Dogs attract top talent and increase employee retention
Dogs are the most popular pet in the world. The majority of employees are dog owners and with dog friendly offices on the rise, if you’re not one of them, you might find that the dog-owners in the team will begin to look for an employer who is.If you are pro-dog then this is great news for you. Being able to take dogs to work not only makes the lives of your employees easier, but goes a long way towards creating a welcoming, fun and collaborative environment which is always going to be appealing.
So how do you become a dog friendly workplace?
Develop a Dog Policy
If you want to allow employees to bring their dogs to the office, it’s necessary to implement a dog policy. Before you develop any pet policy, we advise that you check with your landlord to make sure pets are allowed in the building. If they’re allowed, then great!
Your dog policy should consider the potential disadvantages too, including phobias, allergies and health risks, and property, legal and insurance issues. You need to determine how you’ll address these and it will be necessary to talk with all of your employees before going ahead. You can even take a vote; only allow dogs in the office if the majority of your employees agree with this policy.
It’s also important to make sure all pets have received all required vaccinations, are treated for fleas, ticks and heartworm, etc. It’s a good idea to make it a rule that all pets are housebroken. Any dog can have an occasional accident, but you don’t want your entire office becoming a doggy bathroom!
The pet policy should also include provisions that say dogs must be friendly and well-behaved. Dogs that aren’t friendly and well behaved aren’t going to benefit anybody.
You’ll also have to allow breaks for walkies, so you might want to establish where the dogs are allowed to do their business and how long will be allowed for these breaks.
Create a calendar
If you’ve got a few dog-owners in the business, then you might like to set up a calendar for who can bring their pets on what days. Many pet owners will jump at the chance to bring their pets to work, but allowing everyone to bring their pets any time could create chaos. Setting up a schedule will give everyone a chance to bring their furry friends to work.
However you prefer to do it, it’s vital that you develop a pet policy in order to keep everyone happy and feeling included at work.Check out our dog friendly jobs!