Take Your Dog to Work Day is a celebration of the bond between canines and their humans. This first celebration occurred in the United Kingdom in 1996, and the United States in 1999. This day celebrates all dogs and inspires adoptions from shelters and rescue organizations across the globe.
With the pandemic slowing down and life slowly returning to normal, many workers are heading back to their office jobs, much to the chagrin of their four-legged family members, who have undoubtedly settled into the new normal of always having their humans nearby. Luckily, many executives have seen the positive impact pets can play in day-to-day productivity and are considering converting their offices into pet-friendly work environments. That’s good news for dogs and their owners around the world.
Here are FIVE benefits of a dog-friendly work environment!
#1 Reduces Stress
This benefit may seem like a given, but being able to look down from your desk and see a four-legged friend provides a moment of respite in even the most stressful situations. However, the effect a pet can have on employee mental health is even more profound than you might think. Simply petting a dog is scientifically proven to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, increase levels of the hormone oxytocin, and reduce blood pressure. Not only this, but owners who bring their pets to work will be less concerned about racing home after work or during a break to care for their pets and more focused on tasks within the workplace. That work-life balance can be invaluable to keeping employees happy and satisfied with their jobs.
#2 Promotes Collaboration
Dogs bring people together. Having dogs in an office helps offset the need for team-building sessions by giving workers a built-in topic of conversation. Pets in the workplace often lead to improved communication and camaraderie between coworkers. Whether they are sharing their favorite hiking trails, favorite treats, tips on what new toys to buy, or afternoon walks, employees will have plenty to bond over. That bonding leads to more trusting and communicative relationships in the office between coworkers and a feeling that they can be more open and transparent with their fellow employees. Not only that, but a recent report from the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute found workers in pet-friendly offices reported a significantly more positive working relationship with superiors. Additionally, having pets in the workplace can reduce absenteeism. Why would you ever want to miss out on a chance to hang out with your four-legged friends?
#3 Attracts Top Talent
A dog-friendly work environment is a dream perk for many pet owners. Workers will get to say goodbye to expensive doggie daycare, dog walkers, or having to leave their pups at home, and hello to spending every day with their four-legged family member! According to a recent Forbes article, offering a pet-friendly working environment promotes a “positive work environment and culture”, which can set a company apart and be attractive to job-seekers. Not only will a pet-friendly office help attract talent, but it will also help retain talent. “87% of polled employers [say] being dog friendly helps them attract and retain more talent.” Employees who have gotten used to the money-saving and time-saving option to bring their pet to work will often be hard-pressed to give up the perk. Making your office dog-friendly can often be the difference for prospective employees considering a job offer, and for current employees weighing whether or not to change jobs.
#4 Promotes Higher Productivity
Due to their inherent ability to reduce stress, elevate moods, and bring employees together, dogs promote higher productivity and better communication in the workplace. In fact, in a 2008 study, pet ownership was shown to be more effective than medication in regulating hypertension while performing demanding cognitive tasks. Additionally, taking small breaks from cognitively demanding tasks is scientifically proven to increase productivity and improve workflow. With pets in the office, a short break for a pat, belly rub, or even a quick trip outside to stretch you and your pet’s legs can be a meaningful respite that allows increased productivity and a more balanced approach to work. It’s no wonder why a mentally and physically relaxed workforce means fewer mistakes, higher productivity, and better focus on the task at hand.
#5 Your Dog Gets Socialized!
Dog-friendly workplaces benefit both owners and dogs. Especially in the age of Covid-19, many dogs have limited or no experience at all being around other people and pets. This can lead to a dependency on an owner or a small selection of people which can create a good deal of separation anxiety. When a dog is allowed in an office, they get to be around humans other than their owners, which helps to build confidence and develop healthy responses to the anxiety a new situation or setting may present. They also get to hang out with other four-legged coworkers! Regular interaction with other people or pets is a form of positive reinforcement that shows pets that new experiences don’t have to be scary. This will benefit the dog both in and out of the office.
Dog-friendly work environments foster creativity, communication, and productivity. They also provide employees with a built-in stress-reducer that directly benefits their health and well-being and even provides benefits for the dogs themselves!
While there are certain guidelines you’ll need to set before creating a dog-friendly office, the benefits are well worth the effort. With companies like Amazon, Google, and Etsy being well-documented as dog-friendly, it’s clear today’s business leaders are buying into the benefits of four-legged coworkers.
That’s why here at DogWatch® we have always had a few dogs running around our offices! It not only keeps things interesting, but it help keeps the workplace relaxed and positive!