Allowing pets in the workplace has long been seen as key employee benefit; however recent studies prove that bringing your dog to work also has key benefits for the employer. A recent American study has proven that people who have dogs in the office are less stressed and overall employee absenteeism was reduced, the study also found that pets triggered workplace interactions that would not normally take place.
Dogs have the ability to lift moods, improve happiness and reduce stress. All the benefits of owning a dog at home translate to one’s work when they have their companion by their side all day.
“Stress relief. My favourite thing about coming home after a long day at the office is being smothered by my dog,” shared Austin Wagner, 26 year-old Business Systems Analyst at SpareFoot, a self-storage unit search company. “It’s wonderful having my best friend at the office all day.”
Dogs are a natural conversation starter in the office. Employees are more likely to approach each other when there is a dog nearby to break the ice. Further, some companies may find that the amount of workplace gossip can decrease when dogs are introduced, as employees would rather talk about the dogs than other employees.
Exercise For Employees
It can be so easy to get sucked into your work first thing in the morning and rarely come up for air, then realise at the end of the day that you’ve barely moved from your desk all day. Office dogs have the added benefit of forcing the owner to bring them outside and walk them.
“The added convenience of being able to take my furry friend out for their midday walk was a relief,” said Kathleen Osborne, Senior Account Executive at King+Company PR, a small boutique PR agency in Manhattan. “The best part was that he forced me to take a break and take a ten minute walk outside. Since I started my job nine months ago, I never really spent more than five minutes outside during the day unless it was jumping into a taxi for an event, meeting, or grabbing lunch next door.”
Many employees find themselves rushing out the door at the end of their shift to get home to let their dog out. For employees that have their dog at work, they can extend their hours until their work is done, rather than restricting their time. Kerri-Lynn McAllister, Chief Marketing Officer at Ratehub.ca, a Canadian financial comparison platform, shared her philosophy on time flexibility.
“At a startup, we tend to work long hours and we want to support our employees as much as possible. If that means allowing dogs to come to work, we want to be able to make sure our employees are happy and that we provide an environment where they can be the most productive.”
Financial Benefit For Employees
When you consider the cost of paying for benefits for each employee of a corporation, the total adds up fast. Offering the benefit of having their dog in the office saves employees money on dog daycare or dog walking services daily. It’s a major benefit for the employee that costs little for the company to provide.
Attract Top Talent
Millennials have been known to choose dog friendly companies over their competition when most other considerations are equal. This perk weighs heavy for the young adults whose dogs are treated much like children.
“For me, it easily outweighs all the free snacks and perks,” said Marcus LaRobardiere, 27 year-old Marketing Communications Manager at Bouncepad, a tablet case manufacturing company for businesses. “A lot of companies push the same company culture and employee perks messages as part of their recruiting process, but that’s not always a true differentiator. Being dog friendly gives businesses a chance to reach millennial dog owners, and in turn you get more productive and engaged employees.”
Tips to get your dog ‘ready for work’
1. Get your dog used to the commute. Many dogs travel perfectly happily on public transport buts it’s a good idea to introduce your pet slowly to this. Don’t jump in at rush hour choose quieter times until they are used to it.
2. Exercise your dog before you head into the office. A nice long walk will tire your pet out and help him relax in the new environment; of course they will need short walks and toilet breaks during the day but not quite as much attention if they have a run before and after work.
3. Make sure your office is dog-friendly. It’s a good idea to use a crate if your dog is a little unsettled with everything that is happening at first, this way they have their own safe space to retreat to when it all becomes a bit too much. Also remember they should always have access to water and any food items they are not allowed should be kept safely out the way.
4. Give them time out. Your dog may not be short of attention in the office (especially if you work with a lot of people) however this may become a little over whelming at times so again an area which is their ‘safe area’ is imperative. Make sure your co-workers when your dog is on his blanket or in his crate he doesn’t need to be disturbed.
5. Introduce them slowly. Start bringing your dog in for a few hours, then half a day, slowly build in to a full day so it’s not as over whelming for them (or for your co-workers!)
Of course there are potential drawbacks to having furry friends running around the office, such as accidents on the floor and scuffles with other dogs. Additionally there may be some noise problems with calls and meetings with clients. These can all be managed with well-trained dogs and aware employees. Perhaps the most important drawback is that dog friendly companies could miss out on top talent that does not like dogs or has allergies. Most dog friendly employers typically report that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.