the benefits of allowing dogs in the workplace
For many employees who don’t like to leave their pets pining away at home while they go to work, this is a no-brainer, and can be really attractive to dog-owning prospective employees! But the benefits of having dogs in the workplace go much further than just convenience… as we at paws in work know well, having pups in the office can be a huge boost to employee morale and happiness, which can have far reaching effects around the organisation.
Here are some of the amazing benefits associated with having a pet-friendly workplace...
reducing stress and increasing productivity.
Studies show that spending time with pets can reduce levels of cortisol (the hormone that is produced when we feel stressed) in the human body. Spending time playing with or caring for a dog has also been shown to lower blood pressure. Such a tangible reduction in stress is likely to work wonders on your workforce! Employee stress is one of the biggest factors negatively affecting productivity at work, leading employees to lag in their efficiency and quality of work, as well as resulting in fatigue and even illness. The reduction in stress levels that a workplace pup can provide can go a long way to counteracting the negative effects that stress may have at your place of work, and you will be able to see the benefits in your employees' work output!
improving workplace communication.
In workplaces where communication between employees and departments is lacking, introducing dogs into the workplace can work miracles! Having a dog can act as an amazing ice-breaker in all kinds of situations, and the office is no exception! When an employee brings their dog to work for the first time, there’s no doubt that it will be a conversation starter, and you might find that colleagues who have never had much reason to chat to each other in the past might strike up new relationships which can lead to new working bonds!
boosting employee morale.
Having the chance to play with a pup at work is almost always guaranteed to bring a smile to employees’ faces. Studies have shown that even spending a small amount of time in the presence of a pup can increase the brain’s production of the happiness hormone oxytocin. And of course, a happy worker is a less stressed worker, and is likely to be much more productive at work as well as expressing higher levels of work satisfaction! Having the chance to cuddle a pup at work might just be the thing that gives an employee a spring in their step in the morning, and helps keep them bright and cheerful throughout the day!
Having pets at the office is, of course, a big responsibility. Pet owners (and their helpful colleagues) will have to be sure to look out for the wellbeing of their dog throughout the day, and that might mean taking it for walks and loo breaks, and making sure to feed it at the correct times. Caring for another being in this way can also remind us to take the time out of our day to take care of ourselves. Taking a dog out of the office for a quick stroll or a loo break can be the perfect opportunity for employees to stretch their legs and take their eyes off the screen. Taking time to feed a dog during the working day can remind employees that they also need to give themselves a healthy lunch and drink lots of water, just like their pup needs to!
office dogs get socialised.
Many pups have to spend several hours of the day home alone while waiting for their owner to come back from work. Office dogs have a full and exciting day which involves travelling into work, meeting lots of co-workers and maybe even some other dogs. Especially in their early lives, it is important to socialise dogs as frequently as you can to make sure they are familiar with as many different types of people, environments and other dogs as possible, as this means they will be less likely to be frightened and start barking when exposed to a new person or situation! Socialised dogs are happy dogs, and bringing your dog to the office is the perfect opportunity to make sure it is well socialised!
Another of the benefits of being allowed to bring pets into the workplace is that this policy can be really helpful to dog owners in terms of lifestyle! Organising pet care and a dog walker can be both tricky and expensive for employees. Being able to bring your dog into work can therefore both save employees funds, whilst making their day-to-day planning much more straightforward! The added bonus for employers is that pet owners will no longer need to rush off home at the end of the day to make sure they get back in time to feed and care for a pet that’s pining away at home. Employees can finish their work in a more relaxed manner, without the need to cut corners, which means their quality of work is likely to improve!
Of course, allowing dogs to start coming into your workplace is not always simple, and there are lots of factors to take into consideration to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing, including that of the pups themselves! Here are some top tips for things to consider if you are thinking of making your workplace dog friendly!
- Check to see if having dogs in your office affects your insurance and make sure it is allowed according to any rules set by your landlord, if you have one.
- Make sure your office has a clear policy around dogs as part of your workplace policy. It is important to plan this in a way that works well for everyone, and you might want to think about specific days or times when employees are or are not allowed to bring their dogs into the office, as well as considering which office spaces dogs should be allowed to enter and whether you wish to keep any zones dog-free.
- You may also consider having a plan in place in case of badly behaved pets in the office, whether that includes public liability insurance, or having a sanctions system in place for owners of any naughty pooches who might cause a disturbance. Many dogs are perfectly behaved, but it is important to remember than not all owners are the best dog trainers, and when in a strange environment, dogs might be liable to create a nuisance by barking, going to the toilet in inappropriate places, or even biting other employees.
- Although many employees will be thrilled that you have started allowing pets in the office, check to see if any of your other employees have pet allergies or phobias, and make sure it is possible to put a plan in place to keep them safe, healthy and happy. That might mean only allowing pets in specified spaces in the office to keep them away from vulnerable employees.
- Make sure the office is pet-proof by tucking away loose cables or other dangerous items that a dog might try to play with. Make sure that human food is kept well away from reach and that any bins are covered with lids.
- Make sure there are toys and treats available for any pups who come into the office! This will keep them occupied and entertained whilst their owners get on with their work. Be thoughtful with the kinds of dog toys you choose- find something that the dogs will love, but that won’t cause too much noise or disturbance to anyone who is trying to work!
- Make sure there is plenty water available for pups in the office, as well as appropriate bowls for them to drink from.
- Perhaps think about providing a checklist for any dog owners who are thinking of bringing their pets into work. This could include reminding them to bring along food and treats, as well as items for cleaning in case of an accident, and poop bags (hopefully just for when they take their pups out for a walk!) You could also encourage dog owners to bring a dog bed, cushions or blankets into work- anything that will make sure their pup is comfortable and happy in the office!
Keeping all these tips in mind, you should be ready to introduce your pet-friendly office policy in the safest and most beneficial way possible for all your employees and their pets!
As an employer, you are likely to see a huge wealth of benefits when you start to allow dog owners to bring their pets into the workplace. Having a pet-friendly workplace can be a truly wonderful way of helping to build a fun and happy working environment!