25th June this year is Bring Your Dog to Work Day – arguably one of the best days of the year for the office worker. The day was created in 2014 to raise money for dog charities with thousands of businesses across the UK getting involved. Days like this that are dedicated to raising money for our four-legged friends are more important than ever. So many people unfortunately gave up their dogs and puppies over lockdown – dog rehoming charity Dogs Trust announced a welfare crisis with around 40,000 dogs needing rehoming due to the demand for puppies soaring and then being abandoned. Incentives like this are a great way to raise money for dogs while spoiling our own.
Being a dog owner over lockdown has had us spending significantly more time with our dogs while we worked from home. Now, as we begin to return to normal, the thought of leaving our dogs at home who have become accustomed to being by our side day and night is a sad one. Offices that allow office dogs every day are becoming a more desirable option for pet parents.
Here, we look at companies that have office dogs and what impact they can have.
Companies embracing dogs in the office
Many forward-thinking companies and global corporations have the benefit of office dogs.
According to research from 2019, 64 per cent of workplaces don’t have dog friendly policies. Yet, their current workforce is increasingly made up of millennials, who are much more likely to organise work around their pets. Companies that offer pet-based policies will attract these prospective employees. Big successful companies that allow dogs at work include:
- Ben and Jerry’s
A blog on Etsy’s website says: “It’s one of the ways we strive to maintain a casual, creative, and inspiring work environment.” A quick look on LinkedIn shows 1,365 results* for ‘dog friendly jobs’ in the UK. People are looking for it, and people want it. But it is more than just bringing your dog to work.
The fantastic benefits
Like Etsy states, bringing your dog to work can have a number of benefits on the workforce. According to research that surveyed 31 companies in Kentucky, office dogs resulted in pet parents expressing more of their personality. This can be important in cultivating and maintaining company culture and making the team more collaborative and casual – dogs have been found to promote staff interactions and create an improved social atmosphere. Granted, there will be an initial excitement when dogs are first introduced, but this soon becomes the norm, and when things settle, there are also benefits on the work that is being produced.
Productivity rises from office dogs. When we stroke a pet, our body releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps us bond and makes us feel happier. Stress levels are reduced and employee well-being increases, leading to increased productivity. We are also less likely to want to leave our jobs, too.
In the UK, it is estimated that there are around 17.9 million working days that are lost each year as a result of stress, anxiety, and depression. Putting pooches to work is just one way that we can help support workers struggling with these issues in the workplace. We should take a leaf out of successful corporations and see what they are doing to make their workforce happy, productive, and profitable.
Tips to introduce office dogs
Ensure everything goes smoothly when you make the introduction by following these steps.
- Prioritise high hygiene standards – like with ill employees staying at home to avoid spreading illness, the same must be considered for dogs. Make sure they are vaccinated and aren’t carrying any fleas. Also, only bring your dog in if they are potty trained.
- Positive vibes only – any dogs that have aggression problems should stay at home. Even if they are nervous, owners should be cautious.
- Check about allergies – one in three pet owners have given up their pet because of an allergy. Make sure no one in the office suffers from dog allergies before taking him or her to work with you.
Introducing office dogs can be one of the best things you do for your business. Think about the benefits this will have as well as how this will affect your workforce.
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*Accurate as of 21st May 2021
Petersson, M., Uvnäs-Moberg, K., Nilsson, A., Gustafson, L.L., Hydbring-Sandberg, E. and Handlin, L., 2017. Oxytocin and cortisol levels in dog owners and their dogs are associated with behavioral patterns: An exploratory study. Frontiers in psychology, 8, p.1796.