Should we have dogs in the office?
Let’s face it, leaving your dog at home in the morning when you go to work can be heart breaking for the both of you, which is why more and more employers are allowing dogs in the office. The benefits are endless based on research and studies.
Britain is a nation of dog lovers, according to the RSPCA there are around 8.5 million dogs in the UK. And statistics show around 11.7 million working days are lost each year due to stress, anxiety and depression. Studies have proven that having a dog in the workplace reduces these symptoms amongst staff, resulting in higher productivity and engagement. This is backed up further by US researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University who found that dogs in the workplace boosted the morale of the office and increased job satisfaction, who wouldn’t want that?
At December 19 we have our own little office dog called Sandy! She is a 4-year-old Puggle, (a Pug / Beagle cross). Staff in the office always look forward to her next visit, let’s just say she brings the sunshine.
The benefits have been great, staff have been offering to take Sandy out for a walk on their lunch breaks, getting people out into the fresh air and exercising. Having Sandy wandering the office looking for strokes and attention creates a sense of relaxation and companionship. If you need a breather from your work for a minute, a dog will always be up for a little tug of war with a toy or a little walk, after all they are man’s best friend!
Google, Amazon and Nestlé are all major companies that are in full support of individuals bringing their dog to work. Odette Forbes, Head of Media Relations at Nestlé said in an interview with The Guardian, “People will stop you in the corridors to stroke your dog, you start talking to someone in a different part of the company who you’d never normally have spoken to” This is a major benefit as it gets people socialising. However, according to Reed.co.uk, despite all the benefits there is only a mere 8% of companies that allow their employees to bring their dog to work.
So, have a think, could your company benefit from an office dog?
Before you dive in at the deep end though, you must consider the important things such as health and safety. Check your workplace is dog friendly first, you don’t want your pooch getting hurt! You should also probably check with your boss if you can bring your dog into the office, perhaps once a week is a good compromise, our Sandy comes in once a week! Always remember to ask around if everyone is comfortable with having a dog in the office, some people don’t like animals or may not want the distraction or could even have an allergy! Don’t make people feel uncomfortable at their workplace. However, if you are given the all clear to bring in your furry friend, then you are going to reap the rewards!
Overall, having Sandy in the office brings the team together and that increases team morale and team bonding which has been really healthy for our company. She uplifts team spirit and this results in higher engagement and productivity, at a lower stress level!
Ps. An important date for your diary, 22nd of June, Bring Your Dog to Work Day, which happens nationwide and has done since 1996. You’d be barking mad not to take part!
Written by Lucy Anness, Apprentice December 19.