These days, more and more workplaces are going to the dogs. Bring-your-pet-to-work policies are a growing trend, and often something job-hunters value when comparing workplace perks. Amazon, Uber and Airbnb are just a few examples of pet-friendly companies that go out of their way to welcome the four-legged friends of their employees.
And the benefits back them up. Studies show that bringing dogs to work offers not only stress relief and work-life balance for owners, but promotes collaboration, employee wellness, and retention and recruiting throughout the office.
If you’re one of the three in five U.S. workers who has been doing their job at home during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s likely that your dog has grown accustomed to your constant companionship. When you transition back to the office in-person, it may be a good time to try taking your new “co-worker” with you — even if just a few days each week.
Not every workplace is suitable for dogs. If, for any reason, you’re unable to bring your dog to work, be sure to read our strategies on how to prevent separation anxiety.
If your company is not already dog-friendly, you may need to do a bit of convincing on the benefits of opening the office doors to pets. To help make the case, here are 3 reasons — backed by research — on why dogs make good co-workers and can positively impact work environments.
Why Dogs Make Good Co-Workers
1. Dogs In, Productivity Up
According to researchers, animals at work make employees more motivated — they like their job more and experience less stress. Spending too much time too close to a project, problem, or other work can inhibit productivity and cause unnecessary stress. Pets remind employees to pause and step back from whatever they are involved in. Short walks, a little playtime, and temporary distractions allow mental breaks for improved productivity.
2. Boost Health & Wellness
In 2017, researchers found pets serve as a form of social support and help reduce stress. What’s more, numerous studies have shown that dogs help lower cortisol levels. High cortisol levels are linked to fatigue, mental cloudiness, and even disease. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) found that pet ownership is responsible for saving $11.7 billion annually on healthcare costs. Healthier employees means reduced absenteeism and less stress-related ailments (and the healthcare costs that accompany them).
3. Employee Morale and Cohesion
Another benefit of dogs in the workplace is that they have a positive effect on the social interactions among employees. Studies suggest that pets enhance the social atmosphere at work and that dogs can increase the frequency of communication among co-workers. And better camaraderie among co-workers leads to happier employees and lower turnover rates.
Establish and adhere to best practices
When making the case to allow dogs at work, ensure your boss or office manager that best practices will be established and adhered to. These might include:
- Only well-mannered, healthy dogs should come to work. Aggressive, fearful, destructive or overly energetic dogs should be left at home.
- Identify any potential hazards in advance (cords, important documents, small objects, etc) and move them up and out of the way.
- Create spaces where dogs are, and are not, allowed.
- Bring proper supplies to create a comfortable environment (bed, food, water, bowls, leash, waste bags, treats, toys and cleaning supplies).
- Look out for any signs of stress, aggression or high-energy that could lead to an unsafe scenario.
- Establishment of a schedule that places limits on how many dogs can be in the office on a given day.
While bringing your pet to work can require some up-front convincing, once you’ve got guidelines in place, the benefits for employers and employees alike can be far-reaching.
From a healthy work-life balance to nurturing productivity and reducing stress, opening the office door to dogs is a perk worth pursuing.
Johnna Devereaux is a Clinical Pet Nutritionist and canine wellness expert. She is the Director of Nutrition and Wellness for Bow Wow Labs and sits on their Board of Advisors.
The points of view expressed above are those of our clinical nutritionist and supported by science, her education and experience. However, we recognize there may be different points of view or opinions on some aspect or even the premise of this article. Our goal at Bow Wow Labs is to provide the best, clearest, and most helpful information possible to help keep your dog happy, healthy and safe.
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