Dog-friendly workplaces are friendlier to workers, too.
Bringing your dog to the office a couple of days a week is an idea worth considering. Here’s why.
You’ll stress less and smile more.
It’s already been proven by pet visitation programs at hospitals and senior centers— dogs have an almost magical ability to calm folks down, reduce their stress, and make them smile. It’s the same in the workplace. A 2012 Virginia Commonwealth University study showed that having a pet at work can reduce the build-up of the stress hormone cortisol throughout the workday. Another study (this one at the University of Missouri College Of Veterinary Medicine) shows that sharing the day with pets can increase people's level of the hormone oxytocin, which helps us feel happy and trusting.
You’ll get more done … more efficiently.
Stress and anxiety are enemies of productivity. Playing and being near a dog reduces stress by up to a third. This in turns makes folks more trusting, more able to cooperate and work together. So it’s no accident that workplaces with dogs are more productive.
Dogs in the workplace improve creativity.
It’s happened to all of us. You sit down to solve a work problem, and you struggle with it, and hours later you’ve gotten nowhere. But a quick walk with Fido or a game of tug will get your blood flowing—and suddenly the ideas start flowing, too. Having a dog at the office is good for your body and your creativity.
Dogs are good for team building.
Dogs just bring people together. In fact, at some dog-friendly offices, non-dog-parents will ask if they can play with a co-worker’s pet. Co-workers are more likely to bond with each other when there is a dog nearby to act as a catalyst. And some bosses will even tell you that workplace gossip decreases when dogs become the topic of conversation instead of people. It all builds employee cohesiveness and collaboration—which is what office productivity is all about.
Guest and clients will feel more welcome.
Dogs can work their feel-good magic on customers as well as employees. When a dog greets a client at the door, the “love hormone” oxytocin starts to flow. He’s using biology to build your brand! And that’s something few visitors will forget.
Dogs in the workplace can help recruit and retain top talent.
This is especially true of millennials, who have tended to marry and have children later than previous generations. Their pets are very important to them, and the idea of having their pets with them at work is a benefit that really clicks with them. In fact, millennials have been known to choose dog-friendly companies over others even when flashier and more expensive employee benefits are in the mix. And employees who appreciate dog-friendly policies tend to stick with their companies.
Try it, doggone it!
The benefits of a dog and pet friendly workplace are considerable. But it’s also important to follow some common sense ground rules:
- Know the rules of the workplace
- Dog parents should maintain good dog hygiene
- Keep dogs up to date on vaccinations and flea protection
- Sick or contagious health issue dogs need to stay home
- New dog should be introduced slowly
- Have a plan for lunch or meeting times
- Discuss any issues that arise
Do you enjoy a dog-friendly work environment or wish you did? Share your comments with us below!