Did you know that during Covid approximately 3.2 million of us adopted a pet? And that 12 million of us in the UK are currently ‘dog parents’? Whilst we were working from home, four-legged co-workers became a part of our working day. So, although many of us continue to hybrid work, some are back in the office full time, and many of us are taking our pawsome pals with us.
If you run a small business, what are the benefits of office dogs?
During the pandemic, people realised just how important their pets are in their lives for both their physical and mental wellbeing. So why wouldn’t that be the same in the workplace? The Dogs Trust National Dog Survey found that more than 55,000 would like to take their dog to work with them, and more people than ever are seeking out dog friendly jobs.
There are many, many benefits to allowing Fido to sit next to the filing cabinet or Dexter to sleep under your desk. Many companies recognise that a dog friendly offices helps to improve employee satisfaction, increases work ethic and has a positive, motivating and performance-enhancing effect.
In 1999, the national ‘Take your dog to work day’ campaign was launched and today efforts to integrate dogs into everyday work are taking on more momentum.
A study by animal welfare charity Four Paws proved the positive effects. A research team compared three groups of employees. One group brought their dogs to work, the second left their dogs at home, the third did not have dogs. The study focused on the following factors:
- Job satisfaction
- Organisational commitment
- Social support.
The results showed that the presence of office dogs really made a meaningful difference. For the group who had their dogs with them there was a significant reduction in stress during the workday compared to the other groups. The presence of the office dogs also ensured more positive interaction (dog-related conversations) that would not have existed without them, and thus a more relaxed work environment. Some non-dog owners even took the animals for a walk. Like dog owners, they were reminded to take a break from time to time, to pause and get out into the fresh air and give them a mental break to counteract any stress.
Fur-ther Things to Think About
Of course, it is important to put some guidance in place to ensure that everyone has clear expectations when it comes to office dogs, that colleagues don’t have allergies and that there is no disturbance to people’s work.
Employers are not obligated to permit a dog friendly office. If you want to bring your dog in with you, you must first obtain your employer’s permission – preferably in writing. But most importantly, you must think about the welfare of the canine colleagues.
The dog should have its own place (a basket or a blanket), which should not be in a noisy or busy place. Fresh water and food should be provided, as should regular walks.
If you’ve not yet considered allowing your team to bring their dogs to work, or situating your business in dog friendly offices, why not give it a go and experience all the advantages that it brings?