The workplace can often be fast-paced and intense, with significant numbers admitting that they often feel tense and stressed while at work. For this reason, many office spaces have relaxed the rules when it comes to taking our furry four-legged friends to work, to de-stress employees and make the workspace feel friendlier. Plenty of companies now allow dogs at work – so long as they are well-trained and don’t make too much noise. With Bring Your Dog to Work Day on Friday 21st June this year, James Wellbeloved looks at the benefits of office dogs…
The history of dogs and humans is a tale as old as time. For many thousands of years, dogs have lived and worked alongside us, from helping us with everyday tasks and hunting, to eventually becoming much-loved family members and our best friends. With this rich history, there’s no wonder we find dogs to be a source of comfort and emotional support. Thanks to this incredibly close bond, we now consider it normal to take our best friends everywhere we go, including work. In the modern workplace, the presence of pets, namely dogs, is becoming more common, with many companies introducing Dogs at Work policies.
The benefits of having a dog around at work are numerous. Firstly, dogs have been shown to reduce stress and boost mood – so if tensions in your office are high, chances are the introduction of a dog will alleviate stress and encourage people to relax more. Dogs can also sense negative emotions, bring comfort and reduce loneliness – all great reasons to introduce them to the workplace. Owning a dog is also beneficial to our health. While daily exercise with your dog will reduce the likelihood of heart disease and high cholesterol, stroking dogs and spending quality time with them has been shown to reduce blood pressure. As dogs are sociable animals, their presence in the workplace creates a friendlier atmosphere. Further, employees with dogs will likely encourage more people to take a break, which is good for productivity. Finally, dogs make socialising easier – if you have a dog, people are more likely to approach you to chat about your pet. So, if you are shy or find social interaction difficult, bringing your dog along to act as a natural go-between will make it easier for you to talk to people. Aside from creating a happier, more relaxed environment for current employees, allowing dogs at work will likely be an attractive prospect for potential future employees as it demonstrates a forward thinking and progressive mindset.
The most important thing when it comes to office dogs is good training. Untrained, noisy dogs are likely to cause more bad than good – no one wants a dog barking constantly while they’re trying to make phone calls, or treading in something unmentionable on the way to the printer. If you want to take your dog to work, it is vital that they understand basic commands, including Sit (LINK) and Stay. They must also be fully toilet trained – you should take them outside for toilet breaks a few times a day and for a proper walk at lunch in order to avoid accidents. However, certain breeds of dog are more vocal than others, so if your dog is particularly yappy, it’s probably best to leave them at home. Similarly, dogs who don’t get on with other dogs, or indeed, people, will not make the best workmates. Just as human employees take a lunch break, your dog will also need some food during the long work day. However, make sure to keep any food or water bowls safely out of the way – your employees won’t thank you if they are constantly tripping over dog accessories. So, if you’re a dog lover, or own your own dog, why not suggest that your company participate in this year’s Bring Your Dog to Work Day? The event will be raising money for All Dogs Matter and Animals Asia.