Should dogs be allowed at work?

3 minute read •

March 12, 2019

Culture

The last five years have seen a huge surge in pet-friendly workplaces with our fluffy friend becoming a constant in our everyday work life. A recent study in the US has shown that 43% of employees would like pets in their office, 39% felt that pets at work would increase their productivity and 50% believed it would increase their happiness.

While the idea of an office full of puppies is appealing to the majority, there are clear pros and cons for such a move. Here are our top four reasons for giving the dog a bone:

1. Dogs are a powerful source of social support.

It’s been scientifically proven many, many times that dogs offer humans emotional support just by their presence. For the owner, the companionship can help them reach their full emotional potential in the workplace. Dogs are extremely social beings, therefore, are likely to form similar bonds with other teams members, this shared doggy love creates camaraderie and common interest between teams.

2. Dogs encourage an active lifestyle.

We all know how good exercise and fresh air is to both our mental and physical health. Research has shown that on average, dog owners walk 79% further than non-dog owners.

Employees who bring their dogs to work are likely to get out more often, improving their state of mind and overall productivity.

3. Dogs reduce stress.

Even if your not the pet owner, patting a dog has been proven to reduce stress. The process of patting and stroking a dog reduces your blood pressure and makes you feel calmer. Dogs in the office could help lessen the overall stress of the workplace environment!

4. Employee flexibility

Owning a pet is both a social and monetary responsibility. By allowing pets in the office current pet owners feel their lifestyle is considered and can also save money by not having to pay a dog walker. For those considering owning a dog in the future, they’ll be grateful their employers offer an option to work around their lifestyle.

Now here is the bad news. There are clear reasons why having a pet-friendly policy is just not going to work. Firstly, there is logically considerations such as commercial rental restrictions. Some workplaces require continuous peace and quiet, an environment that isn’t always doggie friendly. Secondly, and most importantly is the general consensus of your workforce – some people have a fear of dogs, an allergy or simply a strong dislike. Considering your current team, and future employees, preferences is really important for ensuring your work environment is people-friendly first! Lastly, pets can be messy, distracting and on occasion destructive. If you are looking to implement a pet-friendly office, putting a policy in place that outlines the limitations and potential scenarios where a pet may not be suitable in the office may be a good idea in the long-term.

If you’re the decision-maker and thinking of allowing pets, or you want to convince your boss, there are a lot of different options on how to support pets at work.

Scheduling a Bring Your Dog to work day is a great option for testing the waters and trialling the benefits, this might be a one off or perhaps a quarterly occasion. If you have a large office you might want to look at a pet rotation, get a team calendar together and let your staff schedule in some one-on-one dog time.

 

Whether you’re for or against, here are Oban and Paddy, our office dogs.

      

 

Author

Lauren Crystal

Scottish digital entrepreneur in Melbourne. Proud MD of Your Creative Agency, co-founder of Hassl. Contributor to The Startup.

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