It may seem like an implausible claim, but having an office dog could actually be a life-saving workplace initiative, thanks to four-legged friends’ ability to reduce stress-related illness like heart disease and diabetes. Still, how many people do you know work for a company with an office dog?
Of course, not every business can afford to have a “resident” canine, living and sleeping onsite, but an opportunity exists for companies to invite employees to BYO dogs, relieving the company of the responsibility and cost of having a full-time pooch.
Apart from uniting a lonely dog and its owner for most part of the day, having an office dog also enhances the overall atmosphere at work, boosts office morale, improves company culture and reduces workplace absenteeism.
So what are the other benefits?
Since pets are known to help people reduce stress and regulate blood pressure, it is logical to assume that when there’s a dog in the office, employees will be more content, and therefore more productive throughout the working day.
Companies that have already introduced a “bring-your-dog-to-work” policy (like Nestle’s “Pawthorisation” process) have also noticed the atmosphere in the office is friendlier and more sociable, since many employees stop to stroke the dog, sparking a conversation with the owner. This encourages staff to get to know each other better and bond over a mutual love of animals.
Not every company is suitable for a furry friend and not every dog feels comfortable surrounded by new faces in new places. Sometimes the dog’s size can be an issue, since it can easily knock over office furniture or damage expensive equipment, which is why only trained and well-behaved dogs should be given a “Passpawt” to accompany their owners to work.
Dogs who demand a lot of attention and want to play games all day are also likely to be a distraction, which could negatively impact workplace productivity.
Organising the Space
Each dog should have some space where it can relax and wait patiently for people who wish to play with it. That place could also be arranged to accommodate more dogs, keeping the animals entertained when the staff are busy working.
The space should also have ample water, a food bowl and toys for enrichment. Getting those delivered to the office is now easier than ever – when the company places the stationery order, they can also order the necessary dog supplies online and have them delivered direct.
Presenting a company as dog-friendly is one of the cheapest ways to significantly boost its image. Employees and customers are more likely to choose a dog-friendly company over its competitors.
People tend to associate the attitude towards pets with the quality of customer care provided by the company. Knowing how important this aspect of business is, it’s easy to see the benefit of having dogs in the office – and promoting it to external stakeholders!
Office dogs need to be taken outside and walked on a regular basis, which means that the owner (who would probably spend breaks lounging in the lunch room) will use their break to walk their dog, helping ward off those nasty side effects of a sedentary office job. What’s more, colleagues might volunteer to do the same and also establish a healthy lunch time routine.
Having an office pooch is also a great opportunity for people who would love to have a fur baby, but can’t due to family members with allergies, renting restrictions or limited space at home. This way, they can experience all the benefits of having a dog, without the responsibility and vet bills.
So, we can rightfully say that dogs have a positive effect on the health and wellbeing of people in an office environment, and that they improve the public image of a company.
Although you might expect some dogs to steal food from the bin or bark at the printer, such problems can easily be remedied, so that the much greater benefits can be enjoyed… You’d be barking mad to ignore them!
If your workplace is considering a resident pooch, consider scheduling a CleanCare Service once every 6 months to further reduce workplace illness, show staff you’re invested in their health and wellbeing, and position your company as an employer of choice.
Author bio: Claire Adams is a personal and professional development expert who believes that positive attitude is one of the keys to success. You can find her online writing and giving tips about lifestyle and development as a regular contributor to highstylife.com. You can follow Claire on Twitter and Facebook.