5 reasons to Take Your Dog to Work
It’s National Take Your Dog to Work Day on Friday 25th June.
Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, but most workplaces do not allow pets in the office for concern about mess, noise, distraction and disruption. Understandably, having animals at work is not for everyone. However, there are a few (surprising) benefits you may want to consider before banishing the idea to the doghouse.
“Pets in the office make it feel more like home and less like a fluorescent lit box. A dog humanises the workplace and helps people connect,” says Kelly.
- Enhance mental wellbeing
Indeed, there have been many studies and articles published that support Kelly’s views. A 2017 study researched the effects of dogs on mental health and wellbeing in humans. The study found dog-friendly work environments provide social support to employees and help stress reduction.
Scientific studies have also shown that our companion animals lower blood pressure and generally promote a sense of calmness. Like a puppy playdate at the park, pets promote a healthy work-life balance, an important factor in mental wellness.
- Boost productivity
One of the most surprising benefits of pets in the workplace is the increase of productivity.
How is this possible? Well, dogs tend to remind us they need regular exercise and fresh air. Brain breaks are necessary to reduce stress and allow for clearer thinking.
We all work better when we stress less. Unleashing your dog in the office can help unleash your creative genius.
- Improve communication and relationships
It is a fact you will not get along with everyone, including all your co-workers. Everyone is annoying one way or another, pick your poison. But! Dogs in the office can create common ground for colleagues.
Dogs help many people feel comfortable and can aid in fostering meaningful interaction and communication. The sweet and comical behaviour of animals in the office creates a reason for laughter, joy and jokes. It’s very paws-ible that pets encourage more relaxed and friendly communication between co-workers.
- Increase staff attraction and retention
Many Australians have a furry family member and pet ownership increased significantly during 2020. With some people returning to the office full time, the flexibility and option of bringing their dog to work might be the treat they need stay with a company and continue to grow professionally and personally.
A dog friendly office is also a fantastic drawcard and can help you sniff out a potential employee who is a great cultural fit.
- Pet perspective
Let’s put the shoe on the other foot (or paw), for a moment.
With many of us working from home for the majority of 2020, pets became accustomed to having their humans around. All. The. Time. Literally 24/7.
We know bringing your dog to work can reduce stress in employees, but it also works the same way for your pet. Being around their human instead of home alone reduces loneliness and separation anxiety. Leaving dogs at home all day often means they lack stimulation and become bored, which leads to bad behaviour. In short, bring your dog to the office so they will be a good girl/boy.
But it’s not all treats and walks; before deciding on dogs at work, you need to consider health, safety, legal and cultural sensitivities as well as animal welfare. There are also certain circumstances in which it may not be practicable or possible for pets to be at work. For example, if any employees are allergic to dogs or you work in an industry where it would not be appropriate or safe to have animals present, such as food, chemicals, medicine, and pharmaceuticals.
Kelly understands not all her employees love dogs as much as she does. “If any employee at Recovery Partners is uncomfortable or allergic, that particular office is unable to participate in Bring Your Dog to Work Day. Fortunately, most of our staff get more excited about this day more than our EOFY and Christmas parties.”
There’s no question that having dogs at work presents plenty of benefits. The key for businesses is to remember all the responsibilities and other considerations that must be kept in mind.
Is it time to start hounding your boss and think about pet proofing your office?
If you’re concerned about wellbeing in your workplace, download our signs and symptoms of psychological risk factsheet below.
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/