5 January 2020 posted by Recovery Partners

Last week on the 22nd of June was International Take Your Dog to Work Day! So, before you wonder why employers would allow pets at work,  it turns out that letting employees bring their furry friends to work has real benefits for everyone involved.

Dogs at work are good for mental health                                             

The decision to allow pets in the workplace can significantly benefit employee mental health, particularly through the pets’ ability to reduce stress levels.  Their companion animals tend to remind employees that they need regular breaks, promoting a greater sense of well-being.  Mental breaks are necessary to fight stress and allow for greater clarity of thinking.  And if that isn’t enough, scientific studies have shown that our companion animals can actually lower blood pressure and generally promote a sense of calmness.  Overall pets tend to promote a healthy work-life balance, an important factor in mental wellness.

Workplace Health & Wellbeing Infographic

Better communication and office morale

A high level of stress in the workplace can lead to a negative and tense atmosphere.  Pets’ ability to alleviate this effect can create better office morale.  Pets can encourage more relaxed and congenial communication between co-workers, their sweet and comical behaviour create a reason for laughter and cheerfulness.  The presence of companion animals helps people feel more comfortable and can foster more meaningful interaction and communication between people. 

Pets and productivity

Pets’ ability to reduce stress and tension at work is conducive to better productivity.  People are more likely to take regular and more meaningful mental breaks while their animals are present.  This is a vital contribution to the workplace, as it’s been shown that going too long without a break and working too closely on a task for too long can impede productivity. 

Things to keep in mind for a successful pets at work program:

There are certain things that you have to remember and do if you want to successfully bring pets into the workplace.  These are:

  • The office will need to be pet-proofed and properly prepared. Ensure that high standards of hygiene are upheld at all times.  Failing in this regard may lead to people (and animals) getting sick. 
  • Pets must be well-groomed and be free of fleas and ticks.
  • Pets must be properly vaccinated and free of any contagious illnesses.
  • Make sure that everyone knows each pet’s dietary and training needs.
  • Pets must be properly trained and respectful of people and other animals. Remember that a nervous or poorly trained dog could bite someone, leading to injury and possible legal issues.
  • Everyone must keep an eye on the animals and make sure that each pet is getting enough food. Some animals might try to gobble up the food before the others even realise that it’s there.
  • Employers might need to pay for some of the necessary treats, food, and toys.
  • Employers need to be aware of the possibility of costs related to miscellaneous accidental damage.

There are certain circumstances in which it may not be practicable or possible for you to allow pets at work.  These are:

  • If you have employees with allergies to animals.
  • If you are in an industry where it would not be appropriate or safe to have animals present, such as food, chemicals, medicine, and pharmaceuticals.

Dogs at work: keep an open mind

There’s no question that having dogs at work presents plenty of benefits.  The key for employers is to remember all the responsibilities and other considerations that must be kept in mind.  With all the correct preparations made, your office will be ready to become a friendlier (and more productive) place!

References

“The Benefits of Bringing Pets to Work”, https://appliedpsychologydegree.usc.edu/resources/articles/the-benefits-of-bringing-pets-to-work

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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 www.workcover.nsw.au