Dogs in the Office
Gayleen and I own two toy poodles, Cherie and Dotti, that are very dear to our hearts. For one reason or another, Cherie and Dotti have spent some considerable time in our office in Grafton Street in Cairns. Their main desire is to be wherever we are; they love being with us.
It was soon obvious that our staff in Precruitment also liked having Cherie and Dotti in and about the office. Lots of pats and games on occasions generating a fun environment in the workplace.
In recent times we have seen in our community the introduction of dogs into workplaces and institutions such as hospitals, aged care facilities and schools. And have you noticed that it is now commonplace for dogs to accompany their owners into restaurants and indeed some hotels. These changes in the acceptance of dogs in such places would not have even been contemplated 10 or 15 years ago. Why the change?
So, I thought I should do some research on dogs in the workplace. Very quickly I found that there has indeed been much research into the beneficial aspects of having pets, especially dogs, in the workplace. Just Google “Dogs in the workplace” and you will see what I mean. Most of the research is American but some is Australian. Jetpets is an Australian company and is the leading pet transportation company. Their research is appropriate to our country so I have quoted from their work in the following article.
The six perks of having a pet-friendly workplace.
- Lower Stress Levels
Whether you’re rushing to meet a deadline or preparing for an important meeting, high-pressure situations at work are inevitable and can leave you feeling strung out. And if you’re a parent to a furbaby, you’ll know there’s no better feeling than coming home after a long day and being welcomed by their adorable, happy faces. But anecdotal evidence aside, scientific studies have also proven the stress-relieving advantages of having a furry sidekick at the workplace, fur real.
According to a 2012 study conducted by the Virginia Commonwealth University, employees who brought their dogs to work showed lower stress hormone levels when compared to those who didn’t. To further substantiate this finding, the group with dogs also showed significantly higher stress levels on days when the dogs weren’t around.
Having pets at work can help employees take a breather when they need to, whether it’s taking a few minutes to stroke the office cat or taking the dog for a quick walk around the block to let off steam and clear headspace.
- More Happiness, Improved Morale
Who let the dogs in? We did! Furbaby Fridays are always a weekly highlight at Jetpets. Ned the attention-loving daschund, Billy the handsome groodle, Bambi the cheeky spoodle and Blume the adorable exotic long-haired kitten, are just a few of the many beloved furbabies that make Fridays at Jetpets that much better. From laughing at their silly antics to stealing a few cuddles, the office atmosphere is always more light-hearted and relaxed.
Maria-Jose Enders, an expert in human and animal relationships at Open University, told the Business Insider “it’s definitely good for the work atmosphere to have a dog in the office, not only does your cortisol level drop when you stroke a dog; you also produce more of the hormone oxytocin, which makes you feel more relaxed and happy.”
Having wagging tails around the office has proven to boost morale and increase happiness levels amongst employees.
- Boosts Productivity
While you might think that having an office full of goofy fluffballs can get distracting, a pet-friendly workplace can also help to improve productivity levels. The presence of our four-legged best friends can help diffuse tension and provide support when stress levels are high.
On long workdays where the temptation to zone out is lingering or you’re struggling to keep focused with so many tasks at bay, a few quick pats or a little cuddle for extra comfort is a quick and easy way to rejuvenate before jumping back into it.
- Encourages Employee Interaction and Collaboration
Pets can also be an excellent icebreaker in the workplace, providing employees with an easy conversation starter. Whether it’s chatting about your pup’s favourite treats or training tips, employees may find more common ground to bond over when pets are present.
In turn, this can help employees to improve on their communication skills and facilitate deeper conversations, fostering a stronger team-work mentality. Encouraging collaboration and cooperation amongst employees across departments can significantly harmonise workplaces and create a more welcoming space.
- Improved Mental and Physical Health
Going hand-in-hand with stress-relieving benefits, having pets in the workplace has also shown to reduce blood pressure and decrease anxiety. This not only brings about a plethora of mental and physical health benefits for staff but can also help employers maintain a healthy staff retention rate and operational efficiency with less risk of “burn-outs” and sick days.
Plus, not only are office dogs or cats fun to play or cuddle with, they also provide the perfect motivator to get out of the office for a game of fetch in the park or a brisk walk to enjoy the fresh air.
- Attracts Future Talent
Finally, the benefits to having a pet-friendly workplace isn’t just limited to employees themselves but also to the company’s recruitment efforts. With millennials choosing to wait longer before getting married, buying a house or having kids, it’s no surprise that many are opting to become parents to furbabies rather than “settling down”.
Numerous studies have shown that a dog-friendly office can work in favour of prospective employers, attracting talent pools that place significant value on being able to bring their favourite paw pal to work.
The Banfield Pet Hospital conducted their first ever Pet-Friendly Workplace PAWrometer study, surveying 1,006 employees and 200 Human Resources decision makers (HR DMs) from U.S. companies to explore the impact of pets in the workplace. 65% of job candidates asked about pet-friendly policies while 79% of HR DMs discuss their pet-friendly workplace policies when recruiting employees.
So, there’s your six benefits of having a pet-friendly workplace and we hope if it isn’t already, that your workplace will also open their doors to four-legged friends and discover the bountiful advantages that come with them.