Have you recently visited an office that was dog-friendly? Dog-friendly workspaces are becoming increasingly popular and don’t seem to be only a trend. In fact, businesses are finding that allowing employees to bring their dogs to work has many benefits.
These benefits are not only for the employees, though. The business also benefits.
Benefits of Making Your Workplace Office Dog-Friendly
What are the possible benefits of allowing employees to bring their pets to work? Let’s take a look!
1). Improved office morale: bringing pets to work can improve morale in the office. Employees are happier if they don’t have to leave pets alone, untended at home, or leave them in doggie day care while at work. As a result, office quickly becomes a more relaxed place, where employees are happier and more content.
The effect is the overall improvement in employee satisfaction, motivation and productivity. Office morale becomes happier and more productive.
2). Reduction in stress: researchers have found that having pets at work can help reduce employee stress, while increasing productivity. The reasons are clear, but some researchers have pointed out that oxytocin levels increase when an employee is able to bring their dog to work. Oxytocin is a hormone that reduces stress and lowers the body’s cortisol levels (a hormone that’s produced by stress).
Not only does the dog’s presence reduce stress, but dogs can make people smile and laugh, too. Both of which work to reduce stress and ease tension. A dog’s silly antics can quickly create a lighter atmosphere in the office.
3). Improve health: with the reduction of stress and the happiness of having a beloved companion nearby, pets can also work to improve health. Studies have shown that people who have pets have a higher level of well-being.
For instance, dog owners tend to have lower cholesterol and blood pressure, healthier hearts, and are better able to maintain a healthy weight. Some researchers have pointed out that dog-owners are generally more active, and this has a positive effect on health.
It can be argued that having your best friend at work is a great way to improve overall health and well-being.
4). Increases collaboration & work relationships: people tend to bond over pets. Not only are pets conversation starters, but they foster and encourage productive work relationships and increase collaboration and socialization among employees.
Dogs help people feel more comfortable and at ease, even in the workplace. They help create an environment of trust and cooperativeness within groups of employees.
5). Increases productivity and creativity: dogs in the workplace can increase productivity and creativity just by their very presence. As we’ve already seen, employees may feel more at ease and collaborate better with one another. In addition, pet owners feel happier at work with their pets, making them more productive and even creative.
Dogs help employees take short breaks to walk their pet outdoors, which gives them time away from tasks. Researchers have shown short times away can help improve focus and the ability to get the work done. Short breaks stimulate the brain, increasing both focus and productivity.
6). Makes life easier for employees: when they can bring their dogs to work, employees don’t have to worry about leaving their pets home alone or at a kennel. As a result, their lives are made easier logistically by being allowed to bring their pets to work.
7). Increased employee retention: when employees are happy and satisfied at work, there’s a tendency to want to stay at the company, rather than leave for possible greener fields where pets are allowed at work. As a result, the business will have higher employee retention rates.
8). Attract top talent: pet-friendly offices tend to attract talented job applicants, especially among Millennials. Pet-friendly offices are still rare, so job applicants who have pets may be drawn to the company, increasing the pool of job applicants, with the possibility of those applicants being the best available.
Disadvantages of Allowing Dogs in the Office
While letting employees bring their dogs to work has many benefits, there are some disadvantages that come with this policy.
- Not everyone likes dogs: while dogs are a highly popular pet, not everyone likes them. Some people are also highly fearful of dogs. Having to face dogs at their workplace may cause some employees not to enjoy coming to work.
- Pets can be a distraction: dogs in the office can also pose a distraction, rather than increasing productivity. If you like dogs, it may be harder to get back to work when you can pet and play with your colleague’s Labrador!
- Legal and insurance issues: you’ll also have to consider the possible legal and insurance issues posed by allowing dogs in the workplace. For instance, dogs may bite an employee, customer or client. Or an employee could trip over the dog or the dog toy, etc. Who covers damage caused by the dog chewing or otherwise damaging office or business property?
- Health issues: what about people who may be allergic to the dogs? This is a real problem and should be addressed for those who could become ill around these lovable pets.
- Property issues: if you rent office space, you’ll have to check to see if the lease agreement allows pets on the premises, otherwise you could face trouble from your landlord.
Develop a Dog Policy
If you plan on allowing employees to bring their dogs to the office, it will be necessary to implement a dog policy. Before you develop any pet policy, be sure to check with your landlord to make sure pets are allowed in the building. If they’re allowed, then go ahead and develop a dog policy for your office.
Your dog policy should consider all the disadvantages discussed earlier in this article, and then determine how to address them. It will be necessary to talk with your entire staff before implementing any pet policy. You can even take a vote; only allow dogs in the office if the majority of your employees agree with this policy.
It will also be a good idea to make sure all pets have received all required vaccinations, are treated for fleas, ticks and heartworm, etc. You should also make it a rule that all pets are housebroken. Any dog can have an occasional accident, but you don’t want dogs going anywhere and everywhere.
The pet policy should also include provisions that say dogs must be friendly and well-behaved. Having dog fights at work is anything but pleasant.
You’ll also have to allow potty breaks, so it will be necessary to establish where the dogs are allowed to do their business and how long will be allowed for these breaks.
Another consideration to put into the pet policy is to set up a calendar for who can bring their pets on what days. Many pet owners will jump at the chance to bring their pets to work, but allowing everyone to bring their pets any time could create chaos. Setting up a schedule will give everyone a chance to bring their pets to work.
As you can see, allowing pets at the office has many benefits. However, it will be necessary to develop a pet policy in order to keep everyone happy with the inclusion of at work.