When you see a dog, you can’t help but smile. Their joy for life is infectious. But it’s not just their cute mugs that make you feel that way: research shows that spending time with a canine companion can help relieve stress, boost your mood, and even reduce cholesterol.
With 8.5 million pet dogs in the UK, it’s not surprising that more and more companies are allowing employees to bring their dogs to work. Companies with pet-friendly policies include Nestlé, Build-a-Bear and Pets at Home, where more than 90% of employees have pets. Pets at Home is also currently investigating “pet-ternity” leave, where employees can take time off to settle a new pet into their homes. And this trend will only continue to rise, thanks in part to dog-loving millennials.
So what makes the potential carpet accidents and occasional scuffle worth it?
There’s a scientific reason why dogs can make you feel better when you’re stressed or anxious. Petting a dog increases your levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decreases your production of cortisol, the stress hormone.
In the workplace, dogs not only act as a stress buffer for their owners – they also make the job more satisfying for colleagues who interact with them.
Dog-owning employees often find themselves rushing out the door at the end of the day to get home to their pet. Why make them choose between work and their fur baby?
Allowing dogs in the workplace eliminates that time crunch, making it easier for employees to stay late if they need to. Plus, having their dog with them at the office eliminates the guilt of leaving their dog home alone all day.
Another great side effect of employees taking a break to visit with their neighbour’s cute puppy: more opportunities for collaboration.
Dogs are irresistible ice breakers, paving the way for conversations that might otherwise not take place. A “communicative energiser”, their presence in the office can help boost morale and co-operation and improve work relationships.
Sitting for hours on end at your desk is bad for your health. Taking small breaks throughout the day is a good way to combat long stretches of stillness and can help boost productivity.
Dogs at work encourage frequent, healthy breaks. Whether it’s a lunchtime walk or a moment of play, dogs help employees relax, reset their outlook, and return to work refreshed.
Retention & Recruiting
Turns out pet-friendly policies can also help companies attract talent. In a recent study from the Banfield Pet Hospital in the US, two out of three HR decision makers said that potential candidates often inquire about pet policies in the application process.
And pet-friendly companies are more likely to retain talent: 82% of employees said they feel a greater loyalty to their company as a result of their company’s pet-friendly policy.
Ready to Bring Dogs To Work?
If you’d like to welcome dogs in your workplace, but aren’t ready to commit to a pet-friendly policy, try it out for just one day with the UK’s next national Bring Your Dog to Work Day.
Need some more convincing? Not only does participating in this day benefit your employees’ well-being, productivity and morale (not to mention it’s loads of fun), Bring Your Dog to Work Day also raises money for animal charities. This year, All Dogs Matter, a London-based dog rescue charity, andAnimals Asia, a charity that aims to end a range of abusive animal practices across Asia, were chosen as beneficiaries.
This ‘pawesome’ holiday is also a great way to get employees engaged and tell your company story. Ask employees to post ‘Pooch Selfies’ on social media and your Glassdoor profile to show that you’re a progressive, forward-thinking business that’s not afraid of having a little fun!