Recent office trends have included slides, hammocks, ping pong tables and even beds for employees to recharge with a nap. However, is having a dog in the office taking it too far? Will this benefit employees’ productivity or be a distraction?
Read more about companies with office dogs and the effects of incorporating this furry friend into the workplace:
1. Increases Employee Engagement
Employees at Nestle’s offices in Gatwick reported that having dogs in the office has improved the atmosphere by making it warmer and more sociable. The presence of dogs encourages employees to engage with co-workers from different departments they may never usually speak with unless it is over email. This has resulted in professional relationships being formed with people from all areas of the business and increasing trust amongst co-workers resulting in better collaboration throughout the organisation.
2. Reduces Stress
Work related stress accounts for 35% of ill health and 43% of days lost at work in 2014/2015. A study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that having access to dogs produces a calming influence, boosts morale and reduces stress levels. Interacting with pets increases the release of the hormone oxytocin which reduces stress and decreases the production of the hormone cortisol which causes stress.
3. Increases Productivity
A study by the American Pet Products Manufacturers found that 46 million Americans believed that having pets in the workplace creates a more productive work environment. With dogs decreasing stress levels and boosting morale, it could be argued that happier employees equates to more productive employees. Some employees have also reported they would put in longer hours in the office if their furry-friend could accompany them to work since they wouldn’t need to rush home to attend to them.
However, disruptive, badly behaved dogs could be counterproductive by causing distractions and disruption in the workplace. Companies such as Nestle ensure dogs go through a “pawthorisation” process, evaluating the dogs habits and behaviour before they receive their “passpawt” to the office. This ensures only well trained dogs are welcome into the workplace.
4. Attracts Top Talent
Small businesses find it hard to attract talent when competing with larger organisations with a bigger budget and a better benefits packages. Making the office “dog friendly” could be a way to entice new employees. This could be particularly attractive to millennials (the largest pet owning generation) as the desire to bring pets to work is a growing trend amongst this generation.
5. What about the dog?
It's also important to think about the well-being of the dogs in your office. Is there a lot of green space around for them to run around and spend lots of time outside? If you're working in an urban city where they will have to stay cooped up in a small office, with limited space to explore, it's not very fair on the dog, despite the benefits for the humans in the office.
Furry friends running around the office could bring some noise problems and possible confrontations amongst them, however this can be managed with a vetted process. Ensuring only well-trained dogs are allowed into the office would result in less stressed, more productive employees and a warmer, more sociable feel within the business consequently benefitting the organisation as a whole. Just make sure you also consider the needs of the dogs that would be in your office, before adopting this policy.
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Header Image Source: Kuznetsov Alexey