With 2020 in hindsight, we can take stock of some of the lessons learned after months of working from home. One of the most pleasant takeaways is how amazing it was to work with our four-legged co-workers. Sure, they sometimes bombed our Zoom meetings or insisted on squeaking their chew toys when we were racing to meet deadlines. But despite these interruptions, working from home taught us that dogs make awesome work partners.
Dog friendly workplaces are becoming more common as companies seek to find innovative ways to increase worker satisfaction and build a strong sense of community amongst their workers. Although it is certainly not the norm in the business world, dog friendly companies are proving that “man’s best friend” may be a valuable business asset.
Here are just a few of the benefits of a dog friendly workplace.
Office Dogs Boost Morale
Here’s the thing about dogs. They think you’re awesome. Whether you are their owner or the guy a few cubicles away with a well-stocked treat jar, they pretty much think you hang the moon. Have a tough client call? Did your last proposal get turned down? Your dog doesn’t care. He thinks you rock. Having a canine cheerleader in your corner has a way of helping you keep the inevitable lows in perspective.
Dog friendly workplaces generally have good morale because the people who work there are simply happier. Dogs are funny and energetic and do not care one bit about office politics. They have an uncanny way of bringing people together and they can help break the ice between co-workers. This leads to better workplace communication and more effective teams.
Dogs in the Workplace Can Help Reduce Stress
Dogs have a way of instantly diffusing negative tension. A few years ago, colleges and universities such as the University of Iowa and the University of Minnesota began experimenting with bringing support animals to campus during finals week. They learned that even a few minutes spent cuddling or playing with an animal had a significant impact on reducing stress and anxiety amongst the student participants.
The “doggie de-stress” effect holds true in offices as well. Pets in the workplace provide temporary distractions that force us to take a step back from our computer monitors. Quick walks with our pets allow a chance to clear our heads and shrug off a bit of stress. Most importantly, canine co-workers provide comfort.
Dog-friendly Workplaces Promote Productivity
Studies have shown that people work harder in dog friendly work environments. The long hours seem to pass more quickly because our pets remind us to take breaks every so often. These breaks usually allow us to get some fresh air and a chance to re-charge our batteries.
Dogs Encourage a Healthier Lifestyle in the Office
Dog-friendly offices make it easier for employees to adopt a dog, thus encouraging pet ownership. According to the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI), this leads to better health, fewer trips to the doctor, and generates $419 million in related healthcare savings.
Dog-friendly Offices Improve Employee Retention
Nearly 40 percent of the national job turnover rate is due to workplace stress. Therefore it stands to reason that less stressful work environments help businesses retain their best and brightest employees. Furthermore, stress leads to illness and a greater number of sick days. Stress-reducing measures such as dog friendly policies can go a long way toward improving employee retention.
Dog-friendly offices appear more attractive to potential employees
Happy, healthy workplace environments attract the most desirable candidates. Your employees don’t need slides, foosball tables, and themed meeting rooms to have an enjoyable work experience. Create a positive culture and your company will benefit from a positive buzz amongst job seekers. Dogs in the office may be a bit out of the ordinary, but it really comes down to a pretty basic principle. Animals create a sense of calm and happiness to the humans around them. If you can bring that to your office by allowing your employees to bring their beloved dogs to work, you are well on your way toward establishing a workplace culture your employees will go mutts about.