Time to let the dogs out

Friday 21st June is ‘Bring A Dog To Work Day’. It’s official – the national day for employers to welcome dogs (and their responsible owners !) to the workplace, poop bags at the ready !

A huge success last year, this day highlights the benefits of bringing pets into the workplace and the feeling of calm and relaxation that their presence can evoke.

Scientific research supports the notion that having pets around can substantially reduce staff stress levels in the work environment, while also increasing job satisfaction, improving team co-operation and giving a valuable boost to morale.

Keeping good company

It’s for a very good reason that dogs are known as ‘man’s best friend’.

They are, indeed, the perfect companions. Loving and attentive, they are a great source of social support and are a constant and loyal force.

Dogs actually prefer to be in company and can suffer stress when left for long periods alone – hence why many workers who choose to keep dogs have to make provision for their pets while they work. This can be anything from taking it in turns to work from home, if you are part of a larger household, to hiring a dog walker or even using doggy daycare services.

Bringing dogs into the workplace gives these pets an abundant source of company while providing the owners with a welcome break from sourcing, and paying for, care.

Walkies

And then there’s the exercise benefit.

Having dogs in the office encourages workers to get up, move around and take time out to walk their pooches during breaks. There’s something to be said for having a ‘walking meeting’.

A trend in itself, ‘walking meetings’ or ‘walk and talks’ are exactly as the label describes. They happen outside, so workers benefit from the fresh air and a change in environment, and they allow participants to clear their heads and focus fully on what needs to be discussed, while enjoying the benefits of exercise and getting their step counts up.

Particularly good for brainstorming, ‘walk and talks’ are said to aid creativity and can lead to some great ideas. Having dogs present in the office is an excuse to introduce such informal, outdoor meetings and get your team to embrace walking and talking.

All you need is love…

Petting a dog is proven to reduce stress. It lowers blood pressure, triggers feelings of relaxation and simply makes you feel better. Given that, you might find a correlation between dogs in the office and less sick days…

…Or not

Be mindful that not everyone likes dogs; some individuals may be slightly fearful of certain breeds and others might even by allergic.

If a mixed bag of dogs is allowed onto the premises, they might not even like each other, which could have the opposite effect to what is trying to be achieved, increasing stress levels and causing a general headache.

Prepare and plan accordingly

The best plan is to notify all staff of the intention to honour ‘bring a doggie to work’ day and to check who is happy to be around these furry friends and who would prefer to work remotely on this specific date.

Make sure you know what you are getting on the day. Get the full lowdown on each dog that’s on the invite list so you know what behaviours to expect and how likely these pets are to settle and be integrated.

It’s a great perk and a real positive to introduce, even as a one off, so make sure you’re prepared in order to ensure the day is a success… Doggy treats a must!