Bringing your dog to work isn’t just good for his socialization skills – it’s also beneficial to you and your co-workers, and can reduce stress, boost morale, and much more.
When you’re at work, doing your job and collaborating with your coworkers, has it ever occurred to you that there might be something missing? Something that would ease tension and stress, add fun and support to the work environment, and even increase productivity and morale? How about dogs? From corporate boardrooms to small community businesses, many companies are placing more emphasis on job satisfaction, and including dogs in the workplace is proving to be one very successful way to accomplish this.
5 main benefits of bringing dogs to work
Happy, friendly, well-behaved dogs can enhance the well-being of everyone in a work environment, in several ways. They can:
1. Reduce stress
Dogs ease our mindsets and help us manage stress. Studies have shown that reducing anxiety in people on the job can lower their blood pressure and raise their levels of the good-feeling hormone, oxytocin. Many workers who toil away hour after hour can ease their stress simply by talking to a dog. Dogs don’t judge and they always listen!
2. Boost productivity
When a dog’s energy is present in the work environment, the ability to receive inspiration and work smarter somehow becomes more apparent. Creativity flows, difficult projects feel a little more approachable, and the dog’s relaxed and happy nature helps workers rid themselves of worry and get motivated.
3. Offer joy to break time
Everyone needs to step back from their work now and then. Whether it’s lunch break or 15 minutes of relief from thinking too much, having a dog around enhances this down time by offering joy and play. This on its own relieves stress and wonderfully distracts people from tasks that are perplexing or overwhelming them. Once break time is over, your heart feels lighter and your oxytocin levels are higher.
4. Raise morale
Poor workplace morale is one of the biggest contributors to low productivity and employee absenteeism. When dogs share a work environment with us, people feel happier and more relaxed, and are therefore more apt to get along better, and to look forward more to coming to work.
5. Enhance worker wellness
Spiritual, physical, emotional and mental wellness all get a boost from having dogs in the work environment. Their unconditional love and sociability, along with their ability to transform the atmosphere (both inside and out) helps reduce depression and anxiety, and that enhances overall health and well-being.
It’s also good for dogs!
Dogs are incredibly social animals. They need both physical and mental stimulation to thrive and be healthy in their own right. As your responsibility towards your job pulls you away from home, your dog gets left alone for hours at a time, leading to stress and separation anxiety, as well as boredom, depression and destructive behavior. By taking your dog to work with you, however, all that angst is eliminated, plus you don’t have to worry about what’s going on with him while you’re not home.
As someone who took her dog to work for over a year in an advertising agency setting, I can assure you that having him near me with his bed and favorite toy was the ultimate ticket to my job productivity. We took several walking breaks when my mind was on overload; spent our lunchtimes outside in soft grassy play areas; and made new friends in the adjacent offices and building complexes. Having my dog at work not only boosted morale for my immediate officemates, but allowed those in neighboring buildings to reap the benefits of seeing and petting a happy dog during their own breaks.
Before bringing your own dog to work, you first need to determine if your employer is on board, and if your dog is going to be a good fit. Once all the technicalities are ironed out, you can load your best friend into the car each morning knowing that a good day lies ahead for both of you!
“Can my dog come to work with me?”
The first step is to consult with your employer to determine if dogs are even allowed in your workplace. Depending on where you work, it may not even be possible. Most restaurants and grocery stores, for example, won’t allow dogs, and many factory settings would be too noisy or even unsafe for a canine companion. Building code requirements may also be a barrier.
If the work environment is conducive to dogs, however, and your employer is on board, you next need to determine if your dog is going to be a good fit for “joining the staff”. You need to consider a number of factors, including his breed, age, health, behavior, and how well he gets along with people – and other dogs. Here are some things to take into account prior to letting your canine companion join you at work:
- What is his breed and size? If your employer has codes regarding dogs in the workplace, it could be that they will only allow smaller dogs. The same applies to building management regulations.
- Is he trained, well-behaved and properly socialized? Your dog should be well-trained (including house-trained!) and able to obey your requests despite distractions. He will need to be able to get on well with other people – and other dogs, if you have co-workers who also bring their dogs to work. A dog that’s anxious, aggressive, jumps up on people (if he’s large), barks incessantly, or threatens other dogs is not a good fit.
- Do your co-workers like dogs? It’s a fact that not everyone likes dogs. Some people are even afraid of them, while others may be allergic. You have to take the comfort and well-being of your co-workers into consideration before bringing your dog to work with you.
- Is your dog still a puppy? A puppy in the workplace is a whole different animal, so to speak. You certainly don’t want to leave your little one at home in a crate all day, but an active puppy who is not yet completely trained might disrupt the working environment. Keep in mind that puppies need lots of attention, training, and frequent potty breaks. It might be preferable to leave your pup at home with someone who can give him the attention he needs, until he’s mature enough to meld into your workplace environment.
- Is he a senior? If your dog is older, think about how comfortable he may or may not be in your work environment. A lot of stairs might be an issue for an older arthritic dog, while vision problems can make it more difficult for him to navigate around unfamiliar settings.
- Is he healthy? It should go without saying that any dog with an infectious disease should be kept away from other dogs until he is no longer contagious. If your dog has other health issues, again consider his level of comfort in your work environment.