The pitter-patter of furry feet is becoming a regular feature in the workplace and the word is this makes for a more productive work environment.
We’re asking if there is a true benefit to a furry friend in the office, and can it make for a happier team? We decided it was time to speak to the professionals; and if it’s something you’re considering hopefully we can give you the ammunition to constructively make a case for an office dog!
We spoke to Danny Anderson Fundraising Manager at Support Dogs to gauge their opinion:
So what do the experts say?
“We at Support Dogs know what a huge impact dogs can make. While we train dogs to transform the lives of those affected by autism, epilepsy and disability, the difference they also make to other family members and even our own office staff and volunteers when in training here at our centre is absolutely huge.
Humans and dogs have evolved in parallel over thousands of years, we have similar neurological processes and research has shown the health impact having dogs in our lives; they bring resistance to allergies and illnesses, reduce stress, anxiety and loneliness. Indeed research released only this month, suggests that having a pet dog can lower the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 36%.
In a work environment it is reduction in stress and anxiety that perhaps is the most obvious benefit of having a dog in the workplace. The total distraction from unrelenting deadlines and unforgiving targets that a loving, playful canine companion brings, even just for a few minutes, can be the reboot that you need. At Support Dogs we have our own office dog Nell. Nell is one of our longest serving members of staff, starting almost 14 years ago. She joined us from a rescue centre and was originally training to become a support dog. However she was better suited to a quieter life and captured the heart of our Chief Executive Rita Howson who took her on as her own pet. Although she is now at the grand old age of 15 she is always there to raise a smile or give comfort when you need her most.”
If you think your dog has what it takes to be an Office Dog then here are some seeds to sow with your colleagues so they can see the benefits:
- Dogs can provide you with a natural break from your screen and encourage people not to remain seated for the entire working day – you could even have a rota for walks in lunch hours.
- Playing with a dog increases levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decreases the production of the stress hormone cortisol – who wouldn’t want a stress free office?!
- Having a dog can improve job satisfaction boosting morale and employee performance, and believe it or not it makes people want to work longer hours.
Is it for everyone?
Admittedly dogs aren’t for everyone and some people have genuine fears, even allergies, or maybe they just don’t like dogs – one thing’s for sure it should be a team decision to have one in your office. We’ve heard of some businesses being quite literally ‘hounded’ by neighbouring businesses howling hounds. So we guess there are some house rules to consider if you have an office dog or are thinking of one:
- If you work in a shared workspace consider whether your dog is well trained as if you have a noisy barking dog then this may not be welcomed by your business neighbours.
- Before you commit to an office dog check the rules of your building as not all work spaces are open to it.
- In order to avoid divides in your office, make sure you consider everyone’s views and maybe bring in your dog part-time initially to get people used to their new colleague and then build up the time they spend in the office.
What about the dog?
We can only imagine for a dog being loved and fussed all day – as oppose to being home alone waiting for the dog walker, or looking out of the window pining for your owner to return – is surely a more preferable way to spend your day. For an office dog social interaction is great for their own development and is as vital as a regular walk. Surely it’s a winner for a dog plus you’ll save on dog walking bills.
If you have already have an office dog make sure you sign up and enter them into our BM Office Pet Pin Up competition – if your team pooch is a winner then they could feature in our 2018 calendar.