It’s estimated that around one in five companies in the United States allow pets in the workplace, with big companies like Google and Amazon leading the way as they seek the benefits of it. Many employers are still skeptical about the idea of dogs running around their office, but research is consistently showing that it improves the overall productivity and morale of employees as they feel less stressed, have better communication, and tend to be more active. So, maybe it’s time to make your workplace pet-friendly.
According to the American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers feel stressed on the job. Stress is such a common part of work that it’s almost becoming the norm, but it’s not productive for employees or employers. One study studied stress levels between groups of people who brought dogs with them to work in comparison to those who didn’t and found that stress levels declined over the day when dogs were there, yet stress levels increased for the pet-free groups. They even found that on days when workers from the dog group didn’t bring their dogs with them, stress levels increased and mirrored the control groups, showing the direct effect dogs have on stress levels at work.
Better communication and socialization for pups
Almost everyone loves dogs and seeing them at work for the first time can be hugely exciting. Dogs create an instant shared interest and help to start conversations between everyone. This can be beneficial for opening up lines of communication between people who usually keep to themselves or may seem difficult to approach. A workplace with better communication tends to be a more productive and inclusive environment, which helps to boost morale. It’s also great for the dogs to be able to socialize with other people and have some company, rather than sitting at home alone all day.
Depending on the dog, they need between 20 minutes to 2 hours of exercise a day, which can be really difficult to fit into busy work schedules. Dogs in the workplace need to take regular breaks to stretch their legs and relieve their bladder, which makes their owners more active. These regular little breaks also help employees to come back refreshed and thinking clearer. Research from the BMC Public Health found that dog owners walk an average of 22 minutes more a day compared to dog-less people. This also means that 87% of dog owners meet the World Health Organization’s exercise guidelines of 150 minutes a week, compared to 47% of non-dog owners. Overall, this increased activity means employees with dogs are healthier, resulting in less sick days and increased productivity.
In June 2019 the annual ‘Take Your Dog To Work Day’ takes place, which is an ideal time to let employees bring their pups with them for the day and see how it improves the work environment. You’ll more than likely make your workplace dog-friendly when you see how much happier and more productive employees are.