Since the start of the pandemic, a staggering 3.2 million households got a pet. According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, there are now 12 million dogs in the UK. With many people planning to make their return to the office soon, we look at the benefits of bringing dogs to work.
A study from Virginia Commonwealth University found that employees who brought their dogs to work experienced lower stress levels. Research proves that simply petting a dog lowers the stress hormone cortisol. Plus, the social interaction between people and dogs actually increases levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Dogs can help support a healthy work/life balance and overall improve mood. And for those worried about leaving their dogs at home for long stretches, especially after spending so much time at home, they’ll experience less anxiety by being able to have them in the office.
There’s evidence to support that dogs in the office can actually increase productivity. Their presence encourages employees to take regular breaks which helps to improve focus. Employees who have their dogs at work tend to be happier which in turn, creates stronger job satisfaction. There may be people in your team that are reluctant or nervous to return to the office, so having their dog there could make this transition a little easier. Plus, happy employees are less likely to be off sick and be more motivated to work hard and stay loyal to your business.
One-fifth of British workplaces allow employees to bring pets into the office, but it’s expected that this will increase as offices become more agile post-lockdown. If you’re going to allow dogs in the office, you’ll want to create some ground rules. Consider drafting a ‘dogs in the workplace policy’ to stop the place from descending into canine chaos! This policy will outline what’s expected of dogs’ behaviour and the responsibilities of the dog owners. Set a limit on the number of dogs allowed in the office on any given day by organising a booking system to manage this. You can download an example policy document online with other rules to keep the peace.
Of course, not all offices are appropriate places for dogs and there may be some challenges at the start. But whatever your office culture is, there are lots of reasons to consider adding a four-legged friend to the team.