Dogs in the Workplace? The Benefits Might Surprise You!
September 12, 2014 | Staffing Blog
Head into many businesses these days and you’ll be welcomed by more than a receptionist. You might find the office greeter has four legs and a wet nose as more and more companies allow dogs in the workplace.
Tech and software development companies along with marketing firms and, of course, veterinarian offices commonly allow dogs. You might even find a dog or two at your real estate agent or accountant’s office or in another workplace environment where dogs can break up a long day at work. And doesn’t every independent bookstore have a cat (pretty sure that’s a requirement)?
According to this article published in USA Today, 17% of working adults reported in 2008 that their companies allowed dogs at work. Another study in 2012 found workers brought their dogs to work with them 22 times that year, compared to 17 times in 2008.
Allowing dogs at work can be a definite company perk. Most people consider their dog a member of the family so they enjoy sharing their workday with a beloved companion. In workplaces where employees work long hours, they don’t have to worry about hiring a pet sitter or rushing home at lunchtime to take Fido outside.
And companies shouldn’t ignore the well-documented health benefits of having pets nearby. We all know the risks of spending countless hours sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen. Having a dog at work forces employee to move around and go outside for even a few minutes of fresh air and a mental break.
Plus, pets are great for reducing stress and giving workers a chance to decompress. After a stressful meeting, while working on an intense project or before dealing with a difficult client, it’s amazing what 5 minutes petting a dog will do for you. Dogs are always so full of life and fun that you can’t help but catch their happy spirit.
Check out this CNN Health article that highlights five great health benefits of pets.
Of course, not every workplace can have dogs. Restaurants, medical facilities and factories certainly aren’t suited for pets, but if you have an office environment where pets would be safe and welcome, consider allowing your employees to bring their pets to the office.
A few tips:
- Create a pet policy so employees understand their pets must be well-behaved and quiet. You might also set some guidelines on whether certain areas of the office are off limits to pets (the breakroom or kitchen, for example).
- Allow only one pet per person and require owners bring a leash, water dish and a bed/toys.
- Poll your staff on their preference and find out if anyone has allergies or a fear of dogs.
- “Charge” employees $1 to bring their dogs to work on certain days and donate the money to a local pet organization.