The Benefits of Having an Office Dog
The Benefits of Having an Office Dog
What was at first ridiculed as an absurd idea, is now a reality for many offices. In the US, dog-friendly workplaces jumped from 4% in 2014 to 11% in 2019, and continue on the rise. Scientific research and comprehensive studies, as well as a ton of anecdotal evidence, suggests an office dog provides many benefits to mental and physical well being, workplace efficiency, and social culture in the office. We’ll be real, it’s not all lollipops and rainbows, so we’ll cover some of the potential cons as well.
Health & Wellness
This 2001 study showed pet ownership can have a positive effect on physical symptoms of stress like high blood pressure as well as psychological fallout from mental distress. A more recent 2017 study observed patients with cognitive disorders in dog-assisted therapy programs, and found a large majority saw “positive effects on health, wellbeing, depression and quality of life for patients… Dog-assisted support had positive effects on stress and mood.”
As demonstrated in the studies above, dogs offer social support and consistent interaction can aid in reducing burnout – all factors that contribute to improving memory and cognitive abilities. After all, for this to work, you will have to convince your boss that a pup in the workplace is actually conducive to office efficiency and quality output.
Morale & Bonding
Especially in a large office where you might only get real face time with a fraction of your co-workers, a dog in the workplace is a great conversation starter. You’ve heard bros (mostly in sitcoms and 2000s teen films, for some reason) talk about how getting a cute dog helped them “get girls”, but bringing your pooch around genuinely is an effective way to make connections and bond with others. Over a quick chat and petting session, it’s easy to sew the seeds of friendship with a coworker and improve the social culture of your workplace.
Fresh Air & Exercise
In the same way many companies utilize standing desks and meetings over coffee at a local café, diversifying the environment of your workplace is a great way to keep employees energized. Sitting at your desk, unmoving, seeing just the walls of your cubicle everyday week in week out, is stimulating for absolutely no one. In general, dogs need to be walked twice a day. A canine office pal is a great way to prompt employees to take a dog walk on their break, or conduct business chat in the open air while getting some exercise.
Save Your Coworkers’ Wallets
Dog-sitting or boarding is not cheap. Some workers may find that after paying for dog-sitting and walking for a full shift, they only just break even with their wage for the day. A manager or boss would always do well to be aware of acute financial stress in their workers, which will never manifest positively in the workplace.
We would be remiss to ignore some possible downsides. Every sun has its clouds, even a cute, well-behaved, fuzzy sun.
If one or more of your colleagues suffers moderate to severe dog allergies, your chances of making your workplace dog-friendly are slim to none. An office dog will most likely be non-negotiable in this case. Give our blog, Navigating Pet Allergies a peek on ways to mitigate allergies when living or working in a pet-friendly space!
Not just any dog can be an office dog. It may seem unfair, but a pooch who isn’t extremely well-trained will not be appropriate for a workplace. Excessive barking, destruction of property through chewing or scratching, or biting would get a four-legged pal quickly sent home and may bring consequences for the owner. Unfavourable bathroom habits are another behavioural risk, potentially damaging office carpets or walls and creating an unpleasant odour. Accidents happen and a rare one would surely be forgiven, but a dog must be totally house-broken if you’re considering unleashing them on your office.
Dog with a Job
Depending on the culture of your workplace, speak to your boss or manager to see if a dog or pet-friendly office could be feasible! It doesn’t have to be pushy, but make sure to mention that, in many cases, office dogs have been known to support a calming and joyful environment that lends itself to increased productivity, energy, and happiness levels in the workplace. Impress your coworkers with these 5 Easy Dog Tricks – this blog will teach you the step-by-step training to make your office pooch a top performer.