- Pets in the workplace can make employees happier and increase productivity, team morale, and employee retention while decreasing stress and absence.
- The more policies there are at a place of work that make the work environment a more welcoming and relaxed place, the less likely organizations are to have people who want to leave.
- Thomas Woods from Perfect Dog Breeds shares five scientifically backed reasons why organizations should allow employees to bring their four-legged friends to work.
This article was written by Thomas Wood. Thomas Wood is the owner of Perfect Dog Breeds, a business he set up to educate people about the importance of caring for and training dogs correctly.
Thomas Woods, owner of Perfect Dog Breeds believes that trained and well behaved dogs should be allowed in most workplaces. He has noted a huge difference in his own business since allowing employees to bring their dogs with them.
An annual survey carried out by the Society of Human Resource Management’s Employee Benefits, notes that there has been an increasing rise over the last 5 years of business that allow their staff to bring their dogs to work.
Here are five scientifically backed reasons why bringing our four-legged friends into the workplace is a great idea.
1. Dogs Reduce Stress
Introducing a pet policy that allows your staff to bring their animals with them to work can help to decrease stress in the workplace. This applies to all employees working in the office, not just the one who brought their dog to work.
Deakin University carried out some research into the effect of nature and living things in the workspace and they found that ‘contact with nature may provide an effective population-wide strategy in the prevention of mental ill health’.
Furthermore, petting a dog for just ten minutes can help reduce stress, according to a study carried out by Washington State University. When you cuddle or stroke a dog, our bodies release oxytocin which is a stress-reducing hormone.
Similarly, researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University studied three groups of employees – one who brought their dogs to work with them, another who left their dogs at home and one more who didn’t own a dog. They found that the group who brought their dogs to work stayed considerably less stressed than those who left their dogs at home.
2. Dogs Increase Teamwork and Morale
Group behavior in a setting where a dog is present is more ‘cooperative, comfortable, friendly, active enthusiastic and attentive’, found researchers at Central Michigan University.
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Dogs have a fantastic way of lightening the mood in any situation and making people smile, which can therefore increase morale in the workplace. Moreover, a significant percentage of people like dogs, and dogs in the workplace can act as an icebreaker, encouraging more interaction among employees and enhancing teamwork.
3. Dogs Encourage Regular Breaks
Bringing a dog to work will mean you’ll need to take regular breaks to take them out for a walk or give them food. While this might seem counterproductive and distracting, taking regular breaks is necessary for people to perform optimally.
Going out for a walk can help people clear their mind while getting some physical activity. Physical activity is great in terms of staying active, but it also boosts brain power.
4. Dogs Increase Productivity
With the regular breaks, comes an increased level of productivity.
Studies show than spending too much time on one project can actually decrease productivity. Therefore, when people take short breaks, they come back feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the project again.
This study found that ‘pets remind people to pause and step back from whatever they are involved in. Short walks, a little playtime, and temporary distractions allow mental breaks so as not to overwork and become stressed.’
5. Dogs Increase Employee Retention and Decrease Absences
The more policies there are at a place of work that aim to make the work environment a more welcoming and relaxed place, the less likely you are to have people who want to leave.
Allowing your employees to bring their pets to work will make them feel valued, which will in turn translate into loyalty and better talent retention numbers.
A study carried out on employee retention and job satisfaction found that ‘the first benefit of employee satisfaction is that individuals hardly think of leaving their current jobs.’
The less stressed a person is in their job role, the less likely they are to be absent too, and given then dogs decrease stress – this can be a major benefit to employers.
How to Implement Pet Policies in Coworking Spaces
It can be tricky trying to implement a new policy in a coworking space where lots of different companies and individuals work.
To make this work, you will need to ensure that there is a robust policy in place if you want to allow dogs into the workspace.
Consider these points when creating a pet policy for your shared workspace:
- All dogs need to be well trained.
- They might need to pass some type of test to check that they are suited to the workplace.
- Allow for a few dog free areas for those people who don’t like dogs or are allergic.
- Consider any health and safety hazards for allowing pets in the workplace.