There’s a reason that dogs are man’s best friend, they offer us companionship, unconditional love, even a purpose to get ourselves out of the house sometimes. More importantly, it has been scientifically proven that spending time with our furry friends comes with major benefits to our health.
There are many good things that come from having a dog, and these benefits can perfectly translate into the workplace to create a fun and happy environment that can positively impact your employees’ productivity and wellbeing.
At Browndog, named after a brown dog, we love having our pups in the office, and can definitively say that the rumours are true, their presence certainly brings smiles and joy to the team; and a happy workplace is a workplace that thrives!
So how do dogs positively impact the workplace?
Reducing stress and increasing positivity
Work can be extremely stressful, with looming deadlines, hefty workloads and the constant worry of time running out, it is easy to see how this can negatively impact your mental health and cause employees to feel run-down, tired and worried.
Spending time with pets, especially dogs, has been proven to reduce levels of cortisol within humans. Cortisol is the hormone that we produce when we’re stressed, so by reducing its production, this has an immediate, positive effect on employee health and mental wellbeing.
Not only that, but playing with and caring for dogs also works wonders on our bodies by lowering blood pressure. This can be a key part of improving general health and lowering the risk of potentially life-threatening conditions such as strokes, heart failure and heart attacks.
Giving morale a boost
There is a scientific reason that interacting with dogs makes us laugh and smile. Not only are they extremely cute, and sometimes very funny, but spending time with them actually increases our brain’s production of the happiness hormone oxytocin.
Taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule for a cuddle or a quick game of fetch will have a great effect on productivity as it helps employees to feel more relaxed and positive.
Creating healthier habits
Most of us know that sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time and staring at a screen for many hours a day is not good for our health; and yet most of us are guilty of not taking time out of the day to give our body a chance to stretch, heal and relax.
When it comes to caring for our pets, we seem to make much more of a conscious effort to abide by exercise, feeding and sleeping schedules so that they can be happy and healthy. We understand how important it is for them, and taking time to care for them can also help us to learn to care for ourselves.
Having dogs in the workplace enables employees to take some time to stretch their furry friend’s legs, and their own legs at the same time. This much needed break away from their desks and screens will work wonders for your employees’ health, and encourages them to spend some time in their day in the fresh air.
Ensuring your pet has plenty of fluids will also be a reminder to employees to make sure that they are staying hydrated and providing themselves with the necessary fuel to get through the day.
Offering employee convenience
Finding appropriate day care, dog walkers or boarders can not only prove difficult for employees who are seeking the perfect match for their dog, but it can also be very expensive for them, especially if their job is office based for the majority of the week.
By allowing dogs into the workplace you can relieve employees of the additional stress of making sure their pets are happy and safe throughout the working day. This is another easy way to improve employee wellbeing and happiness.
This can also massively benefit productivity as your employees do not need to add time into their morning routines sorting their dogs’ care, nor will they need to leave early to see their pets or pick them up.
Dogs in the workplace can massively help to ease anxiety and strengthen communication and relationships between employees.
They are the perfect solution to getting employees to engage with each other, whether it be to offer a compliment, or to suggest that a certain canine has been watching the door and may need to go outside. Either way they prove to be a great ice breaker.
Your employees can take a break together to go for a stroll with their dogs, and possibly make arrangements to meet up with each other outside of work. Improving workplace communication will have a positive impact on the work being outputted as employees will feel more confident collaborating and asking each other for help.
Socialising your dogs
Of course, the benefits of having dogs in the workplace are not just great for employees, but also for the dogs themselves. They are sociable creatures by nature; direct descendants of wolves, who are most known for their pack mentality and care towards their families.
Socialised dogs are much happier as they are less likely to feel anxiety, fear or pressure when placed in a busy environment, faced with new people or in contact with other, unfamiliar dogs. The office can be the perfect place for dogs to interact with new smells, people and dogs and provide them with necessary social skills.
We also know that dogs can be very attached to their owners, so spending lots of time away from them can cause them to feel anxious, uncomfortable and agitated. The combination of familiarity and positive enrichment will help them to feel at ease.
Not to mention, a trip to the office provides them with an exciting, full day to keep their minds occupied and improve overall behaviour.
Of course we understand that incorporating dogs into the workplace can bring about some challenges. You need to make sure that you are creating an environment that feels safe and comfortable for your employees, as well as your pups. Here are some of our top tips for creating a safe, happy and productive workplace;
Check with your employees first. Your employees need to be your priority, so it is important that you ask them how they feel about introducing dogs into the office. Some people may have allergies or phobias that make being around dogs an uncomfortable or dangerous situation for them. Think about the possibility of having designated areas where dogs are allowed and be sure to enforce these boundaries.
Have a clear policy. No matter what an owner says, dogs can be unpredictable, especially when faced with new surroundings, people and potentially other dogs. An environment can soon become stressful and intimidating if things go awry, so be sure to have clear rules around behaviour, it may even be wise to have set schedules, days, times or zones for pets.
Create a safe space for the dogs. The working day can be long, so you need to ensure that food, water, treats and enrichment are available to the dogs. This may be helped by telling your employees what they need to provide should they wish to bring their dog into the office. It is also important to think about access to wires and cables, bins, food and potential escape routes. Consider what could be harmful to the dogs and take the necessary precautions.
Be prepared for accidents. It is possible that accidents can happen, and made even more likely due to excitement or uneasiness about the new environment. It helps to be understanding and prepared so that any accidents can be easily dealt with without causing the environment to become unpleasant.
Having a pet-friendly workplace is the perfect way to create a work environment that is fun, productive and happy, as long as you take the necessary precautions to ensure it is safe and comfortable.
Spending time with our faithful companions has been proven to not only increase cognitive abilities, productivity and social interaction, but reduce stress, depression and anxiety both at home and at work.
At Browndog, we can say with confidence that we love having our dogs in the office and we can definitely feel the benefits!