Dogs in the Workplace: Improving Morale and the Bottom Line

It’s no secret that spending some quality time with your dog can help to relieve stress and leave you feeling better. Today, more and more companies continue to get in on those benefits by adopting dog-friendly policies. Championed by tech companies like Google and Amazon, allowing dogs in the workplace is now embraced by businesses that want their workers to enjoy the benefits of this perk.

When a dog-friendly policy is carefully thought out and designed, it can be beneficial for a business. From increasing productivity to helping to recruit desirable employees, having dogs in the workplace can be a strategically positive decision.

Improved Employee Morale

Having dogs in the workplace can improve employee morale, reduce stress, and more. According to a report titled “Dogs in the Workplace: A Review of the Benefits and Potential Challenges,” dogs provide employees with social support, essentially helping to buffer employees from stress. Studies have found that when dogs are present, people have lower stress responses to situations than when dogs are absent.

This is also true of having dogs at work. One study focused on how having dogs nearby affected employees’ stress levels. Employees self-reported their stress several times a day, and the study found that employees who didn’t bring their dogs to work reported higher stress levels than employees who did. When employees who normally brought their dogs to work left them at home, they also experienced increasing levels of stress throughout the day.

The act of spending time or playing with a dog gives employees a way to relieve stress and offers a quick break from work. Having dogs in the office can be enjoyable, and employees don’t have to worry about their dogs being home alone while they’re at work. All of these factors can improve employee morale, and happy employees are beneficial to businesses.

Improved Productivity

Dogs can also help employees to be more productive. The “Dogs in the Workplace” report identified that multiple studies observed changes in employee performance when dogs were present.

One study observed two groups of people performing arithmetic and speech tasks both with and without pets present. The group of people who had pets present during those tasks showed improvements in their tasks, while the group without pets did not show that same improvement in how they performed their tasks. Study participants in the group with pets also had lower heart rates and lower blood pressure.

Dogs may increase employee productivity for any number of reasons. With dogs present, employees are more likely to take short breaks from work, allowing them to return to their tasks refreshed and ready to perform. Dogs can make a work environment more pleasant, so employees are more engaged with and motivated in their work. All of these benefits can amount to increased productivity from happier employees and an improved bottom line for a business.

Increased Social Interaction

Dogs can also promote increased interaction among employees. With dogs to act as a natural icebreaker, employees may find it easier to approach coworkers they don’t yet know. When walking or playing with office dogs, employees who work on separate teams and might not otherwise get to know each other have the chance to interact and engage socially.

In addition to promoting social interaction, having a dog at work also keeps employees in the office for longer hours each day. When employees can bring their dogs to the office, they don’t have to worry about going home or leaving work early to feed their dogs. This means more time and opportunities for employees to interact with other staff in the office.

Dogs as a Recruiting Method

Allowing employees to bring their dogs to work is also a valuable recruiting method. Advertising a pet-friendly office policy on a job description can help to attract talented employees.

Some businesses have taken things one step further, showing their support of pets by offering perks like company-subsidized pet insurance. Other companies may offer a “paw-ternity leave” where employees are granted a certain number of days off when they adopt a new dog. When it comes to recruiting, pet-friendly policies and other perks can give a business an advantage over other businesses that aren’t as pet-friendly.

Creating a Dog-Friendly Workplace

While a dog-friendly workplace may sound ideal for many reasons, welcoming dogs into the workplace needs to be done carefully and strategically. Having dogs in the office can make for some challenges, such as if employees are allergic to or fearful of dogs.

Allowing dogs at work also means increased liability for a business and for the dog owners in case an employee or client is ever bitten by a dog at the office. Businesses considering bringing dogs into the office should discuss this change with their insurance companies to ensure that their policy offers appropriate coverage for potential dog-related incidents. Every business should also have a detailed dog policy to share with employees to help minimize the chance of a bite ever occurring.

While dogs can offer some great benefits, businesses need to take the time to carefully consider how to make this new arrangement work. With a detailed pet policy and careful execution, many businesses can go pet friendly and enjoy the perks of having dogs around the office.

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