Bringing your dog to work can promote wellbeing and productivity

 In celebration of International Dog Day, we’re digging into some of the perks of bringing your dog to work.

Today – Wednesday, August 26, 2020 – is International Dog Day, the 16th annual day that raises awareness and funds to support dog adoption and the importance of providing rescue dogs with a safe and loving environment. Today is the day to show our furry best friends just how much we love them. If you’re an employer, you could be barking mad to ignore the benefits of a dog-friendly workplace.

So, could a dog really help boost workplace morale, better collaboration, empathy? Research shows that employees and employers can reap big benefits from bringing dogs to work. According to a survey by Banfield Pet Hospital, 7 in 10 employees agree that allowing pets in the workplace has a positive impact on employee morale.

Dog In The Office

dog friendly workplace, dog to work international dog day

Coffee and canines make the workplace go around.

Today, about 9 percent of employers in the U.S. allow employees to take their dogs to work, according to the Society of Human Resource Management – up from 4 percent in 2014. There’s also evidence that dog-friendly workplaces are better able to retain valued employees, as bringing dogs to the office may be seen by employees as part of the benefits package offered by their employer. For example, Amazon’s pet-friendly Seattle HQ which has been dog-friendly from day one, and even has an Amazon building named in the honor of the company’s first pet ‘Rufus.’ More than 6,000 dogs accompany their humans to work every day at Amazon facilities. The e-commerce giant also hosts an annual “Barktoberfest,” on Halloween when 3,000 Amazonians and their families enjoy a pumpkin patch, trick-or-treating from desk to desk with colleagues, and elaborate decorations next to the sphere.

Dogs In The Office

Paws for thought

When done well, a dog-friendly workplace policy can increase employee retention. People are less likely to leave if they can’t find a workplace where they can continue to bring their dog to work. According to Glassdoor, bringing your dog to work offers not only stress relief and work-life balance for dog owners, but also promotes greater collaboration, employee wellness, retention, and recruiting throughout the organization.

Having a ruff day?

A study conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University found that employees who bring their dogs to work accumulate less stress levels throughout the workday reported higher levels of job satisfaction, and had a more positive perception of their company.

The benefits go far beyond reducing stress, Randolph Barker, business professor at VCU and lead author on the study, said. Dog owners who were allowed to bring their furry friends to work reported high perceived organizational support.

Dog At Work

“A lot of workplaces are stressful and tense, so being able to reach down and pet your dog or walk across the hallway and pet someone else’s dog offers an immediate physiological effect that reduces your stress chemicals in your body,” says Jennifer Fearing, an animal protection lobbyist and coauthor of “Dogs at Work: A Practical Guide to Creating Dog-Friendly Workplaces.”

As long as your coworkers are free of allergies and cyanophobia (the fear of dogs), maybe you can make your own company more dog friendly. Or talk to your boss about it by showing them this article. Celebrating International Dog Day could be the perfect way to make your workplace more dog-friendly! 

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Jane Harper
Writer. Human resources expert and consultant. Follow @thehrdigest on Twitter

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