Do you know that feeling you get when you walk in the front door after a long day and your four-legged friend is jumping with joy just to see you? Well, can you imagine having that positive aura around you all day while you're working? That’s why we are now seeing more companies welcoming animals into the workplace. Here at Industrial we definitely feel the same way.
Laker is our office dog who can be found sprawled out in the middle of the floor waiting for a belly rub any day of the week. He is a soft-coated Wheaten Terrier who is as gentle and quiet as they come and loves people. Sometimes you'll feel him brush up next to your chair before he lays his fluffy head on your knee to say hello. It’s near impossible to not get a sense of warmth and happiness when this happens.
Let’s take a look at why so many companies now allow dogs in the workplace:
1 - Reduces Stress
Multiple studies have shown that the simple act of petting an animal will increase the serotonin levels in the brain. This means that just one stroke of a dog as you walk to your next meeting can reduce your stress levels. Animals are also loving and adorable, which can provide employees with that warm fuzzy feeling inside.
2- It’s Healthy
Not only is it healthy for you, it’s healthy for your dog! The fact that you will be getting more exercise, fresh air, and have less stress will be beneficial for your overall health. The same goes for your pup. Bringing your dog to work can help them get more accustomed to change, travelling and socializing with people and other dogs. Allowing them to come on your ‘adventure’ to work will excite them and leave them feeling more loved. At home they may only have one person to pet them, but in the workplace they're getting pat on the back every hour from various people. This is great for your dog’s morale.
3- Bonds the Team
Dogs are known to increase communication and the overall bond between staff. When you walk down the street with a dog, it is more than likely that at least one person will stop you to chat about your dog, or comment as they walk by. This is a form of communication that would not happen without the dog in the picture. The same situation applies to the work environment. Having a dog to chat about creates a common ground for team members who may not have much in common, and stimulates conversation. More communication in the workplace means a stronger bond between people which means a stronger company.
4- Increases Productivity
In a workplace that requires creative thinking, problem solving, and technical skills, taking short mental breaks is sure to lead to added productivity. Having a dog in the office requires employees to take sporadic breaks to pet or play with the dog, and take it on quick walks. The idea of taking more breaks seems like it would be counter-productive to getting more accomplished, but the opposite is true. Taking time to step away from the screen or the task at hand can leave you feeling refreshed and energized when you return, making you work more effectively.
5- Boosts Creativity
Having a mind that’s riddled with stress can make it difficult to open up and be creative. A study from Stanford University revealed that walking, as opposed to sitting down, can boost creativity levels by up to 60%. Employees who take office dogs for short walks a few times a day will be more creative then those who sit at their desks all day.
6- Expresses Company Culture
Companies who allow dogs in the workplace tend to be more open and innovative. They are creative thinkers who are open to change and opportunities that could benefit the company. A pet-friendly environment shows your clients what your company is all about—a welcoming and open environment with happy staff.
Points to consider:
Others - It’s crucial to ask people in your workplace how they feel about dogs. Is anyone afraid of or allergic to dogs?
Clients - You should also let your clients know that there will be a dog in the office before they come in for a meeting. If they are uncomfortable with the dog being there then it’s an easy fix to please them, and if they’re okay with it then they'll appreciate that you thought of them and were willing to do things differently to meet their needs.
The Environment - Certain workplace settings like the Industrial office are perfect for dogs, but some settings are not ideal. If you work in a facility that is a factory, a medical centre, food or health store, or deals with harmful chemicals, then it’s probably safer to keep your pet at home.
The Dog - You need to be sure that the environment is right for having a dog, but you also need to be sure the dog is right for the environment. Having a dog that’s not toilet trained will leave you taking breaks that are more stressful then not taking a break at all. A dog that’s overly aggressive, barks constantly, or won’t settle down will be distracting for everyone.
Having an office dog is a simple way to boost morale and improve communication in the workplace. It lets employees take short breaks and get fresh air that will help to stimulate their creativity and increase productivity. It also strengthens the bond between team members. In an agile world that’s constantly evolving to meet our needs, we are likely to see animals becoming a core part of most workplaces in the future.