Research shows, having pets at work can reduce stress, unite teams as well as providing a reason for you to get up and stretch your legs. We have an incredible team at Oraco Agency including our amazing office dogs, Willow Winx and Toby. If you’re considering making your office dog or pet friendly, we’ve put together the benefits and challenges to consider.
Before you announce your work as a pooch-friendly space, there are some logistics to consider. We’ve shared some thoughts below based on our own experience with our beautiful office dogs.
Consult your staff: We recommend having a conversation with your team to determine what the consensus is. While most people love dogs – not everyone does. I know – crazy, right!? Seek their thoughts and let them have an opportunity to ask questions.
Allergies: Some people love dogs but unfortunately, they may have allergies. Some allergies are manageable, but others can be more severe. We suggest including this in your staff discussions including when you hire new people.
Consider visitors: If your workplace is the kind of space where clients or the public visit you may want to consider signage or some other way of communicating that you have dogs or pets on your premises.
Create clear guidelines: At Oraco, we’re fortunate to have a small team of less than 10 people. But, even with a small team, it’s not practical for every person to bring their dog to work. I bring my dog to work nearly every day as does Leanne. They have fast become best friends and we all get a lot of joy from watching them interact. Staff have also had the opportunity to also bring their dogs to work and we’ve had some regular visitors at times.
Not all dogs are suited to an office: Some dogs just aren’t suited to an office environment and that’s perfectly okay! You also may not know this until you’ve seen how they behave once they’ve had a chance to be in an office. Essentially, you need to be prepared to go with the flow.
There might be accidents: While it has happened sparingly, we would be lying if we said there hadn’t been a handful of toilet accidents. It’s nearly always only happened in the first few days while the dog is finding their bearings. Again, it’s one of those things you must be prepared for. Have cleaning provisions on hand should the need arise.
Considerations for when there are multiple dogs in the office: If you’re bringing a dog into a workplace where there are other dogs you need to consider the health of the dogs, for example, fleas, parvo, heartworm and so on. Have a discussion with your teammates to determine how you will best manage this.
Stress relief: We all have bad days or challenging tasks at work and in these times of need, the office dogs can act as a morale booster to improve everyone’s mood.
How to make your dog comfortable: Think of your pooch! Make them comfortable by bringing in a bed and a favourite item like a blanket or teddy that will make them feel secure and safe.
How do the staff feel about the office dogs?
While most people love having dogs in the office, we’re sure at times there can be the occasional challenge or frustration just like there is with any other co-worker. But don’t take our word for it, we asked some of our staff what their thoughts are.
“While it can be noisy, I love having the dogs in the office. They make our environment a much happier place and when I’m stuck or having a mental block, patting Tobes or Winxy helps me to reset,” says our Content Writer Ellie.
“We often sit behind our desks for such long periods that it’s also nice to stretch our legs and take them outside for the toilet,” she said.
Our Social Media Co-ordinator Kelsey says “When we’re getting too lost in work, the dogs like to give us a little lick or nudge right when we need it! When the dogs are at work, the atmosphere is much more positive. They keep things lively and give us an opportunity to talk about things beyond our workload.”
Looking for another reason to have office dogs?
Now that we’ve addressed some of our common experiences, we thought it was worth looking at some actual proof that dogs in the office can positively impact your workplace.
In 2018, Purina surveyed 1,019 Australians and found that when pets are present in the workplace:
- 52 per cent of employees reported that they smiled more
- 48 per cent of employees were friendlier
- 44 per cent of employees were more relaxed
- 39 per cent of employees laughed more
While people often assume that dogs may cause a distraction and lead to a loss of productivity, some studies have found the opposite. An experiment conducted at Central Michigan University determined that the presence of a dog in an office can improve office collaboration.
The experiment put together 12 groups of four people – some groups also had a dog.
The groups were tasked with creating a 15 second advertisement for a made-up product. Collaboration was a key component in ensuring the exercise was successful. After the exercise was completed, groups with a dog provided higher marks to their teammates when it comes to trust, team cohesion and intimacy compared to the teams without dogs.
When it comes to questions about productivity, office dogs can help to improve output. They encourage people to take short, regular breaks as well as lunchtime exercise. As a result, a study undertaken by Banfield Pet Hospital identified that 67% of people who took their dogs to work indicated they believed they were more productive as a result. Additionally, people typically realise that taking a dog to work is a treat and as a result, they’re likely to work hard to ensure they maintain that privilege.
So, we’ve discussed at length the benefits of having dogs in the workplace for people, but we thought we should check with an expert! We asked Suzie from The Bow Wow Store what she thinks, “’there are so many benefits to having dogs in workplaces,” says Suzie. “They help to reduce stress, increase productivity, provide a relaxed and enjoyable environment and promote interaction between customers and staff. It is also of great benefit to the dogs themselves because they are exposed to new environmental situations, socialisation is enhanced and issues pertaining to boredom and anxiety are averted. It’s ultimately a win, win!’.
You can tell it means a lot for us to have office dogs. They have become ingrained within our culture, and they provide us all with a lot of joy. If you’re considering dogs in the workplace, go for it, but make sure you consider it carefully beforehand.