Research has shown that there are countless benefits to creating a positive office environment. This includes everything from better staff retention, to positive employee brand engagement to reduced stress levels amongst team members and better communication. This all leads to increased productivity as well as efficiency. However, creating a positive workplace environment is not always a simple process. Regardless of the industry, as a multitude of factors can influence the office vibe. Some companies look to improve the office situation with a costly financial investment in the aesthetic appearance of the space. However companies can make simple changes which will have a huge impact at a low cost – one being the introduction of office dogs!
How do office dogs create a positive atmosphere?
Simply put, dogs make people smile. Studies have shown that even very short interactions with our canine friends cause human brains to make good hormones. Stroking and petting a dog can help you release the ‘feel good’ chemicals serotonin and dopamine. These are responsible for feelings of happiness, focus and calm, motivation, and being productive. Staring into a dog’s eyes makes people release oxytocin. This is an important chemical which creates a sense of relaxation, trust and increases empathy. Having some doggie eye contact also reduces the production of the stress and anxiety hormone cortisol. This benefit works both ways, both the human and pooch feel more positive even after short interactions.
Benefits of having office dogs in the workplace
For those who rely on a therapy dog, allowing their canine companion into the office enables them to make a living. If they are not able to have their four legged friend with them their work options may be limited. The benefit to employers is access a greater pool of staffing resources.
Office dogs are a huge ice breaker for new colleagues, visiting clients or the wider team members. There is always something to talk about when there is a dog about. They create instant subject matter for those who find the small talk needed to integrate in the workplace a challenge.
People will often seek out the office pooch if they are in the need for some canine companionship. This allows both them and the dog owner to get to know each other. At Nestle team members claimed that the introduction of pooches meant that they got to know colleagues from different departments so much better. Staff would go and visit other colleagues pups. The interaction helped to break down any barriers and resulted in a better working relationship as they already knew each other.
Work Life Balance
Having office dogs is away of reminding people to maintain a work life balance. Everyone should have sufficient breaks and a walk outside to relax and chill out periodically during the day. However often people don’t if they feel pressured at work, or are just not in the habit of taking a break. This is completely counterproductive. Research has shown that most people are more effective after having some fresh air and a change of scenery. With a dog you are forced (in a good way) to get outside for a little constitutional and to have regular downtime throughout the day for doggie playtime. Dogs are the perfect reminder to others in the office to also take a break and they often also want to be part of the action and join the pup’s walks.
Losing staff is undoubtedly inconvenient and can also reduce productivity by taking up valuable time with recruitment and training new recruits. Introducing office dogs into the workplace creates a positive environment and provides colleagues with a sense that employers care and are considerate towards the needs of their employees. Additionally, allowing dogs in the office reduces some of the costs that dog owning team members may incur. If they can keep their four legged friend with them then they do not need to pay for doggie daycare or dog walkers whilst they are based in the office. This will definitely be an incentive to continue working at an organisation.
Research has found that having office dogs makes people more productive and therefore effective. People communicate better and work in teams more effectively, plus they are refreshed due to taking more frequent breaks. They often have lower stress levels and are more engaged with their teams and company overall.
Setting up the workplace for office dogs
Dogs don’t need much infrastructure so it’s fairly easy to introduce them to the workplace. They just need access to water, somewhere to sleep, somewhere to go for a walk (with dog toilet facilities) and maybe a few toys. However, it is likely that the office will need to be cleaned more regularly. Dogs undoubtably shed hair and may even create some less attractive smells.
Not everyone wants a dog near them when they are at work which needs to be respected and managed. They might be allergic, or scared or simply just not fans of canine of the species. Ideally there needs to be dog free areas and dog owning colleagues need to be considerate to the feelings of others. No assumptions should be made about how people feel about dogs. It is also important that unsuitable dogs are not brought into the workspace. Their presence can be counterproductive to the work environment, if they are a distraction due to unruly behaviour.
Other pets in the workplace
The working environment can also benefit from other creatures. A fish aquarium can be a beautiful addition to any interior design and can create a sense of calm and tranquillity. A cat is also a frequent winner in the workplace, especially if there is any need to deter pesky uninvited rodents. However they do have a tendency to sleep on in-trays, in filing cabinets and keyboards. Other office friendly pets are rabbits and guinea pigs.
Other benefits of having pets in the workplace
Office dogs and other animals make ideal brand ambassadors, especially if your industry is perceived to be less glamorous and not particularly fun or approachable. It is the perfect way to communicate the fun and friendly nature of a companies’ work culture and brands can use social media channels to post about their pets. It is proven that this increases engagement amongst existing and would-be clients and customers as well as encouraging new colleagues to come and work with the company.
Introducing Prophecy Marketing’s workplace pooch
This is Pal, he is a nine year old Cock-alier (Cocker cross Cavalier). His favourite things in life are walks, digging holes and any old tennis ball. He wags his tail all the way into the office and loves to sleep under a desk, only waking up to beg for scraps and have a little cuddle once in a while. ‘He is so happy to come to the office and chill with us.’ Comments his owner Harriett, an Account Director at Prophecy Marketing. ‘He is the perfect office dog as he just sleeps and hoovers up biscuit crumbs. Pal lives for cuddles and is delighted to meet our Clients and join our meetings.’
If you want to pop into the office and meet Pal just contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org