Taking your dog to the office – everything you need to know.

December 8, 2016    Andrew Peers     

A recent study from Central Michigan University claims that dogs in the workplace can build more trust between colleagues and promote collaboration too.

Pet therapy is widely used to help the mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of patients and older people in the UK, so it’s perhaps not surprising that they can offer relaxation and sociability benefits to the workplace too.

Taking pets to work is certainly one of the most innovative examples of workplace wellbeing and the idea has been growing in popularity for some time. There are three clear benefits of having dogs in the workplace:

1. It shows you to be a progressive and modern firm with an understanding of work life balance and one that wants to support the wider needs of its employees. Your decision to allow dogs at work is an expression of your culture and approach to wellbeing.

2. Happy, motivated staff are more likely to give extra discretionary effort to their work – a simple quirky (and free) benefit like this could make a real difference for pet owners who otherwise might have to leave at a set time.

3. It provides different stimulus for the office as a whole and more reason and opportunity for colleagues to talk outside of ‘work’ related tasks.

Assuming colleagues are willing, try taking ‘office dog’ into creative ideas meeting or team catch-ups and see how it affects the atmosphere and team member’s contributions. Who knows, Fido could help your team to see things differently.

More and more landlords are actively supporting the idea with some are providing complementary dog bowls and outside spaces to help make their offices standout. But for pets at work to be a success the onus is on the employer and the dog owners. As part of National Pet Month (April 1st to May 2nd) here are some basic rules to ensure your dog’s welfare in the workplace:

•    Make the pooch feel safe – Dogs can be either territorial or unnerved when in environments.  Take a blanket/their bed so they have their own space and familiarise them with the surroundings.
•    Responsive – If your dog isn’t good at responding to spoken commands it’s probably not suited to a workplace.
•    Sort the basics – Make sure there’s access to water and that you’ve identified somewhere safe and appropriate to walk your pet during lunch and at breaks.
•    Supervise – Don’t let your dog maraud round the office while you’re in a meeting.  If you’re taking it to work make you supervise it at all times.
•    Housetrained – Perhaps an obvious one but no one wants an un-housetrained dog in a professional environment.
•    Active brains – Bored dogs can be destructive dogs, take toys, treats or ‘seek out’ puzzles to keep your dog occupied and you free to concentrate.

To find out more about workplace wellbeing and how to write a wellbeing agenda, download our Workplace Wellbeing whitepaper, which is full of guidance and advice:

WhitepaperDownload-new

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