It's a fact - with numerous independent studies to back this up - there are many benefits to having a #petfriendly (especially #dogfriendly) work environment.
Pets in the workplace can lower stress and absenteeism, boost morale, increase productivity, improve relationships among co-workers, and even help in promoting team-bonding and team-building.
Competitive Advantage - Recruitment & Retention of Top Talent
Need help making the case to your boss? Allowing pets in the workplace can be a real competitive edge. It’s a fringe benefit / amenity that companies are bringing to the table to recruit employees, especially with respect to millennials.
Recent research by Purina PetCare suggests the presence of a dog makes the workplace more attractive for employees as well, especially millennials.
According to the research, 42% of workers aged 18-34 across the UK enjoy, or would like, a dog-friendly workplace; a quarter of them says that it would make a company more attractive to them.
An October 2017 study of 2,000 UK office workers by Workthere and Savills found that "The younger generation of workers are especially in favour of having a canine companion in the workplace with almost half (43 percent) of respondents aged 18-24 saying that they would be more attracted to a workplace that allowed dogs, with one in five of respondents currently in jobs that allow dogs."
Work Life Balance
Such are the benefits, including in terms of Work-Life Balance, that over a quarter (28%) of working millennials would give up other office perks, such as yoga or gym membership, in exchange for dog-friendly policies.
It's great for your dog too!
Dogs suffer from separation anxiety, some more than others, so being able to bring him/her to work can help overcome this issue.
Dogs are very social animals: socialisation is not only good for them, it's a really important part of their training to ensure they learn how to get along with strangers as well as with other dogs.
The benefits extend to non dog-owners
A study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that - where dogs were present - stress declined over the course of a day for both employees who brought their dog to work as well as for non dog-owners, while it rose for dog owners who left their pups at home and for non dog-owners (in the last two cases, i.e. no dog present, stress levels were significantly higher by the end of the day than was the case for employees who brought their dog to work). This has been further backed up by research carried out by Central Michigan University.
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Some well-known #dogfriendly brands
Dogs are allowed daily inside the offices of Google:
“Google’s affection for our canine friends is an integral facet of our corporate culture,” the company’s code of conduct says.
“We like cats, but we’re a dog company, so as a general rule we feel cats visiting our offices would be fairly stressed out.”
Facebook, Amazon, and Ben & Jerry’s
Amazon even has dog biscuits available at the front desk and dog friendly water fountains scattered throughout the Seattle campus.
At Zynga, which makes Facebook and mobile games, there is roughly one dog for every nine employees.
“Dogs have always been a part of Zynga culture. In fact, the company is named after one of our founder's dogs — an American bull dog named Zinga” explained Colleen McCreary, Chief People Officer.
Zynga also provides dog food and pet insurance for dogs on campus. To top it off they also have a “barking lot” for bathroom breaks.
Through the Pets At Work (PAW) programme, led by Nestlé Purina, Nestlé Gatwick has become the first Nestlé HQ worldwide to become dog friendly.
The programme forms part of Nestlé's Health and Wellbeing agenda, with a recent survey by Purina revealing staff are happier and healthier when able to take their pets to work.
Results also show 47% of 18-24 year-olds surveyed said that they view bringing a pet to work as a work perk.
The survey also identified the following benefits / obstacles:
Top ten benefits pets bring to the workplace
1. Happier and healthier staff (34%)
2. Dogs get to spend more time with their owners (30%)
3. Increased socialisation (28%)
4. Encourage more physical activity (26%)
5. Employees less likely to suffer from depression (20%)
6. Dogs get to socialise with other dogs (18%)
7. Reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels (17%)
8. Increased engagement and motivation (14%)
9. Helps break the ice when talking to senior staff (10%)
10. Helps break the ice when talking to an office crush (9%)
Top five obstacles preventing dog ownership
1. Working hours (58%)
2. Empty home for most of the day – the pet would be alone (51%)
3. It is too expensive to own a dog (28%)
4. Landlord does not allow pets (13%)
5. Social life does not allow for owning a dog e.g. local bars and restaurants (9%)
Thinking of introducing a dog-friendly policy in your workplace?
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home's Senior Canine Behaviourist, Nathalie Ingham, advises following these five steps to ensure they settle in their new environment.
1) Get your pet used to the commute
Many dogs travel perfectly happily on public transport but it's a good idea to introduce your pet to this slowly. Don't jump in at rush hour at first - just as a crowded tube is no fun for you, it can be even more stressful for your dog: travel at quieter times until they're used to it.
2) Exercise your dog before you head into the office
A nice long walk or even a run will tire your pet out and will help him or her relax in the new environment. Of course, your dog will need plenty of toilet breaks and, where possible, a walk over the course of the working day too.
3) Make sure your office is dog-friendly
It's a good idea to use barrier pens or a crate to make sure your pet has his or her own safe area if they feel a little unsettled at first, with some comfortable pillows, blankets, food, and water. This is especially important if there are multiple dogs in one office – make sure they all have their own space and give them some chill-out time too so they don't get overwhelmed by all the new people. Also remember to put any food they shouldn’t be able to get hold of out of reach.
4) Give them time out
Fortunately there's nothing most people love more than playing with puppies, so your dog shouldn't go short on attention. Make sure there are plenty of calm stimulation toys around too to occupy your dog when you're working hard - chews and food toys are a good idea.
5) Introduce them slowly
Even the most relaxed animal can find an office a bit overwhelming at first, so it might be a good idea to take a half day or even come in on your day off, so they can get used to the environment. However, many dogs will really benefit from spending more time with their owner - and it'll certainly make the day go faster for you and your colleagues.
#1 UK City for #dogfriendly workplaces?
Brighton and Hove where 35% companies allow dogs in workplace.
Courtesy @PurinaUK survey Oct 2015
Free downloadable toolkit from Purina Pets At Work Alliance
A free downloadable toolkit is available at Purina's Pets at Work Alliance: