8 Reasons to Have an Office Dog
Dog owners look forward to coming home from work and being greeted by their furry friends. However, some employees don’t have to wait for that affection.
Some offices have adopted dogs. They may not be on the payroll, but they pull their weight. Dogs bring a lot more than wagging tails to the workplace.
Job stress leads to absenteeism, burnout and low morale. An office dog, with its silly grin and lolling tongue, goes a long way to counter anxiety.
Science even says so. A 2012 study at Virginia Commonwealth University indicates that workers are calmer and more satisfied with dogs around.
It’s not only employees who benefit: More harmonious environments come at very little cost to businesses. Put out a bowl of dog treats and you’re pretty much good to go.
At Central Michigan University, science also gets behind dogs in the workplace. Researchers found that dogs enhance office teamwork.
When asked to brainstorm and agree on an idea, workers collaborated better if a dog was present. They felt their teams were stronger and closer. Levels of trust were high.
In another experiment, co-workers faced a hypothetical criminal situation. Researchers asked participants to betray their theoretical co-conspirators. The presence of a dog made people less likely to ‘fess up.
The dogs weren’t really encouraging office corruption. The study actually suggests that workers feel more connected to each other when a dog is part of the crew.
Dogs don’t just make life better for employees. They also charm the pants off visitors, clients, customers and vendors.
With a dog wandering the office, the place seems friendlier and the staff more approachable. The pup is an immediate icebreaker, which relaxes the atmosphere. It’s a surprisingly human touch in the business world.
A dog-friendly setting also makes an impact during recruitment efforts. Employment interviews are memorable. The office dog sniffs an interviewee’s shoes and declares her acceptable by sitting at her feet for a scratch. How could anyone say no to that kind of job offer?
Talk It Out
When you’ve got a dog meandering through the office, sniffing out treats, begging for attention and wagging furiously, workers always have something to talk about. An office dog facilitates communication.
Co-workers who typically won’t converse about anything other than work-related topics – if they talk at all –- are now discussing Rover’s favorite chew toy.
People come out from behind their screens to pet Bailey and good-naturedly argue about the best treats … though everyone knows peanut butter-stuffed marrowbones beat dog biscuits hands down. No matter which side of the goody controversy you come down on, your morale has gone up.
Get More Done
Though dogs in the office encourage more breaks, it ironically results in greater productivity. Sitting at a desk doing the same thing for hours at a time certainly sounds dreary.
It’s also not efficient. The longer you’re just plowing through, the more sluggish you become mentally. You’re more likely to make mistakes. Forgot to carry the 2! Double inputted that last data set!
Taking short breaks refreshes your mind and increases focus. Some workers, though, are reluctant to tear themselves away from their desks, even if it’s good for them. However, it’s hard to resist getting up to pet a puppy or even go out for a quick potty break. By interacting with the office dog, you’ve reset your brain and gotten your face washed with a rough tongue. It’s a two-for-one deal.
Speaking of walks, going out for a jaunt boosts creativity. Employees who are reluctant to get up from their desks might be more willing if they have company, and dogs are great company. Ask a dog to go for a walk, and you have a devoted friend for life. A walk! We’ll have great adventures! We’ll explore new worlds! We’ll conquer new heights! We may even see a squirrel!
Walking breaks do double duty. They not only take care of an office dog’s necessities, but they also get creative juices flowing again when workers are in a rut.
Triple duty: You also get to chase squirrels.
Everyone faces challenging circumstances on the job sometimes. The boss is on your case, your co-workers are dragging their feet, your computer crashes – or all three happen in the same day.
How do you react? Anger? Depression? Worry? Fear? How about love? Dogs have an instinctive way of coming around when you’re feeling low. They look at you with big eyes that say, “I love you. I love you. I love you. Do you love me? Do you? DO YOU???”
You can’t help but pat that furry head, and things get a little better. Give a scratch behind the ears, and the clouds start to pass. A big hug, and you’re ready to take on Goliath.
Rover will be right by your side. Unless there are squirrels nearby.
A basic but vital part of dogs is that they’re fun to be around. It’s hard to take life too seriously with that goofy grin staring you in the face.
You may not want a dog in the Situation Room when the president of the United States is facing a crisis. However, in most other workplaces, a dog’s good cheer is welcome – even under highly stressful circumstances.
Professionals who work with recovering addicts find that dogs help out during challenging times. For a little effort, people get a lot of positive reinforcement in the form of plain old fun.
Make It Work
In 2015, about 8 percent of American businesses allow dogs in the workplace. Chances are, they’re the most relaxed, happy, cooperative and innovative offices around.
How do you add your office to this list? Perhaps begin with Take Your Dog to Work Day.
A dog-friendly setting requires planning. You have to get co-workers on board. Allergies and phobias are just a couple of points to consider.
- Will the office have just one shared pet, or can anyone bring in a dog?
- Is a leash necessary?
- How do you ensure that the animal is well behaved?
- How do you keep people on task?
- Will dogs be allowed everywhere, or are some rooms off-limits?
Perhaps the most difficult question to answer: What do you do about those cat people?