The dog-friendly workplace trend has become a creative way to invite all kinds of new ethics into the workforce. And believe it or not, it’s grown increasingly common in today’s business culture. Why wouldn’t it either? Having your best friend to fuel your workday sounds like the ultimate idea for a fun and successful work week! Not only do they make great co-workers, but animal companionship has proven benefits destined to make those 9-5 office days a little less ruff.
As a business owner, initiating workplace perks is a great way to attract millennials. We’ve seen how flexible working hours, on-site amenities, remote work and gym memberships can boost productivity and staff retention. But many entrepreneurs are taking these perks a step further to create a more comfortable environment for their employees through a dog-friendly workplace. Allowing pet owners to bring their best puppy pals into work is one way to make them feel more at home. It’s an incentive that has the potential to change the dynamics of a workplace for the better. Here’s why you should consider it:
1. Increases Productivity, Creativity and Collaboration
Every business owner wants their staff to be more productive and creative. Research has found that taking a breather from your workload increases productivity and creativity. So, what better way to do it by spending some time with your dog or taking them for a quick walk? Staff won’t just come back feeling refreshed and more engaged, but these brief mental breaks will get the creative juices flowing too.
Dogs are also natural people pleasers. As social catalysts and conversation starters in the office, they work wonders in encouraging collaboration among staff. Simply by being, well, cute! This can be fantastic for co-workers to bond and for increasing trust and team cohesion in the office.
2. Boosts Employee Morale and Health
There’s no denying how these furry pals with their contagious energy can make an entire workplace feel great. Providing they’re well-trained, bringing your dog into work can be a good stress relief and ultimately improve one’s mental health. Especially on those long-winded demanding work days.
Just think about how good it feels to come home to your wagging buddy after a stressful day and being smothered in their love. Imagine having that in the office! Dogs are natural mood boosters with calming effects – and all it takes is a few minutes of playtime to lift happiness and lower stress. And if you want to up the physical health too, taking your dog (or borrow a co-worker’s) for a quick walk is the perfect excuse to spend 10 minutes outside in the fresh air.
3. Helps with Staff Retention
The right workplace perks will always benefit staff retention. Throw a playful, loving dog into the mix and what pet owner wouldn’t be swayed by this attractive feature? Regardless of what industry you’re in, employee turnover is a big problem. When you have great staff, you want to do everything in your power to create a comfortable environment where they want to stay. Creating a dog-friendly workplace can contribute to employee loyalty which helps with staff retention.
4. Better Work-Life Balance
Encouraging a better work-life balance is an important perk to offer staff. Whether it’s the freedom to work from home or flexible schedules to cater for outside commitments, business owners are fast recognising that putting an end to traditional workdays comes with bigger benefits.
If staff have the option of bringing their dog to work, there’s less worry about pets being left alone all day. Initiating dog-friendly workplaces can eliminate staff leaving early to rush home to feed or care for their dog and can instead stay longer to complete projects when needed.
Shaping Pet Policies
Before you get excited and bring your furry mate into work, there are pet policies that must be in place to ensure a smooth integration. Although dog-friendly workplaces come with multiple benefits, it can also open the door to interpersonal and legal issues to be wary of. Not every dog is workplace ready and not every employer is going to be on board with the idea, but with a few tips in mind, you can be on your way to creating a dog-friendly office. Before you go ahead, consider the following:
- Have a policy in place to manage any issues: This should outline that dogs must be well-trained through professional dog trainers to assess the pet and make sure they’re suited to the office environment. Dogs should also be friendly to humans and other dogs, be treated for fleas, housebroken, receive frequent breaks and introduced into the workplace slowly.
- Make sure employees understand their responsibilities, including dog-proofing their space, providing all necessary food and drink, and cleaning up after their pet. You may wish to have a rule that no squeaky toys are to be brought in, as they have the potential to distract other staff. Consider having staff sign a waiver to be responsible for any damage to equipment and property.
- Designate dog-free zones and immediately address staff concerns regarding allergies and/or complaints.
- Get everyone involved in the decision-making process!
Some of the biggest companies are taking advantage of dog-friendly workplaces, including, Ben & Jerry’s, Google, Amazon, CottonOn and more! Make your workplace that much better, with the added benefits of man’s best friend to soothe and inspire the working day.
This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who recommends Bark Busters – an award-winning team of specialists that offer home dog training in Perth. Bark Busters’ expert trainers work with you and your best friend to address any obedience and behaviour issues, opening the door to fun and new learning opportunities. You can catch her on Google+.