There are few feelings greater than the unconditional love of a pet. In fact, many studies have proven that caring for a furry friend has fantastic mental health benefits. It's no surprise, then, that many offices are allowing dogs in the office as part of employee wellbeing. Here, we look at the benefits of a dog-friendly office and how to make it work for everyone in your space.
You don't need to be a scientist to understand the benefits of pet companionship. Simply spending time patting or brushing a pet can reduce stress according to a National Institute of Mental Health study, while providing purpose in routine and caring. Beyond these calming effects, there are other ways that having a dog in the office can help the wellbeing of your staff.
A dog is a great way to spark a conversation, especially people with whom you're not so familiar. As well as being living, breathing subject matter, employees can also connect with each other via pets as a shared interest. As an extra benefit, you may increase your personal social network by scheduling out-of-work play dates if your dog gets along with another.
Additional perks can be fantastic in attracting highly sought after candidates for your company. A pet-friendly workplace is a unique point of difference and will definitely catch a candidates eye in the application process.
Your existing staff will appreciate the leniency, too. Many people struggle with leaving their pets at home during the day and for some their love for their dog impacts their choice of employment. Allowing dog-designated days or a flexible office promotes a positive work-life balance as they won't be worrying about their pet during the day.
The trick to creating a successful, pet-friendly space is ensuring all of your staff are on the same page when it comes to accepting the changes and your expectations. For those in open plan offices, in particular, taking a holistic approach to welcoming dogs into the office means that everyone is onboard with the caring protocol, and those who aren't comfortable with the idea have ways of compromising.
Before you even consider bringing dogs into the office, you need to determine whether there's enough room for both your furry friends and your workers. On one hand, dogs need a quiet zone to retreat to when people become overwhelming. Whether it's a corner with a bed and a food dish, or an under desk mat, room is necessary to make sure they're not cooped up and uncomfortable. The same goes for your employees, too. Your office is first and foremost a place of productivity – if your work rate is compromised by the addition of dogs it might not be a feasible solution.
The needs of your employees are of paramount importance. In some workplaces, there may be people with dog allergies, or who have experienced traumatic experiences with these animals. Making sure there are pet-free spaces means these people have a space to escape to on dog-friendly days. It's a good idea to hold a company-wide meeting to establish a pet-policy that works for everyone, to keep all minds at ease. Points you may lie to include are:
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