Meet your new workmate...Rex!
We may be a little biased but we firmly believe that an office dog offers a real boost to many businesses. But whether you own a company, or you’re trying to persuade your boss to let you bring your pooch into work, there are a number of factors to consider beforehand.
It is well documented that dogs can promote a healthy way of living, from encouraging owners to get out of the house for a daily walk (or run!) to being a loyal and loving companion in times of trouble. Although it might not be noticeable at first, contented and more physically active workers are likely to be more productive and may even take fewer sick days. Sadly, however, not everyone has the kind of lifestyle that is suitable for owning a pet so an office dog could be the next best thing.
The sight of staff members sitting hunched over their desks at lunchtime is a common one. With deadlines looming, many are reluctant to take a break – but walking the dog around the local park might be the perfect way to entice them out into the fresh air. Even a short walk can help people stay trim, improve cardiovascular health and relieve stress.
A good-natured dog will transform the atmosphere in any office, creating natural topics of conversation and improving team morale. Some office dogs even have a place on the company website, or even their own email address, and they can act as an ice-breaker when visitors or clients drop in.
Dog owners know that bringing their best pal to work is a real perk and managers will undoubtedly see this reflected in their motivation and dedication. They may also be less likely to move elsewhere if their canine companion is not welcome, helping employers retain staff.
Although there might be real benefits to having a dog in a workplace there are some important points to bear in mind. It might take time for them to adjust to their new surroundings and even well-behaved dogs might start acting up. It is a good idea to introduce them gradually, perhaps starting with a couple of hours at a time before building up to a full day.
Unfortunately, boisterous puppies or dogs with poor behaviour or social skills may not be suited to a workplace at all. Dogs that disrupt other workers are a definite no so managers could face having a difficult conversation with an employee if it is not working out. Employees too should prepare for the fact that they might need to make alternative arrangements during office hours.
It is important to remember that while the whole office may be clamouring to take the dog for a walk on a sunny day, they may be more reluctant when it’s rainy or they are busy. Ultimately, it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure all of their pet’s needs are met, whether it be a daily walk, toys to keep them entertained or a comfortable place for them to rest.
As difficult as it might be to believe, not all clients will be dog fans and they may suffer allergies or anxiety when they are around them. Always check people are comfortable with dogs and get ready to move them if they are not.
Finally, anyone who is still unsure about the question of office dogs can dip a tow in the water by taking part in this year’s Bring Your Dog to Work Day on 24 June. By taking part you will not only find out if your workplace is suitable for pets but you can also raise workplace morale by raising money for rescue charity All Dogs Matter.