Experiencing a ruff day? Research has shown that canine colleagues can improve staff wellbeing and productivity in the office.
As we all know there are many domestic benefits to pet ownership. Furry friends have been proven to improve both the physical and mental health of their humans, also increasing fitness and becoming the focal point of new social interactions.
The big question we all have is, how does this translate to a professional environment? We caught up with Kate Davies at Unknown Agency to hear her experience of the growing trend of ‘pet friendly’ office, and to share that it really is the case of ‘mans best friend’.
Many offices across the world have introduced a little pooch to their workplace already – including Google, Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s allowing employees to bring their companions to work, offering water coolers, dog biscuits galore, and even off-lead dog parks for dogs and employees alike to enjoy on their breaks.
What are the possible benefits of allowing employees to bring their pets to work? It’s not only for the employees, the business also thrives on the positives.
Bringing pets to work can help improve morale within the office. Employees are happier if they don’t have to leave their pets alone at home, or have to leave them in a doggy day care while at work. As a result, the office quickly becomes a more relaxed place, where employees seem to be happier and more content. This results in an overall improvement in employee satisfaction, motivation and productivity. The office morale then flourishes in a positive and proactive manner.
Researchers have also found that having a canine colleague at work can help reduce employee stress, whilst increasing productivity. The reasons are clear, researchers have also pointed out that the oxytocin levels increase when an employee is able to bring their dog to work. Oxytocin is a hormone that reduces stress and also lowers the body’s cortisol levels (a hormone that is produced by stress).
Having a dog’s presence within the workplace does not only combat high-stress levels but also makes people smile and laugh too. All of these factors reduce stress and tension. A little pooches silly antics can quickly create a light-hearted atmosphere within the office.
With the effects of lowering stress and tension, this reduction improves health. Again, research has found that dog-owners have a higher level of well-being. For instance, pet owners tend to have lower levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, healthier hearts and are able to maintain a healthy weight. Research suggests that people who have dogs as pets are more active, which of course results in a positive effect on health.
There aren’t many people who don’t have some sort of affinity for animals and pets of some kind. Clients, customers, suppliers, and visitors will have a more positive perception of a business just from hearing about the new policy. If they get to meet some pets on a trip to the office this will increase even further, softening the company’s image, and as things stand make them seem progressive and forward-thinking.
In the same way, allowing pets in the office can be effective at retaining employees, it can also be a great recruitment tool, Despite its increasing popularity it still isn’t a feature that potential recruits expect from companies, so it may tip the scales in that companies favour if a candidate is faced with multiple offers. Also, another factor to take into consideration is retention. Let’s face it, staff turnover can be a nightmare for businesses. Time and money are invested in recruiting new-comers, training provided, only for them to up sticks and leave 6 months down the line. However, a pet friendly company poses a really nice incentive to new and experienced employees, this could truly be the deciding factor between a member of staff seeking greener pastures or sticking around.
Pet-friendly offices also tend to attract talented job applicants, especially among millennials. Pet-friendly offices are still rare, so job applicants who have pets may be drawn to the company, increasing the pool of job applicants, with the possibility of those applicants being the best available.