Over recent years, it’s become increasingly common to see dogs in the workplace. It’s a huge benefit for anyone who doesn’t like leaving their pet home alone all day. But convenience is only one of the benefits of bringing your dog into work. This was recognised over 20 years ago, when Take Your Dog to Work Day became an annual event in the calendar.
It’s well known that dogs can reduce stress, and boost morale in the workplace. They can also help increase productivity and improve team bonding and communication. But it’s a big change if dogs have never been a part of your office before. So careful consideration is important to ensure the comfort of both dogs and people.
It’s the reason we recently asked tenants to share their thoughts on dogs in the workplace.
Firstly, we’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who completed the survey. Your thoughts and comments have been an important part of our discussions.
When asked whether you’d like to bring a dog into your office space, 70% of you said yes. 24% said no, and a further 6% of respondents left the answer blank.
“I don’t have a dog, but I would be happy to see dogs at The Business Village.”
“I have a dog at home, but it is not an appropriate environment for dogs to be in the workplace as business needs to be kept professional.”
Of those indicating they would like to bring a dog into the workplace, there was a divide in the frequency:
Daily = 32%
Two or three times a week = 19%
Once a week = 13%
Once a month = 36%
Over 50% of you said that dogs in the office would contribute to your sense of job satisfaction. And 49% said that dogs would make it easier and more fun to socialise with co-workers.
“A well behaved dog in the workplace can have a very calming and positive effect on staff.”
But 20% of you had concerns about the risk of allergies, and 11% worried about the risk of injuries. There was also some concern (21%) that dogs in the office could prove to be disruptive and/or destructive.
“As a business providing a relaxing service to clients visiting my treatment room within The Business Village I would be concerned about not just excessive noise, but even occasional barks which would have a detrimental impact on the way in which my clients view my services and the environment they are provided in.”
There were some concerns from tenants who are allergic to, or fearful of dogs. And we received suggestions about guidelines when in common areas or exercising outside.
On balance, many of the comments received were positive towards the idea. And this was regardless of whether the respondent owned a dog or not.
“This would be an incredible benefit to working at The Business Village and will make it even more appealing to existing tenants where it’s already a great space. A FANTASTIC idea.”
Looking at the wider picture, allowing dogs into the workplace is more beneficial than simple owner convenience.
It’s long been known that owning a pet can improve our physical and mental wellbeing. Research suggests that stroking pets can reduce stress hormone levels. And going for a daily walk with your dog is good for physical health too.
But pets can also have a calming effect in the office and lead to a more relaxed workplace environment.
Dogs can reduce stress and anxiety in humans, even when it’s not your own pet. That helps to lower cortisol, heart rate, and blood pressure. In a work setting, it leads to a more enjoyable working environment. This boosts morale and increases job satisfaction.
You may think a dog would be a distraction, but they’re actually great for giving people quick breaks. This helps revitalises energy and increases the capacity for creative thinking. Plus, a happier workplace means employees are less stressed and more productive.
Dogs often make it easier for people who don’t know each other to start conversations. That increased connectivity can encourage collaboration and generate positive feelings towards each other. It also helps to build stronger relationships.
Creating healthy lifestyles
We all know what it’s like to get stuck into work and realise we’ve not moved from the desk for several hours. But this can lead to fatigue and lack of concentration. Having a dog which needs taking outside regularly encourages you to take a short break. And, as a boost, you get some fresh air and a quick stretch of your legs.
Following the results of our tenant survey, the management team have decided to allow dogs into The Business Village from March 16th 2023.
But it’s important to provide the best environment for all our tenants. So, we’ve introduced the following guidelines for dog owners to follow:
Add link to our policies here
We’ve also put together the following tips to help make the experience run smoothly for you, your co-workers, and your dog:
There are some great benefits to bringing your dog to work, but there are also some clear challenges to consider too.
Some severe allergies can be triggered even when not touching a dog. But it’s important to recognise and respect anyone with an allergy, even if it’s not severe. If co-workers are allergic, dog free areas are important or even preventing dogs in your office altogether.
Fear of dogs
As with allergies, dog-owners need to respect when co-workers have a fear or phobia of dogs. This is especially so when it’s a severe phobia.
A boisterous or barking dog can be a huge distraction for co-workers and other tenants. So, it’s important for owners to keep their dog occupied and quiet during work.
Most dogs shed hairs which get left around the office. They’re also prone to fleas and ticks which could affect co-workers. And, whilst most dogs are house-trained, accidents can happen.
Dogs can be a trip hazard and can also bite, especially if feeling threatened. It’s important for owners to keep their dog supervised and be responsible for its behaviour. If a dog is showing signs of distress, it may be happier at home.
Some of the most well-known companies in the world have dog-friendly policies:
We know that dog ownership increased during the pandemic. And many employees are now looking for comfortable work environments which mimic those they created at home.
Creating dog friendly workplaces can help businesses attract and retain employees. And it can help reduce stress, while increasing productivity.
If you’d like to take advantage of our new guidelines, but unsure whether dogs would work in your office, why not give it a go on Take Your Dog to Work Day? This year, it’s on Friday 23rd June 2023.
To chat about bringing your dog into The Business Village, please get in touch with our reception team or to register your expression of interest send us an email on the button below.