Working like a Dog: 5 key reasons to embrace Office Dogs

Sandra Smart, Company Director of Octopus Personnel, lists five reasons why your company should introduce office dogs, explaining how a dog can boost staff wellbeing and productivity. Is it time your company supported ‘Bring Your Dog to Work’ Day?

Across the UK, this Friday, 21st June 2019, Managers are being encouraged to allow their staff to bring their dogs to work. The hashtag #BringYourDogToWorkDay will be trending, with photos of dogs sitting on office chairs, having a quick cuppa and at workplace receptions. The intention of making the workplace a more relaxed, productive, enjoyable place through canine companions is a fantastic and proven formula.

The Science behind having a dog-friendly workplace

So what are the benefits of having office dogs? Initial impressions might be of indulging sentimental pet owners, but there is a strong rationale for a dog friendly attitude in the workplace. The body of research evaluating the positives impact of having animals in the office is growing and the benefits appear to be multi-fold. From improving health to strengthening bonds between colleagues, pets can add so much.

Office Dogs Significantly Reduce Stress

In a study from Virginia Commonwealth University, employees who brought their dog to the workplace felt less stressed than employees who left them at home.[1] Dogs also motivate office workers to leave their desks and go outside for a walk. The health benefits of exercise are well documented and, once again, reduce stress.[2] That quick walk at lunchtime allows the brain to reset, and a refreshed mind is much more creative, less stressed and more productive.[3]

Petting a dog has been proven to reduce stress, whether or not you own the office dog. The process of patting and stroking a dog reduces the blood pressure, changes your physiological state into a more relaxed mode, and makes you feel better. So office dogs could help lessen the overall stress of the workplace environment. This is particularly evident in the Octopus office when candidates arrive. Greeted by Molly, they are quickly put at ease, performing better in interviews and quickly gelling with our consultants.

Reduction in Sick Days

Pet ownership generally has been shown to have a number of positive health benefits, including fewer visits to the doctor, lower cholesterol and improved heart health. If you encourage pet ownership amongst your employees by letting them bring their dogs to work, you’re likely to be rewarded by a healthier workforce with fewer sick days. Aren’t office dogs fantastic?

Office Dogs Boost Morale

Findings from a Banfield Pet Hospital survey[4] reveal that workplace dogs are a key to a happy office. “Overwhelmingly, responses indicate that pet-friendly workplaces are viewed as highly positive, boosting morale, contributing to talent retention and providing employers with a competitive edge in the recruitment process,” reads the Banfield Pet Hospital report.

“Survey respondents even report that they believe more people would adopt pets if their companies offered pet-friendly office policies.”

Indeed, Dog Owners who could bring their dog to work report a higher perceived organisational support: the feeling that their employer cares about their development.[5]

Office Dogs Make You the Perfect Employer

‘A Dogs at Work’ policy is often viewed by employees as a valuable employment perk. A recent study showed that over two fifths (43%) of employees would like to see pets allowed in the office, 39% felt that pets at work would increase their productivity, 50% believed it would increase their happiness, and a significant proportion of workers would be prepared to stay at work for longer if pets were allowed to be there with them. A low-cost (or even zero cost) solution to increase employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention.

Some HR directors will invest thousands of dollars a year in training, corporate retreats, or free snacks in the break room to keep employees engaged and onboard. But allowing employees to bring their dogs and cats to work could have the same positive effect as these other pricey perks, but with little to no cost. In fact, 53 percent of employees who worked in pet-free environments said they’d be more likely to stay if they could bring their pets to work.

Office Dogs Improve Communication within the Office

Having an office dog around can trigger social interactions amongst colleagues[6] and a study at Central Michigan University found that dogs improve satisfaction, trust and interaction amongst team members, providing an easy topic of conversation upon which to build. At the dog-friendly New York based office of Etsy, employees say that dogs keep spirits high and help create a better sense of community and connection.[7]

It’s no different in the Octopus Office. Molly is excellent at greeting candidates and clients alike. She is always to be found near the desk of any colleague who is particularly working hard, and brings a calming, sometimes comical, atmosphere to the office which we all enjoy.

Molly is such a big part of our company culture, and the best engagement we get on Social Media always involves Molly. She is just a dog everyone loves![8]

Have I convinced you? What have you got to lose?

There are obviously cons to having an office dog, and a clear Pet Policy, demarcated pet-free zones and well-behaved pets are vital, but the health, well-being and productivity benefits are clear. If you are looking to make a career move, be that to an office with Pets or not, then consider Octopus Personnel.

We have years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, understanding the ever-changing needs of their businesses. Years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role. You can sign up here and call the office on 01747 825568 to arrange an interview.

[1] Barker, Randolph (2012). Preliminary investigation of employee’s dog presence on stress and organizational perceptions

[2] Smith, Jordan (2014). Why you should be Pro Puppy in the Workplace (Hint: Cuteness isn’t the only factor)

[3] Smith, Jordan (2014). Why you should be Pro Puppy in the Workplace (Hint: Cuteness isn’t the only factor)

[4] (2016) Banfield Shares Data on the Positive Impact of Pets in the Workplace 

[5] Biro, Meghan (2017). Who Let the Dogs in? The Benefits of Allowing Pets in the Workplace

[6] McDermott, John (2012) Study: Office Dogs can Reduce Work-Related Stress

[7] Smith, Jordan (2014). Why you should be Pro Puppy in the Workplace (Hint: Cuteness isn’t the only factor)

[8] Popick, Janine (2013). Is your Business going to the Dogs? 


About the author

As soon as you come through the door, it’s my job to meet and greet you and welcome you to the Octopus Office. My specialist skills are relationship building, candidate assessment and fetching. If you are a DTD (Dog Treat Dispenser), you’ll be extremely welcome here! Why not check out my blog to learn more about the benefits of an Office Dog and how to upgrade your DTD skills?