Credit for this article goes to Katlyn Eriksen
More than 25% of employers say that they are happy to have a dog-friendly work policy, and 1 in 4 firms regularly allow pets in the office. The fact is that we are a nation of animal lovers and dogs bring great joy and companionship to our lives. There are some big advantages to having a dog in your office, but there can also be a downside too (least of all getting less work done because you’re too busy making a fuss of the lovely doggy). But should they really be allowed at your workplace?
Dogs help reduce stress
In Britain 59% of the population deal with workplace stress, however, the good news is that dogs can help to reduce this. In 2018 a study of more students at the British University of Columbia found that the impact of therapy dogs on stress was quite profound. All of the participants reported immediate strong benefits included feelings of happiness, an increase in energy levels and a reduction of stress. This has a scientific explanation – stroking a dog releases serotonin and dopamine in the brain, giving us feelings of reward and pleasure. This, in turn, reduces stress and helps us to relax. Staring into the eyes of a dog also releases oxytocin. This is the very same hormone that helps to bond a mother with her baby.
Dogs need mental stimulation
If you are working in an office, it might not be a good idea to have your dog with you all day if you are constantly busy, or have very little break time. Having your dog sitting under your desk for 8 hours isn’t really mentally stimulating enough for them and they could become frustrated, noisy and destructive. If however your work is varied and your dog is allowed to wander around the office freely, then they might be sufficiently entertained and enjoy the new sights and smells. They may even make some new friends. If you take your dog to the office, you could also pack a bag for them containing a couple of dog toys and maybe a feeding puzzle box, or a Kong to keep them amused.
Dogs need exercise
If you are taking your dog to the office, you need to bear in mind that they will need to go out for walkies regularly and may need to go to the toilet. This may not always be convenient to your work schedule, however, no one wants to end up clearing up dog poo from next to the photocopier. Many dog-friendly offices organise walks every lunchtime, for instance, the Anthony Nolan Trust Headquarters in London has allowed staff to bring in their pets for the last couple of years. Ten members of staff bring their canine companions to work and they have group walks every lunch on Hampstead Heath.
As long as other staff members don’t mind, then having a dog in the office can have a calming effect. It will also get you out for some fresh air at lunchtime, which is better for everyone.