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Part of Western Governors University

June 20, 2019

Business

Why business managers should allow office dogs.

Dog in office

Business managers are constantly finding new ways to improve the workplace. Offices around the globe are changing. Suits and ties, late nights, and fax machines have been replaced with casual dress-codes, work/life balance, and completely digital meetings.

Current business managers, and aspiring business managers alike should educate themselves on the changes that are happening in the business realm. The right education can help you be prepared to meet the needs of employees better, and create a work environment that everyone enjoys.

Today, offices are seeing interesting changes as many top companies invite furry friends to the job. That’s right, dog-friendly companies are becoming more popular as employees push to blur the lines between home and office. Learn why bringing dogs into the office can help improve employee morale and increase productivity for the entire organization.

If you want to become a business leader, you need a mix of the right education and understanding of office trends to best serve your employees.

 

Dog friendly companies.

Amazon, Google, Ben & Jerry’s, Purina. These huge companies aren’t just successful financially; they boast high employee morale and low turnover. Experts agree that part of the reason these companies excel is because they listen to employees and their values, and work to improve productivity and culture in unique ways.

The current way these organizations are working to make their environment better for employees? Allowing furry-friends to spend time with their owners at the office.

It may seem like allowing pets in the office is a bad idea, but the companies mentioned above are just a few that have found that having dog-friendly offices actually benefits the organization as a whole.

This is becoming an increasingly popular trend for organizations as they work to meet employee needs, enhance the office culture, and make employees more excited about work.

For students at WGU, this trend could be reflected as you attend school. Since WGU is completely online, students have the chance to be at home with their pets while doing schoolwork. Could this also be a benefit for these students?

If you’re a business leader, or a student studying to become one, it’s important to know how to help make your environment a great one, and maybe allowing Sparky to come in for the day could help you get there.

 

Benefits of taking your dog to work.

Improve morale and reduce stress.

Organizations that have dog-friendly offices or bring your pet to work day find that there is increased morale and help prevent workplace burnout. In fact, 39% of employees say that having pets in the office would make them happier. When dogs are allowed in the office, employees feel like they are cared about, their needs and wants are met, and that the office is a friendly place.

Similarly, office dogs are proven to reduce stress for employees. Whether it’s your own or a co-workers dog, petting animals is proven to be therapeutic and relaxing. Having plenty of office dogs can help lighten the mood and make everything feel less hectic and chaotic.

Students may also find that having a dog can help reduce the stress of school. Whether you have your own dog, or ask a friend to come by and let you pet their dog, having a dog nearby before a test or while you’re studying can help you reduce your stress.

 

Exercise.

Employees who have dogs in the office take regular exercise breaks to make sure their dogs take walks. This helps them have better morale and a better attitude about their work. Employees who take short breaks from their desks have better physical health in addition to their improved mental health. Physical health also helps increase productivity throughout the day. Overall, having dogs in the office helps employees increase their exercise, and is a benefit for the whole organization.

Students also find that getting enough exercise is crucial for them to perform well academically. Physical health is directly tied to your mental acuity, and a dog is a great way for students to have the push to get the exercise they need.

 

Productivity.

Offices who have pet-friendly policies or bring your pet to work day find that their employees are more productive. Employees don’t have to go home to check on their dog, or let them out in the middle of the day. This saves time and allows employees to feel confident that their dog is doing well, without having to be distracted or leave work.

Employees also say that they would likely be willing to stay longer at the office if their pet was with them. This would greatly increase productivity; if more employees are willing to stay even a bit longer each day and finish up tasks, the ultimate result would be more productive days.

Students may also see increased productivity when they get to do school online from home. When students are able to do their schoolwork, while keeping an eye on and taking care of their pets, they are likely to have increased productivity and focus.

 

Attract and retain employees.

Small perks like allowing dogs in the office are the things that can set your office apart. Workers, especially younger millennial workers, are looking for these subtle things that can help make an office more appealing to them. A dog-friendly policy is certainly likely to help attract employees to your business, and set you above the competition.

Another large issue due to increased job availability is employee retention. Simple policies like a dog-friendly workspace will make employees more hesitant about leaving. If they feel content and happy about perks like these, they aren’t going to be looking for another job that has better perks.

 

Dog close up

Dogs at work concerns.

Distraction.

Distractions at work are a large concern for many offices considering allowing dogs to come to work. Some of the things that are benefits, like getting out to take dogs for walks and being able to pet and play with the animal, can end up being distractors for pet owners and coworkers. Pets can draw crowds of workers who want to be entertained, when they should be working.

While distraction is a concern, the reality is that when pets aren’t at the office, distraction is still an issue. Pet owners either look at cameras to make sure their dog is OK, call the doggy daycare to make sure things are going well, or run home to check on their dog. Offices that have regular allowances of dogs at the office see distractions decrease as the novelty wears off.

 

Health concerns.

Another great concern about dog-friendly offices is health. Some people may have allergies, which would make being at an office filled with dogs a negative experience. Health concerns like this could drive employees away from an office that allows pets.

Similarly, some people have extreme phobias or other health issues that make having dogs around a bad idea. Offices with dog-friendly policies face issues from these employees who want to feel safe and comfortable at work. These health issues are hurdles that offices who want to implement this policy will have to consider carefully.

 

How to have a safe and clean office with dogs.

Dog walking in city

To keep dogs and people safe, most offices find that specific policies need to be put in place by HR managers. These policies are a great way to ensure everyone at the office has positive experiences.

 

Dogs must be vaccinated.

Vaccines are crucial to keep people, and other dogs, safe and healthy. Dogs without their proper vaccines can pose serious health risks to people and other dogs. Requiring up-to-date shot records is a simple way that HR managers can help mitigate risk and make a dog-friendly policy more safe.

 

Dogs cannot be aggressive.

Some dogs can be extremely aggressive, and these kinds of dogs aren’t good candidates to come to the office. HR managers can set up policies to screen dogs and determine if they will be a good fit to come into the office. Letting employees know that mild-mannered, quiet dogs are the ones that will be allowed in the office will set expectations appropriately.

Provide cleaning materials.

If your office is going to set up a dog-friendly policy, cleaning materials are a must. To help reduce mud, spills, and excess hair, the right cleaning materials need to be readily available. When dog owners have access to these materials, they can quickly clean up anything they need to, without a lot of time or worry about causing problems. It keeps the office clean, and helps pet owners be less distracted.

 

Fun perks like dog-friendly offices are increasingly popular as businesses try to set themselves apart from their competition. If you’re a business leader, or have aspirations to become one, it may be a good idea to consider if a dog-friendly office is the right perk for your organization.

 

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