Every dog has its day and this year it’s the 23rd of June where companies across the USA will be celebrating Bring Your Dog to Work Day. It’s a day where we honor our furry friends by welcoming them into our work places to celebrate the mutual adoration, love and support between owner and pet. Bring Your Dog to Work Day was started by Pet Sitter's International, with the aim of the to raise money for charities dedicated to the welfare of dogs in local areas. Beyond the novelty of taking your dog to work, a recent collaboration with global giant Nestlé and the BBC claim that dogs are great for stress busting in the office. So, if your company isn’t pet friendly here are a few reasons to consider bending the rules on the 23rd.
There are many benefits to bringing your dog to work. For example a number of scientific studies have found that keeping a dog in the office is an instant stress reliever, which helps to encourage production of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol. As well as this, animals in the work place are excellent for team bonding, working as talking points that bring staff together. If the job you do is particularly sedentary, a dog in the office will help you to keep active as interacting with the dog will get you on your feet and away from your desk for short periods of time. As a bonus short breaks have been found to increase productivity, whilst studies have also shown that employees are more willing to work long hours with a dog in the office. Ultimately, bringing your dog to work improves your work/life balance as it means that you have a little piece of home away from home. This can be both a real comfort and source of joy during a stressful day at the office.
Many dogs suffer daily from separation anxiety, as they are left alone for long stretches of time whilst their owners are at work. This is because dogs are social animals that thrive on interaction, company and affection. Bringing your dog to work means that they would receive all of the attention they desire regularly and without the fees of dog day care. Furthermore, if you struggle to find the time or energy to take your dog for a walk there are plenty of people in the office who would be willing to exercise he/she for you, taking him outdoors on lunch breaks and playing with him. Bringing your dog to work therefore means that your dog would have more time outside and in different environments than if he were just sitting at home. If your dog is a little timid, a day in the office is a great opportunity to get him in the mix with people as well as canine friends, whilst remaining at the comfort of your side. Socializing is extremely important for domestic animals as it ensures that they know how to behave correctly.
In recent years hundreds of companies have jumped on board the pet at work policy, not least of which is Google. Google describes itself as a ‘dog company’ believing that dogs represent fundamental qualities such as loyalty, playfulness and tenacity, which form part of the company ethos. At Amazon, their senior public relations manager is living proof of the bonding that can take place through bringing your dog to work, claiming that he has met over three-dozen people simply because of his dog. At the corporate headquarters of Nestlé in London, all 1000 employees can bring their dogs to work if they so wish, whilst the company Firebox allows all staff members to bring in pets, asserting that the pets have ‘a positive impact on the office … they bring everyone together, and provide almost endless entertainment value.’ Other companies that share this policy include Etsy, Build-A-Bear workshop, Pets at Home and The Blue Cross.
It so seems that companies are really taking advantage of the benefits of bringing your pet to work. But before making this decision for your business, it is worth considering whether a pet policy is conducive to your company. Health and safety may be a factor if you work in a sterile environment, whilst small offices may not have the space for pets.
To make sure that the day is for you, you should ensure that nobody in the workplace has animal allergies. At Nestlé the company operates a ‘Pawthorize’ policy, which means that all dogs must first be assessed before being allowed into the office space. Although this may seem a little extreme for one day, it is still a good idea to ensure that your dog is well trained and able to cope with the exposure that comes with being in an office where there may be a number of people, and possibly a number of other animals. And, make sure you are up to speed on summer time safety for your dog.
If your dog is prone to anxiety or feeling overwhelmed it might not be such a great idea. Also think about whether your dog is toilet trained. Will it go tearing up the office and cause more stress than relief? Are you confident that you can trust your dog to wander freely and socialize in a friendly manner with everyone in the office? If your dog barks or whines for attention all of the time, this could also be a hindrance or distraction.
In conclusion participating in Bring Your Dog to Work Day is great for the animal, office morale and productivity. The furry companions get all the attention their hearts desire, their loving owners have a little slice of home at work and petless staff get their fair share of puppy love. On top of all of the benefits for animals and employees, proceeds generated from participation in the day go towards fighting for better welfare and care for man’s best friend.