The dog is not only man’s (and woman’s) best friend; our canine chum should be every employer’s best pal. After all, a dog-friendly workplace can be good for staff and great for business.

However, it seems there are far more positives to a dog-friendly workplace than initially come to mind. What’s more, a growing number of companies recognise this fact and are allowing our furry pals into the office.

Some of the pet-friendly businesses in Australia include Google, Mars Petcare and online wine retailer Vinomofo.

6 benefits of a dog-friendly workplace

For some people, it would be a dream come true to bring their four-legged friend into their place of work. Thus, for employees and employers alike, it’s important to understand some of the many advantages of a dog-friendly workplace.

1. Lower stress

There are many studies that show pets have a positive impact on human health. Certainly, one study found that when people are under stress, having their dog close by was more effective at lowering their blood pressure than if they took a popular type of blood pressure medication (ACE inhibitor).

Allowing dogs in the office can be a helpful way to offset job-related stress, creating a much more enjoyable and relaxed work environment for all.

2. Increased productivity

While you can be mistaken for thinking that having dogs in the workplace is a major distraction, it can actually increase work productivity.

Indeed, having your dog accompany you to work means you’ll need to take regular breaks to take your dog to the toilet. Rather than decrease work production, regular breaks can boost productivity. After all, frequent short breaks can help clear the mind, reduce stress and rejuvenate the body.

3. Improved office morale

Dog-friendly workplaces promote happiness. How lovely is it to be excitedly greeted by a dog when you arrive at work? How nice it is to sit back and watch a dog licking its paws or doing something funny? Dogs reduce tension and in doing so can help create a positive workplace culture.

Furthermore, dogs are an awesome conversation starter. Whether it’s discussing the breed or its favourite treats, pets are a great way to break the ice and bond with someone.

4. Better communication between colleagues

Many offices share the responsibility of being a dog-friendly workplace. For instance, if the dog owner has to leave the office or attend a meeting, he or she might ask a colleague to take the dog for its midday walk.

Shared responsibility requires good communication. Having an office dog encourages conversation and team building, both of which are great for productivity.

5. Greater job satisfaction

It’s believed that allowing dogs in the workplace assists with employee retention. This in itself is a great thing for employees, but it also has a knock-on positive effect on staff.

No one enjoys witnessing a revolving door of staff coming and going. As an employee in this environment, it can be very disruptive and disheartening. Having good staff retention rates is great for employee morale and, ultimately, leads to greater job satisfaction.

6. Attractive for new staff

Typically, dog-friendly workplaces are more relaxed environments. Employees are happy, people are friendly and seeing a furry staff member is welcoming. These factors can be highly attractive to potential new employees.

A study by Mars Petcare revealed 59% of potential employees would choose to work at a dog-friendly workplace over a place of work that’s not pet friendly. So when it comes to winning talent, having a dog-friendly workplace policy might be just the ticket!

yorkshire terrier sat on office chair

Challenges of a dog-friendly workplace

Of course, you can’t have the ups without the downs and, yes indeed, dogs in offices can present some challenges.

For example, not everyone likes dogs. If you have a colleague or staff member that’s frightened of dogs it’s unfair to allow dogs in the office. Furthermore, some people are allergic to dog hair so this can also pose an issue.

Employers must consider the potential hazards of having a dog in the office. The health, safety and wellbeing of employees must be top of mind. Indeed, what might happen if a staff member trips over a dog lying on the office floor and becomes injured? What if the office dog chews through a cable and hurts itself or causes the entire computer system to shut down?

While there’s plenty of evidence to suggest a dog-friendly workplace can be beneficial for staff and the business, it’s essential to weigh up the pros and cons.

If becoming a dog-friendly workplace is something your employer is considering (or something you’re pushing for!), why not participate in Take Your Dog to Work Day. This could be a perfect way to test out how viable it would be to welcome dogs into your workplace.

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Leanne Philpott

Leanne is a freelance writer at contentchameleon.com.au. She works alongside her fur pal Chewie (a border terrier) and is passionate about promoting responsible pet ownership.

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