Unleashing happiness at work: the power of dogs in the workplace for employee wellbeing

by Kris Rollo

Ok, we’re going to sound pretty biased here, but we really think that dogs in the workplace is a good thing. Not even a good thing, it's an amazing thing.

We’re not alone though. According to Forbes, a recent study by Cesar revealed that a staggering 87% of dog-friendly employers noticed a positive impact on their employees' likelihood to return to the office. The research also shows that 93% of dog owners in pet-friendly workplaces have more positive attitudes about going to work.

That’s quite compelling and comforting too. At Doggy Styling, we’re lucky that dogs are our jobs. So here’s a quick look at why dogs in the workplace is a *barking* great idea…


The benefits of having dogs at work

Having dogs in the workplace can offer various benefits, contributing to a positive and enjoyable work environment.

Furry friends can help with stress reduction, since interacting with dogs has been shown to reduce stress levels and promote a sense of calm. Having dogs in the workplace can create a more relaxed atmosphere.

A less stressful and more enjoyable work environment can positively impact productivity. Taking short breaks to interact with dogs can help employees recharge and return to their tasks with renewed focus and energy.

As result of improved focus, energy, and interactions, a dog’s presence often leads to increased morale and a more positive atmosphere, fostering a sense of camaraderie among employees.

The research from Cesar also suggested that dog-friendly policies can significantly improve employee interactions, office culture, in-person attendance, and retention.

A dog-friendly workplace can be an attractive perk for potential employees and can contribute to employee retention. Why wouldn’t someone want to stay on if they knew they were going to greeted with furry cuddles every day? A dog-friendly culture demonstrates a commitment to creating a positive and accommodating work environment.

As result, allowing employees to bring their dogs to work can help them better balance their work and personal lives. It can be particularly beneficial for individuals who may have to spend long hours at the office and can’t leave their dog with someone else.

Dogs in the workplace can also enhance customer interaction. Clients and visitors may feel more comfortable and at ease when they see dogs, which can positively impact business relationships. In our case, dogs are our customers, and normally they’re excited to see what haircuts they’re all getting.

So with all that in mind, how can you integrate dogs into your workplace, or at least convince your boss that there is a plan?


How to integrate dogs into the workplace

Suggesting the idea of bringing dogs to work is one thing. Putting together a plan and getting things in place is another. So, what are the key things you’ll need to think about if you are going to convince your boss? 

You’ll need to establish clear policies and guidelines. Yes, we know this isn’t exact fun, but everyone in the company will need to know what to do, and what not to do. Business leaders will have to consider issues of legality and liability and ensuring compliance with building or lease constraints. Then there’s the question of if the organisation is going to become dog friendly every day.

Companies could start off by designating specific days as dog-friendly, such as every other Wednesday, or every Monday. Or they could allow employees to bring their dogs on special occasions, for example, a designated social day at the end of each month.

There’ll need to be a safe and comfortable environment for the dog, or however many there will be. If it’s a situation where employees bring their dog to work, there will need to be designated areas for any potential office pups. These areas will need to be comfortable and act as ‘safe spaces’ for the canine colleagues. Some members of staff will need to take the lead on hygiene and maintain a clean work environment for everyone.

Human employees will also need to be trained to a certain extent, especially those who may not be familiar spending time around dogs. This is particularly key if the dogs will be spending lots of time around desks or common areas. Employees will need to be briefed on certain characteristics depending on the breed, as well as individual dog preferences. Any dog that will be frequenting the office space should be introduced slowly to different members of staff.

Of course, a big part of implementing a dog-friendly office is addressing any initial concerns and conflicts. Some colleagues will feel uncomfortable with the idea of sharing office space with a different breed of co-worker, and that is fine. It’s important to address concerns and work toward a potential solution. You’ll also need to consider noise management and disruption, especially if Milo the Pomeranian starts running around the kitchen.

And that’s all before you find out that one of your colleagues has a severe pet allergy, or even a phobia. Good luck!

Woman tending to a dog on a desk


How dogs in the workplace can benefit the community

There is also an added dimension to dogs joining you at work. It may be that your office is simply dog friendly, and no one actually has a dog themselves. Or you want to test the waters before you roll out a full four-legged workplace plan. In which case, you may turn to the community.

Your company might engage with local dog owners, who need their companions looked after while they are at work, or away for the day. The dog could be assigned to a member of staff, who has willingly agreed of course. It’s a win-win situation for the local resident and for your team.

Another option that benefits the local community is giving employees the chance to volunteer. This could include at animal rescue centres, or even with therapy dogs in local hospitals and nursing homes. Reach out to local charities and see if there are any opportunities for your team.


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