This is a guest post by Lucy Rose. Thank you, Lucy for allowing me to share this post.
The benefits of owning a dog are legion. Better health, lower stress levels, more exercise, companionship, and so on. But does that translate to bringing a dog to your workplace? Would your employees do better with a dog on board?
Research is starting to show that yes, this is the case. Both employee happiness and productivity are improved when dogs can come to work. Maybe not everyday, but on a regular basis. This is especially the case for work-from-home employees like myself of course.
Increased social interactions within the workplace
Dogs are naturally social in their own right. However, dogs also encourage humans to communicate. Let’s not forget how Pongo helps Roger meet Anita in 101 Dalmatians.
Just having a dog sparks conversations.
I learned this at a tech startup seven years. I needed to take my dog Anita to the vets for a regular checkup. The only appointment slot was during my lunch break, so I got permission to bring her to work for the day. She lit the place up. Suddenly the awkward team gelled and we were able to bond and improve how we worked together.
Of course, there is also a potential downside to this. A dog in the workplace should not become the new all encompassing water cooler. If they, through no fault of their own, lead workers or yourself to spend too much time on the dog and on chatting about the dog, then it will be detrimental to your productivity.
How dogs reduce stress levels
A study from the American Institute of Stress demonstrates that 80% of employees feel stressed at work. The causes are different — workloads, poor communication, a lack of cooperation, deadlines, inability to do the job well, bullying etc..
Dogs are an amazing source of social support. Their mere presence is helping children learn to read aloud for example. A dog’s love is unconditional, as all love should be, and they are natural mood improvers, stress relievers. Just having a dog around in the workplace helps you and your colleagues reduce that stress a little.
The natural benefit of reduced stress is improved mood. Optimum productivity in the workplace requires the right amount of risk, positive stress — i.e. work targets, deadlines etc.. and a positive attitude to attaining them. An improved mood helps deliver the latter — reduced stress means a more positive attitude to the work and a better ability to focus on the tasks at hand.
Health effects of owning a dog
Owning a dog is not just good for the body because what’s good for the body is often good for the bank account too. Dog owners save on average $11.7 billion. A Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) study of 20 million dog owners who walk their pooches 5 times a week or more saved $419 million in healthcare costs.
Being healthy is vital to being productive. A healthy body combined with a healthy mind leads to a better ability to focus on work, to prioritize, and most of all to aspire. The amount of work we can do increases but so too does our ability to do it well.
Maybe owning a dog and seeing if you can take a dog to work is something to look into. As a boss, is bringing a dog to work feasible?
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