As someone who has seen first-hand the impact of having a dog in the workplace I thought it was an interesting discussion point. My day job would be considered to be in a traditional professional services industry and is based across 2 offices within the same city with approximately 200 staff. Our company has been going through a lot of changes recently as a result of new leadership and about 12 months ago a decision was made for the business to co-purchase a dog with one of the members of staff. Sounds crazy I know!
Now as a dog owner myself I am all for being progressive in the workplace and will be the first to admit that I have taken advantage of the situation when I’ve been stuck for doggy care (you can see Buddy keeping some of our developers happy in the picture below) but even so I can’t seem to fully get on board with the concept on a full time permanent basis. So let’s weigh things up…..
In 2012 US researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University conducted a study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management looking at 75 staff within a manufacturing company. The study’s findings showed that those with access to dogs were less stressed as the day went on than those who had none. It was suggested that access to dogs boosted morale and reduced stress levels, whether people had access to their own pets or other people's.
It’s often said that having a dog in the workplace can bring teams together and stimulates creativity and productivity by allowing staff the chance to take a break, walk the dog and return refreshed and rejuvenated.
So there we have it, the science and research speaks for itself about the obvious benefits to having ‘man’s best friend’ in the office but what about the drawbacks.
Not everyone in the World likes dogs. Sounds strange to us I know but many people are in fact allergic to dogs or have a deep routed fear of them. As someone in my office who has a duty to oversee some elements of Health & Safety I also have had to think about the impact of mites, fleas, any accidents that take place and the cleanliness of keeping a dog in the office. It’s boring to think about I know, but do companies check with their insurers as to whether any accidents caused by the dog’s presence are covered? What if someone trips over the dog’s toy or the dog itself and falls and hurts themselves? It seems far -fetched I know but believe me it happens and where there is blame there’s a claim!
With many companies now going so far as having a ‘Pets in the Workplace Policy’ I agree that one rule doesn’t suit all and it boils down to the individual office set up and the size, type and behaviour of the dog. Nevertheless, I still can’t quite wrap my head round the concept and not sure I am entirely sold on it.
As dog owners, I’d be interested to know your thoughts on the subject.