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Why bosses should encourage staff to bring dogs to work



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It seems like our furry canine friends are more popular in the workplace than we think. According to a new survey by SKOUT, nearly half of respondents (46%) think companies should allow workers to bring their dogs to work.

The most common reason for bringing their four-legged friends to the workplace? It makes them happier and less stressed.

Polling 2,244 Skouters in the United States, 14% of respondents said they bring their dog to work at least some of the time. That number increases to 21% for people who work in an office.

About seven in 10 of those surveyed observed that dogs make staff feel happier in the workplace. This sentiment was especially strong among those who work in offices with almost eight in 10 people saying so.

Human Resources spoke to Michael Monar, US-based president of Monar Consulting:”There is a great deal of research that demonstrates the positive health benefits of pets in the workplace, so I feel although many companies will choose not to allow pets – a significant number of smaller progressive firms will welcome pets in the office.”

“I definitely see benefits, however they definitely need to be balanced against the comfort of all employees.”

Another benefit man’s best friend can have on the work environment is the lowering of stress levels with 63% of all respondents and 67% of office workers saying that dogs help lower employees’ stress levels at work.

Desiree Wu, director of talent and marketing, APAC, POSSIBLE also spoke to Human Resources: “We don’t have a pet policy but we did have 6 Chinchillas that made POSSIBLE their home for many years. Though they all went to family homes this year as we commence our office renovation.”

Other than increasing happiness and reducing stress, 43% of Skouters surveyed also felt that dogs helped enhance productivity – this number increased to 51% among those working in offices.

If the benefits above are not enough to persuade employers to let their staff bring their pups to work, 51% of respondents said being able to bring your tail-wagger to work makes your company a cool place to work.

This is especially so for staff in the Millennial generation with 58% echoing the same thought.

The best part of allowing your staff to bring their pooches to work – you get to save up on more expensive perks such as ping pong or foosball tables.

When it comes to workplace perks, respondents preferred the option of bringing their dog to the workplace three times more than having a ping pong or foosball table.

The only possible downside brought up by 9% of respondents was pretending to like their boss’ dog even if they don’t.

An advice Monar has for organisations planning to welcome pets into the workplace is to take all employees into consideration before doing so as some staff might be allergic to certain animals while others might be afraid of them.

Giving examples of tech clients who allow pets in the office with certain limitations – such as in terms of weight and breeds (no aggressive breeds) – and his father (a doctor) whose dog went with him to the office and on house calls to his patients, he pointed out that “there is much research that indicates the therapeutic benefits to people in nursing and long term care facilities.”

Along similar lines, Wu cautioned: “We do have pets come in time to time and they are friendly and happy distraction. However, with the size of our office, if everyone bought a pet in it would be somewhat of a Doctor Dolittle menagerie and I don’t think we would cope well with that much distraction. That said patting a pet is always good for the soul.”

Surprisingly, when compared with the option of bringing a cat to work, about three times as many people preferred bringing a dog to work (22% vs 78%).

Global business consultant, Nina Elizabeth Woodard, noted the trend of pet-friendly workplaces is growing in popularity and there is considerable research that supports pets, especially dogs, as stress reducers.

She told Human Resources: “It is becoming more common as employees focus on more employers engagement approaches to not only address business more squarely, but also look more holistically at life.”

Skout dog at work survey

Image: 123RF

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