To dog or not to dog? The pros and cons of a dog-friendly office

Job Seekers

If Mad Men’s Peggy Olsen were to be magically transported to a modern office, she’d be in for a rude shock. For starters, computers have replaced typewriters and the Internet has revolutionised working practices. Smoking’s also out, while for many businesses, dogs are in.

The phenomenon of bringing your four-legged friend has dramatically risen in popularity over the last 10 years. Originally the forum of the pet food sector – Mars Petcare (the parent company behind Pedigree and Whiskas) has welcomed dogs from 2008 – the idea has now spread to a whole range of industries, including tech (Amazon and Google), food manufacturing (Nestle), private jets (PrivateFly) and even breweries (BrewDog). In fact, a study by reed.co.uk found that 8% of UK employees are allowed to bring their dog to work.1

In celebration of Take Your Dog to Work Day on June 22, we’re taking a fresh look at the idea – should you be campaigning for their introduction or holding off?

Benefits

When looking at the benefits, it’s a wonder why more offices don’t allow canine colleagues. A 2012 study from the Virginia Commonwealth University found that having man’s best friend around during the working day reduces stress and makes the job more satisfying for every employee, not just its owner.2 Another study in the same year discovered that dogs also encourage higher levels of social interaction and cohesion in the workplace and positively affects employees’ moods. Finally, they encourage office workers to step away from their desks, giving them a break from screens and providing a reason to stay active.

Challenges

Just like workplace policies exist for humans, they also need to be implemented for dogs. Letting every employee bring in their canine without proper procedures is a surefire recipe for disaster. For starters, health requirements of other employees need to be considered – is anyone allergic? Will having a dog around for eight hours leave Paul over in IT sneezing all over the place?

Man’s best friend is also prone to barking, chewing and general misbehaviour, causing distraction and possibly damage. There could also be legal complications – if a colleague trips over your pooch’s lead and breaks their leg, your employer could be liable for a fine.

Implementing a Pet Policy

Most of the aforementioned challenges can be conquered or at least addressed by implementing a thorough pet policy. This should be established prior to any decisions being made and should be collated in collaboration with the wider employee base. Initiatives could include pet-free spaces, probation periods, punishments or consequences for badly behaved four-legged friends and nominating dog-friendly break-out spaces.

Should you want to go one step further, you could also follow in the footsteps of Scottish-based beer company, BrewDog, who became the first brewery in the UK and first company in the US to introduce a paw-ternity scheme.

The initiative allows staff who are welcoming a brand-new puppy or older rescue dog into their lives are given the opportunity to take a week’s paid leave to make sure their new addition settles in properly. BrewDog is also a dog-friendly workplace, meaning no four-legged friendly needs to be left alone for too long.

With potential to do plenty of good, taking your dog to work is a worthwhile benefit for businesses to explore. With the right amount of preparation and policies in place, it could result in a happier and healthier workplace.

Are you looking for a dog-friendly workplace? Tiger can help you find your next role – get in touch today!

1. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/pets/news-features/bring-dog-work-day-scheme-bosses-should-sit-beg/
2. https://www.news.vcu.edu/article/Benefits_of_Taking_Fido_to_Work_May_Not_Be_Far_Fetched
Author Emily Jacobs Tiger Recruitment Team

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