Have you ever thought about a more efficient way to recruit and retain employees without basically throwing money, benefits, vacation days, and office game rooms at them? Believe it or not, there is another solution. And, it actually requires a lot less of your company money than you’ve ever thought possible. All you need to do is allow your employees to bring their dogs (or any pet) to work with them. Dog-friendly offices are becoming much more common and the concept has been adopted in companies such as Google, Amazon, Etsy, Clif Bar, and Petco, and that’s just a few. Better yet, this fun and adorable pet policy have plenty more benefits than just recruiting and retaining employees. Here are a few benefits of implementing a dog-friendly office.
Like I mentioned before, the increased ability to recruit employees is the first benefit of allowing dogs in the workplace. After all, who doesn’t want to walk into the office every day and immediately be greeted by multiple cute, furry friends? Some people even specifically search for job positions using the keyword “pet-friendly offices” or some variation of that.
Dog-Friendly Office Draws in a Younger Generation.
A large and increasing percentage of the workforce is made up of millennials now. Instead of transforming your entire office space to an open-plan office to attract this age group, which typically turns out to be inefficient, unhealthy, and disliked by many employees anyway, allowing dogs in the office will attract more millennials than the open office that they supposedly would rather have. This generation tends to get married and have children later in life than other generations, therefore they are more likely to have dogs or other pets and treat them like family. Most millennials would jump at the opportunity to bring their dogs to work with them.
Yet another reason to allow dogs in the office; when interviewing employees, the candidate tends to be nervous. It’s a natural reaction for a job interview. Sometimes this makes it difficult to find the right words to say to impress your potential future employer. But, how relaxing would it be to walk into an interview and there’s a dog sitting there to greet you? I know I would immediately feel relaxed and more comfortable. Plus, it’s a great icebreaker or conversation starter.
- Not only will a dog-friendly office help you recruit employees, but you’ll also have a better chance at retaining employees. Why would someone leave a job that allows them to bring their best friend to work every day? It seems like a pretty good deal to me.
- Employee well-being, mood, and morale are increased when dogs are allowed in the workplace. Dogs have a tendency to automatically put anyone in a better mood. They also lower blood pressure, making you feel more relaxed. And, let’s face it, we’re all more productive and friendly when we’re in a better mood. Say goodbye to those stressful workdays that make you want to scream. Just reach over and pet your dog and all your stress will just blow away. So, I guess that’s another benefit: a stress-free workday.
- Dogs do a great job of contributing greatly to a relaxed and fun work environment. I mentioned before that having dogs around the workplace lifts the mood and makes everyone feel more relaxed. After all, we could all use a little something to boost the mood around the office. Whether you’re dealing with stacks and stacks of files, papers, and projects, a difficult boss, or annoying coworkers, we all have a need for an escape every once in a while.
- Like I previously mentioned, a dog is a great conversation starter. And since everyone around the office is already more relaxed, friendly, and in a better mood, dogs also promote collaboration and connections between employees. No need for an open-plan office anymore. That layout only forced the collaboration anyway, which led to resistance. With dogs around, the conversation happens naturally. Employees will ask about each other’s dogs, if you don’t have your own dog you’ll spend time with someone else’s, and sometimes the dogs choose their own friends. Again, more teamwork and collaboration without transforming your entire office space into an overrated open office layout.
- When employees are able to bring their pets to work, their work and life balance are instantly improved. For so many people their dog is their life. Now their life and work can be together all day. No need to keep the two separate anymore. It’s difficult sometimes to make it through an entire workday without losing focus because you’re worried about your dog sitting at home alone or you have to text or call someone to take your dog out. With less worry and wondering you’ll be more focused on your work in front of you. So, believe it or not, the dog is not a distraction. The dogs being at work actually prevent some distractions.
- Having your dog at the office also increases employee activity and exercise. There have been many studies which suggest that employee productivity, focus, and well-being is increased when they are active and take multiple brief breaks throughout their day. People will take their short breaks every day to take their dog out, walk around the office or outside for just a small amount of activity for both themselves and their dog, and occasionally get up from their desk chair to offer their dog food or water. These short, active breaks become necessary and completely natural because they’re for your pet. You won’t even realize that it improves your productivity as well.
- Of course, any employer or manager’s favorite benefit; employees have more flexible and available schedules and are willing to work longer hours. Employees won’t need to rush home to take their dog out, feed them, or take them for a walk. They can do all of these things at the office with only a short disruption. Therefore, they are more willing to stay at work until their tasks are finished and less likely to rush out the door at 5:00. So, more and better-quality work will be produced every day. What more could you ask for?
Precautions to Take With A Dog-Friendly Office
While there are numerous benefits and reasons to adopt a pet-friendly work environment, there are a few safety precautions to take as well. You still want your office to be a safe, happy place to work for both employees and dogs. The purpose of allowing dogs is to make everyone’s workday better and more productive. We wouldn’t want this great idea to backfire. So, be aware of these few things to assure your dog-friendly space is implemented properly, safely, and in a way that everyone can enjoy.
- Check with insurance and/or building manager to assure that there are no legal reasons that dogs would not be allowed in the building.
- Keep a clean office environment. The office may need to be cleaned more regularly to remove all dog hair and accidents or spills that may have happened during the day.
- All dogs should be clean, healthy, and up-to-date on all vaccines. This is a very self-explanatory safety and health precaution.
- Only allow well-behaved dogs that get along with all people and other dogs. Conduct a doggy interview to approve each dog for the office environment. Check for things such as:
- If the dog is demonstrating any nervousness or stress
- Attitude towards strangers and other dogs
- Ability to respond to basic commands
- Create a dog-free zone for employees that are afraid of or allergic to dogs.
- You may have to keep pets in specific areas through the use of private offices, baby gates, leashes, or cubicle doors. This will depend on the size of your office, layout, and number of employees. This may not be necessary, but it’s something to consider.
- Create a list of guidelines for each employee and pet with basic rules, regulations, and safety precautions.
Now that you’re aware of the top reasons to bring your dog to the office, it’s time to implement your plan. Follow all the necessary safety and health precautions and you’re ready to go. Trust me, your employees will thank you for it. Overall, everyone will be happier and more productive. So, throw out all your strategic ideas to recruit and retain employees, increase teamwork and collaboration, and boost employee productivity and efficiency; this is your easy, fun, all-in-one solution. And the best part, all employees, dogs, and office guests are happier and already having a better day.
Does your office allow dogs or other pets? Do you think a pet-friendly office would improve your workday and make you more productive? Comment your opinion below! And don’t forget to share your pictures of your four-legged office assistant.