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In the working world of the future, an ever greater number of your office colleagues will have four legs. That’s because an increasing number of companies allow employees to bring their pets into the office with them – especially dogs. Why are corporate attitudes to this issue changing? Because the intensifying battle to attract talent means allowing pets in the office can provide a competitive advantage. Younger employees in particular are willing to let their employers know which aspects of their working environment are most important. And an important criterion when deciding for or against a particular employer may be whether it is animal-friendly or not. This is why dogs are increasingly becoming a part of corporate policy, helping companies become more attractive as employers.
Dogs promote productivity
The Banfield Pet Hospital in the USA surveyed 200 managers and 1000 employees and came to an interesting conclusion. 70% of survey participants agreed that pets in the office improved the office atmosphere. Animals make the mood more informal, increase morale and, as a result, promote productivity. According to a study by the Virginia Commonwealth University, dogs also reduce stress levels at the office. Dogs trigger the release of the hormone ‘Oxytocin’, often referred to as the ‘love’ hormone. This engenders a sense of well being. Last but not least, dogs also stimulate more movement in the office. After all, what could be better for promoting healthy lifestyles than taking the dog for a walk at lunchtime?
Clear rules for Pets
Many companies allow pets to be taken to the office. But there are no official rules governing the practice. Each company must decide for itself what conditions must be fulfilled and which rules should be applied. Companies that choose to address this issue should put these rules into writing and apply them to all employees. This also helps ensure the interests of employees without pets are protected. A few universal rules are always applicable:
- Dogs must be vaccinated, healthy and well-behaved.
- The temperament of the dog is important. Only dogs that are friendly towards people are suitable for the office.
- Dogs need to have enough space in the office.
- Drinking water must always be available, and food should be provided at the appropriate times.
- It must be possible for the dog to be taken for a walk every 5 hours.
- Dog insurance is highly recommended, in order to cover any damage the animal(s) may cause.
Dog owners must also be sympathetic towards the needs of others. Some colleagues may suffer from animal hair allergies, have a fear of dogs, or prefer a pet-free workspace. They should not be expected to have animals around them during office hours. Apart from these exceptional circumstances, dogs in the office usually generate a positive reaction. At least they do with me. What about you?