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At Sherbet Donkey, we are a dog-friendly office. We have our resident office dog, Storm the Visla who works full-time stealing from the bins and running riot around the office. We also have some part-time pups that come in with their respective humans as and when they need to.
In 2022 it was discovered that 52% of UK adults own a pet, with 27% of adults owning a dog. The estimated population of UK pet dogs is 10.2 million, while the population of people in the UK is around 68 million for comparison.
With so many adults owning dogs, surely it makes sense to have dog-friendly workplaces where our furry companions can come and keep us company? However, dogs at work seem to be quite a polarising topic. Some people are big advocates for dog-friendly offices, while some are really against it.
The policy at Sherbet is dependent on the dog’s behaviour. As long as they’re not going to tear up the office and bark all day, all dogs are welcome. They come with us to meetings, watch us diligently when eating our lunch, and they take all the credit when a project finally comes together. We have even conducted dog-friendly interviews where perspective staff bring their dog in to be interviewed too.
So, for those on the fence about a dog’s place in the office, we’ve compiled this blog to discuss the pros and cons of dogs in the workplace.
• Better job and life satisfaction• Improved health and well-being• Improved mental well-being• Unites the team• Attract and retain staff• Stress relief
The Guardian states that about 8% of employees in the UK are allowed to take their dogs into work.
Obviously, a dog is not suitable for some workplaces. If you work somewhere where hygiene is paramount, such as a dental practice, a dog really isn’t going to work. The same goes for industrial settings with loud machinery and lots of hazards. But for an office? It’s the perfect pairing.
Better job and life satisfaction
Nestle have been pioneering dog-friendly workplaces and has released some interesting facts about dogs at work. Despite the common misconception that a dog in the office would be a distraction, they found that of those who took their dog to work, 33.4% increased absorption in their work and their dedication in their work by 16.5% compared to the norm. They also found that engagement increased by 14.4%. Some research even suggests that having a friendly dog in the office can increase motivation and attention.
The findings also indicate that employees who take their dogs to work often report 14.9% higher satisfaction in accommodating work and home commitments. Overall, employees scored 13.1% higher for their job satisfaction and 4.7% higher for their general well-being, happiness, and life satisfaction.
There have been numerous studies conducted on cardiovascular health and it has been found that owning a dog can significantly lower your risk of developing heart disease. Simply petting a dog has been proven to reduce blood pressure, as well as lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. High levels of both of these can be indicative of heart disease.
Additionally, having dogs at work gives staff an excuse to get moving at breaks and lunch times and take yourself and your dog for a walk. Keeping active is essential to avoid the sedentary office lifestyle that has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and other health conditions. Meaning office dogs make you healthier chemically and physically.
It’s definitely a no-brainer that being around a dog will boost your mood and melt away stress. However, there are also studies that back this up.
Abox.co.uk reports that after assessing both employees with dogs nearby and employees without a dog in the vicinity while working in a factory, lower cortisol levels were found in those who spent the day with a doggy friend.
Cortisol is considered a stress hormone and the levels of cortisol decide your fear, motivation, and overall mood. When levels are high, this keeps your alarm bells triggered and can lead to an increased chance of heart disease, anxiety, depression, weight gain, forgetfulness, and concentration.
The Open University conducted a study that found that being around dogs can actually lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels and increase levels of oxytocin (happy hormone), creating a double effect of benefits linked to having a dog in the workplace.
Additionally, another study found that 79% of British adults in employment commonly experience work related stresses which can lead to mental health concerns, as well as increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Having access to a dog that you can interact and play with during the day has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of this and provide employees with a great way to let off some steam.
At Sherbet Donkey, we agree with this entirely. If it’s a particularly stressful day in the office or we’re busy with projects and everyone is a bit tense, you can always rely on Storm to do something a bit naughty, and it really does cut the tension. Our group chat is littered with funny pics of her and the other office visitors, and it really does connect you with your workmates.
For those of us that have brought our dogs in, while the first visit can be a bit stressful in fear of them peeing on the carpet, once they’ve settled, it feels really nice to look down and see your best friend laying on the floor happy to be with you.
As mentioned above, having a dog in the office can really unite the team. Whether we’re fussing over Storm, talking about how cute she is, or yelling “Storm no!” in unison when she eats someone’s lunch… we’re united.
Really though, the best way to describe it is like when you’re at home with your family and the dog does something a little stupid and you all talk about it together. You feel closer and you become closer.
We’re not going to lie, having an office dog is a real selling point. Anyone who comes to the Sherbz office is always besotted with Storm, and a lot of our new staff have even told us that having an office dog was a big reason they were interested in joining us.
Having a dog-friendly office is a green flag to a lot of employees and could be a reason why staff apply to work with you, or why staff remain with you.
It has actually been scientifically proven that having an office dog present at your marketing agency does wonders for your Google rankings and actually drives an increase in traffic…
No, we’re only joking. But luckily, we do have an in-house SEO team that can deliver exceptional results if you require SEO services.
• Barking• Allergies• Toilet breaks• Dogs may not get on
Not all the dogs that visit Sherbz are noisy, but we’d be lying if we said they don’t sometimes have a bark at you, to you, or about you. If noise is a sensitive issue in your office, then this is something to keep in mind, but it isn’t exactly a dealbreaker. Dogs bark. It may take a little time for your dog to understand office life, so barking may be an issue at first, but it certainly isn’t a reason to rule out an office dog.
Luckily at Sherbet Donkey, none of us are allergic to dogs. If you have a large volume of staff, you may have to consider allergies, and this could be a potential factor in avoiding office dogs. Of course, some dogs are hypo-allergenic, and some people may only be mildly allergic and won’t mind. But this should definitely be considered as a potential con.
Storm knows she has designated times to go out and use the bathroom, and other office visitors, like Gus, go to the office door and barks loudly to let his mum know he needs a pee break. However, that’s not to say we haven’t had a few accidents on the carpets by our office pups.
Each time it has been the dog’s first time in the office, where they’re still understanding where they are, so we let them off. But if this is an issue for you, it should be taken into consideration.
If you have multiple office dogs, you’ll need to be wary that some dogs won’t get on or may need to be watched carefully to ensure no fights break out or babies are made… Lucky for us, Storm is super friendly and always welcomes in a new dog.
So, there you have it, the pros and cons of office dogs! If you’re a workplace considering making your offices a pet-friendly space, we hope this helped, and if you’re an employee urging your employer to let you bring your dog in… send them our blog.
If you fancy coming in to meet our office dogs, just get in touch and book a meeting with our sales team to discuss our brilliant websites, branding and SEO too. Storm can tell you all about our great results while you’re here, but mind your ears, she’s a tongue kisser.
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