Calling all dog lovers out there. Date for the diary – 24th June – officially ‘Take Your Dog to Work Day’. If you adore dogs, surely this must be one of the most important dates in the calendar! Dog lovers across Australia have wistfully imagined being able to take their beloved furry-friends to work. Now they have an opportunity to be a vital part of the team. On this auspicious day, employers are asked to open their doors to our four-legged friends to promote the advantages of ownership and animal adoption. No longer the preserve of the hip start-ups and ‘creative’ environments. Brands such as CottonOn, MySale Group (OzSale) and Vinomofo are all advocates for dog friendly environments and their numbers are growing. They echo the sentiments of other pooch-friendly businesses including increased team collaboration, more exercise, greater time dedication to work, improved overall morale and the ability to attract top talent.
According to Forbes magazine, with the trend of millennials getting married later and delaying having children, there are more pets in their homes. As a result, millennials feel more secure and happier when they are able to bring their pet to work. Whilst some companies naturally make dogs a part of their work environment, others have made the decision that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. According to Stephen Colaretti, one of the psychologists at Central Michigan University, there are three key benefits to bringing dogs into the work place. “First, dogs lower stress, heart rate and blood pressure, and make individuals who work alone less lonely. Second, people are perceived as more friendly and approachable when a dog is present in the office. Finally, it’s likely to increase cooperation and other positive behaviours among members of work groups”. Who can argue with science?
As much as there are huge advantages, if you are seriously considering implementing a similar scheme, it is important to ensure this whole experience does not impact on the well being, working environment or health of any other employees or visitors to the office. You must also consider those poor souls with allergies. RSPCA Australia recommends the following to ensure there are no paws for concern:
- Check with your office to see if bringing your dog to work is appropriate and allowed. Some work environments may not be appropriate or safe for dogs
- Consult with your workplace about associated policies and requirements
- Ensure your dog is healthy so they don’t spread any infections
- Ensure your dog is identified (including by microchip and that your contact details are up to date on the register) and up to date with their vaccinations
- Dogs should be socialised with other dogs and people
- Dogs should be trained using reward-based positive reinforcement
- Ensure the office environment is safe for pets. Cables, cords and rubbish bins can be hazardous, so ensure dogs in the office won’t access these
- Keep an eye on your dog and make sure they won’t be able to escape and get lost by accident
Nestle seem to counteract the problems that may be raised in allowing pets in the office, in an efficient manner. Using some creative flair and understanding Pets at Work gives you the acronym PAW, the company has done things properly, requiring pets to go through an initiation process and acquire a ‘passpawt’ (brilliant) before they join the pet team. They place a lot of the success of their pet scheme on interaction with staff, with a team member commenting “people will stop you in the corridor to stroke your dog, so you start talking to some-one in a different part of the company you’d never normally have spoken to.”
If you want to work in a positive, collaborative Utopia bring your pooch to work and watch the well-being of your team rise!