Since 1999, the Friday following Father’s Day has been deemed “Take Your Dog To Work Day.” Usually we’re not the biggest fan of these arbitrary days, but this is one we can really get behind. Dog fans (you’re reading this, so we can safely assume you are), you should lobby your manager to participate. And if you own a company and you’re reading this, you should think about participating. Here’s why.
Companies like Amazon and Salesforce (and GK) have pet-friendly policies, and more are jumping on board. Yeah, some are part of that tech culture that always seems to have ridiculous offices. But think about it this way: if Google allows dogs in their workplace, don’t you think there’s something to it?
According to a recent study, employees who bring their dogs to work experience a significant decline in stress levels.
The group monitored employees whose perceived stress was similar at the start of the day. Then, over the course of 8 hours, they saw that stress declined for those who brought their dogs to work… while those who did not have a pet at work saw big stress spikes. To double down on their theory, they also tracked the dog owners’ stress levels when they didn’t bring their pet to work and – you guessed it – there was a big different in their stress patterns.
This piece also backs up that pets in the workplace positively affect employee health and the organization.
Bottom line: Dogs can alleviate stress in the workplace.
Along the lines of stress, that first study also found that pets provided more social support in the office. To break down the jargon, social support is how other people buffer employees at work from stress. It’s known that the more social support you have in the office, the better your job performance.
By acting as a buffer to stress, research says pets may be more even more effective than even a spouse or close friends when it comes to that (they don’t call them Man’s Best Friend for nothin’).
Bottom line: Dogs can increase job performance and even lower levels of depression in the workplace.
Dogs have an impact on your social interactions – think about you walking around town by yourself versus you with your dog, and our point is proven. The same goes for social interactions among employees. Pets facilitate conversations, and with one in the office those conversations will happen more frequently.
Bottom line: Pets can make the social atmosphere at your workplace better.
Apparently pets can possibly increase task productivity, too. That social support we were talking about? It lowers your blood pressure response to mental stress, allowing employees to work better in intense environments.
Bottom line: Your dog can even be a workplace performance enhancer.
This is sort of our own hypothesis, but we think dogs help express individual personality, which we think is a good thing. Even if you do have a Dwight type in your office….
They used to say that you chose a dog that looked like you – but that theory has recently been given a lot more credit. It turns out that some people actually choose pups that share their physical characteristics, in ways both obvious and subtle (like the shape of their eyes).
Science has gone even further by saying that your dog actually has your personality too. Your pet’s level of a “Big Five personality trait” — agreeableness, neuroticism, extraversion, conscientiousness, and openness — directly mirrors your own.
We think that’s pretty crazy to think about, especially considering humans started domesticating dogs thousands of years ago to help with hunting. Today not all owners are using dogs for that purpose (though if you’re familiar with the company, you know most of us here do), but it’s cool to see that we all experience that same intense emotional bond, no matter how you work with your dog.
Bottom line: If your employees’ happiness is important to you, you may consider bringing pets to work as an emotional trophy for them. It may also give you more insight into their own unique personality.
Overall, it appears to us that pets can be pretty good for employees in the workplace – from acting as a communication conduit to reducing blood pressure and helping people deal with mood swings. But of course there are also many factors to consider when bringing your pet to work, or everyone would have a policy implemented after reading the above. Your decision to bring a dog to the office means you have to take into account the safety and well-being of all employees, since your pup’s effect extends beyond you as the owner. If you’re serious about implementing this as a permanent policy, you should check out those here.
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