Tell Your Boss: Dogs Make Offices More Cohesive and Stress-Free, It’s Official!

Tell Your Boss: Dogs Make Offices More Cohesive and Stress-Free, It’s Official!

While I was over in New York last week I was talking to a group of guys in a bar and thought to ask them about dogs in work. It’s a big thing in the US at the moment. Around 20% of companies are now permitting staff to bring their well behaved pets in to sit at their desk. All the big companies are getting on board including Google, Amazon, Mashable. There’s even a Bring Your Dog to Work Day!

The Guardian reports that two years ago Nestlé UK began allowing its 1,000-plus employees to bring their dogs into its City Place headquarters daily. So far, 56 staff have chosen to go through the company’s three-step “pawthorisation” process. Mars have allowed it since 2008. In fact around 8% of employees in the UK are allowed to take their dogs to work, according to research by Reed.co.uk!

This needs to become a thing in Ireland. Especially considering a recent study I just found. While we know many studies have shown dogs reduce stress, in 2012 scientists studied the effect of employees’ dogs presence at work on both physiological and perceived stress, perceptions of job satisfaction, organizational affective commitment, and perceived organisational support within the office.

Groups with Dogs Reported Increased Job Satisfaction and Less Stress…

Office with dogs scored significantly higher (p<0.0001) on multiple job satisfaction sub-scales than the reference norm group for these scales. Also, while perceived stress was similar at baseline, over the course of the day, stress declined for the DOG group with their dogs present and increased for the no-dog groups! The no-dog group had significantly higher stress (p<0.005) than the dog group by the end of the day.

Furthermore a significant difference (p<0.02) was found in the stress patterns for the dog group on days their dogs were present and absent. On dog absent days, owners’ stress increased throughout the day, mirroring the pattern of the no-dog group.

Preliminary findings suggest pet dogs in the workplace may buffer the impact of stress during the workday for their owners and may also contribute to higher job satisfaction for all employees in the organisation, regardless of dog or pet ownership.

Yet Another Study Shows Offices With Dogs Will be More Cohesive and Intimate!!!

It gets better. Reported in the Economist, another study analysed the creativity levels in groups of people that had dogs present versus those that didn’t. To reach this conclusion they carried out two experiments. In the first groups of people were asked to contribute ideas for a new ad but ultimately each group had to decide on only one. This is a challenge. Some of the groups had dogs, others didn’t. The researchers found those groups that has a dog ranked their team-mates more highly on measures of trust, team cohesion and intimacy than those who had not!

In the other experiment of more than 13 groups of people, researchers presented people with the prisoners dilemma, which essentially is where each group is “charged” with a crime. Out of ear shot of their team mates, each person must choose between snitching or standing by their team mates. Which way they choose would greatly effect their own future and that of the group. Having a dog made volunteers 30% less likely to snitch than those who played without one!

9 Essential Tips for Introducing a Dog to Your Office…

For anyone thinking of introducing a dog to their workplace here’s how to best do it and keep everyone happy:

  1. Make sure nobody objects (boss for starters, or other staff due to allergy / religious / fear reasons)
  2. Ensure your office is safe for busy noses. Secure bins!
  3. Check with your insurance
  4. Introduce slowly, one day a week initially
  5. Designate pet friendly areas for some off time
  6. Have pet-free zones
  7. Limit number of pets!
  8. Get a good trainer in on the first day or two to have the basics down.
  9. Ensure dogs are well behaved.

Dr. Conor Brady

After a doctorate studying the effects of nutrition on the behaviour and gut morphology of animals, five years with Guide Dogs as a trainer and supervisor, some success on Dragons Den with the finest raw dog food company and the last few years both writing and speaking on canine nutrition and health, I can say with some confidence that the pet food and drug industry cares not a jot for the health of your pet.
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