Today many workers across the country are enjoying sharing their offices with a four-legged colleague as part of Bring Your Dog To Work Day.
But, as new research shows, many would actually consider leaving their current job to have a dog-friendly office everyday!
A survey by pet food manufacturer Purina Petcare suggests the support for dog-friendly work policies is growing with two fifths (43%) saying they would like to see pets allowed in the office. Almost half (46%) would consider changing jobs for a pet-friendly workplace. Half also believe it would increase their happiness and 39% felt pet at work would increase their productivity.
Consultant psychologist Honey Langcaster-James and Purina Petcare set up a social experiment to investigate what impact introducing dogs into the workplace has. The experiment was carried out at the London-based head office of method, makers of ethical cleaning products and despite some of the negative beliefs, the results showed that having a furry friend by your side at work has no negative impact on productivity. In fact, it suggests there are significant gains to employee wellbeing and happiness to be made and as a result, bosses confirmed they will now be introducing a full pets at work policy.
Employees at method commented, “I think it humanises the workplace. To take time out to cuddle the dog stops you from feeling too stressed.”
Consultant Psychologist, Honey Langcaster-James said, “As a psychologist, I’m only too aware of the increased stress and pressures we face in our everyday lives. With so many companies looking to help improve employee wellness, allowing staff to bring their pet to work should definitely be considered more widely.
“Purina’s experiment with method proved to be the perfect way to look at the impact four legged visitors have on an office environment. Managers often think there are negative aspects to having pets in the workplace, but the results of this study really challenge that mind-set. On the day when there were dogs in the office, the results showed that there was no reduction on productivity whatsoever and that employee happiness and general positive feelings towards their employer and colleagues increased!”
Andrea Kalavsky, curator of weirdness AKA European head of people at method, said, “At method we love people and pets. Bringing them together at work has created a great vibe which the team has loved. Our office now wouldn’t be the same without Hector, Peggy or Laika (our regular office dogs) who’ve quickly become part of the method family. We now encourage all our employees and visitors to bring their pets in to our office in Richmond, the Ministry of Clean, whenever they can.”
Purina PetCare UK’s Pets at Work Scheme has been running since 2003 and last year they launched a Pets at Work Toolkit, based on their own experiences, to help other businesses become dog-friendly.
Calum Macrae, Regional Director for Purina UK & Ireland said, “Purina has had dogs coming into our office for the last 15 years – so we know first-hand the benefits of having pets in the workplace from helping improving wellbeing and happiness to attracting and retaining the best talent. Pets at work is increasingly sought after by employees as a valued benefit that represents a flexible and progressive workplace.
“We want to help businesses to adopt pet-friendly policies and reap the benefits by providing dedicated advice and a toolkit that helps to simplify the process. The perceived complexity of implementing a dog-friendly policy can be a barrier for some organisations but I can absolutely vouch for the fact that if the scheme is managed effectively, there are only positive benefits for businesses, employees and their dogs.”
The toolkit contains six easy steps to set up a Pets at Work scheme, as well as safety advice and responsible pet ownership guidelines. Companies and employees can visit their website to find out more.