21st June marks the official ‘Take Your Dog to Work’ day. With more and more people enjoying all aspects of their life with the dogs, I thought it was only right to discuss how our four-legged best friends can benefit us in the work place.
Dogs can reduce stress levels
Spending time with dogs is well documented to reduce the stress hormone Cortisol and increase the ‘happy hormone’ Oxytocin. Some studies have also shown that owning pets can lower a person’s blood pressure and heart rate and increase cardiovascular health. In the work environment this can only be seen to be a good thing, and a well-behaved dog could be very beneficial to reducing the stress of employees and helping them to deal with the pressures of their daily working life.
Similarly, a lunchtime dog walk in the middle of the working day might also prove to be the perfect antidote to help reduce stress, clear a person’s head, and help them to refocus their thoughts on the tasks in hand.
Dogs can boost our happiness and positivity
From my experience, a well-behaved dog can be a joy to have at work, can connect people and create the sense of a ‘team’ (after all dogs are social mammals too) and even act as a mascot at important events and meetings. For those who work from home, or spend a lot time working independently, dogs can be the perfect team member offering valuable support and companionship throughout what might otherwise be a very quiet and lonely day. Additionally, dogs don’t understand mistakes you might have made, won’t judge you for the deal you didn’t secure, and won’t form an opinion on your financial successes at work – whether your financial successes are big or small, your dog will still be by your side wagging their tail. Having this sense of support in your life can be very valuable to a person’s happiness and positivity.
I witness lots of people creating smiles in their work place through taking selfies of themselves with their dogs and posting them on social media. This can not only promote a business (everyone seems to like a four-legged mascot!) but also breaks up a day and allows the person to interact with others, creating social encounters and positive vibes.
As an important side note, being able to take your dog to work can also be seen as a valuable financial perk for employees, with doggy day care typically being upwards of £20 a day. If you are an employer and can accommodate a well-behaved dog in your work place, you might want to consider this perk for your employees!
Dogs can improve our mental health in the workplace
Working with many dog owners on a weekly basis, I regularly witness the power of dogs on people’s lives and their wellbeing. As I have commented on in my previous blog post discussing the power of dogs on our mental health, I have seen dogs act as a companion, shoulder to cry on, coffee shop partner, dog walking friendship developer, and confidence booster in many a situation. I can see no reason why this doesn’t extend to working with dogs and taking your dog to work, it makes perfect sense.
In addition, dogs can act as an icebreaker and create conversation, acting as a point of shared interest and helping to build bonds between people. Just like dogs, we are social mammals and I know and have worked with many people who count their dog as a valuable member of their working team – even if it’s just the two of them!
Finally, petting a dog has repeatedly been shown to reduce stress whether you own the dog or not, further suggesting that having a dog present in the work place could be beneficial to the mental health of employees. I know that I personally look to my dogs as a source of comfort in times of stress.