Employee of the month? Definitely the office dog! Because such a four-legged friend in the office has many advantages. Above all, it has a positive influence on the working atmosphere and productivity. But dogs are not allowed everywhere. How you can persuade your boss to allow dogs in his office you can find out here.
Advantages of an office dog
Let’s start with the most important things, how can the four-legged colleagues contribute positively to the work?
- The cuddling hormone oxytocin is released when you pet your dog and even when you look at him. It helps us to feel happy and to reduce the stress hormone cortisol
- Good for the working atmosphere (not only are employees more relaxed, dogs often act as mediators)
- Promotes creativity (short distractions help to find new ways of thinking)
- Efficient teamwork (dogs provide new groups with something to talk about, this promotes cohesion)
- Positive impact on the community
- Fewer sick days (by reducing the risk of burn-out and through more active lunch breaks)
- More motivated and committed employees
- Reduction of permanent stress
- Tidy office (no one wants the dog to swallow anything or get hurt)
- Image improvement for the company (during recruiting, on social media and also with customers, the animal colleagues are very popular)
- Employees prefer to come to the office
- Working life also brings advantages for the dog (closeness to humans, is not alone, attachment to master/sitter, walks in the breaks, office dog friends, etc.)
What you should pay attention to
- Of course your boss has to agree! Legally, animals in the workplace are not regulated. Also keep a written record of the permission and any restrictions.
- You also need the consent of all colleagues!
- Arrange a taster day. That way everybody can get to know each other.
- Inform your colleagues about their new animal employee (how should they behave, what is he allowed and what not, who is allowed to give treats and when, where does he not want to be stroke, explain the basics of dog language if necessary, etc. – everything that is important for a harmonious cooperation, because humans and dog should feel comfortable)
- The most important rules can be hung up, so you can look up uncertainties.
- Not all at once! To prevent stress in the office dog, he should have the opportunity to approach the many new people on his own and not be harassed.
- What else could your dog need? (Liability insurance, dog-handling license, health certificate, service contract 😉, first aid kit, …)
What could be in the way and how can you get it out of the way?
- Fear of a colleague: Maybe it is possible to separate the dog spatially from him, leave the dog in his place and sneak step by step into the heart of the colleague.
- Allergy: If someone in the team is allergic, this can actually be a knock-out criterion. You may be able to have your own office space with your dog that is easily separable.
- Smell: A healthy dog does not smell or hardly smells at all, but especially wet or sick quadrupeds can spread a certain odour. Try to find out the causes and ventilate as well as possible.
- Unspoken things: Possibly colleagues are annoyed about some things and do not dare to talk about them. For this you can set up a box for improvement wishes, so that your darling is appreciated by everyone in the long run.
- The dog can also be afraid or stressed. Make his environment and situations as relaxed as possible. It can also lead to difficulties among the dogs. Consult a dog trainer if problems arise.
Rules for the dog at work
- The dog needs a fixed place of retreat, where he is not disturbed by anyone.
- He must be provided with fresh water and toys appropriate to the species.
- He should be able to control calm behaviour and basic signals, such as “safe retrieval” or “on your blanket”.
- Colleagues should not feed him unasked, otherwise he will soon have too much on his ribs.
- If there are several office dogs, they should be allowed to get to know each other in a neutral place and be led into the office together. Of course each dog needs its own bed and water. Make sure that everyone has their own toy and that there are no arguments about these or other resources.
- Agree with your colleagues whether and how much your dog is allowed to move freely in the office and who appreciates the animal visit less.
- Prevent boredom. Even if dogs spend many hours resting, in between a search game, a short walk or a game is a welcome change for humans and animals.
- Are there rooms that should be kept dog-free (production rooms, kitchen, etc.)?
- The needs of your dog must be met.
Finding the perfect place
- The dog should not be in the way
- Suitable are corners or also with you under the table
- Depending on the dog, a dog box, a bed or a blanket is suitable as a retreat
- Direct sunlight, drafts or loud noises should be avoided
- Also toxic plants, vapours, smoke and harmful substances must be avoided
An office dog has many advantages, this is now scientifically proven. It is important that the rules are followed by everyone and that the dog is treated with respect. Humans and animals must feel comfortable, then nothing stands in the way of a relaxed working day. Happy work!