Ever heard of a pet friendly policy? This means that pets are allowed at the office, mostly dogs. Mars Belgium, Petplan and Nestlé are examples of companies that apply this policy: your furry friends are more than welcome there. At Le Grand & Associates, we also have office dogs once in a while and we have our reasons for that.
A dog at work creates a more daily and homelike setting. Research of Foreman, Glenn, Meade and Wirth shows that this has a calming and binding effect. Feeding the dog, taking it for a walk or holding a little play session bring diversion and peace. By taking care of the animal with your colleagues, the feeling of connectivity gets stronger. In other words, a pet friendly office is good for team spirit. According to the paper, their presence improves our social abilities, which makes us trust our colleagues more and the breaks become a lot more (inter)active and fun.
Additionally, it’s proven in their article ‘Dogs in the Workplace: A Review of the Benefits and Potential Challenges’ that this decreases our stress level considerably. It increases our productivity and morale at the workspace as well. Our loyal canine friends influence the organisation in a positive way: we feel happier and the team atmosphere, which is already really good here, gets even better. Because let’s face it, who doesn’t get a smile on their face when they see such a cute animal wandering around?
It is important, however, to be actively and consciously involved with the office mascot from time to time. If you bring a dog that doesn’t do anything all day long, the positive effects get a little lost. Remarkably, millennials in particular have a positive mindset towards this. According to them, the little animals hopping around bring an extra fun factor to work.
Obviously there are also some downsides to the story. Some employees are worried that pets would disrupt the quiet. It is indeed a fact that not every dog is suited to every environment. A small noisy fella or a wild rascal could disturb concentration and reduce productivity.
The work environment also needs to be made pet proof. It’s necessary not to leave too many little things laying around: a dog quickly thinks he’s found a new and interesting toy. Loose cables or pen caps are examples of appealing, yet dangerous toys. That’s why it’s advised to provide some house rules. So, make sure your furry friend is well mannered and house-trained; in that way you can prevent little accidents from happening. In addition, an extra cleaning session is highly advised in order to keep the work place hair and smell free.
We’re already convinced that the benefits will outweigh these minor inconveniences. Unfortunately, offices where dogs are allowed are still an exception in Belgium. Only 6 percent of Belgians bring their dog to work. Time to change this by choosing a pet friendly office? We think it is!