While developing our pet tech products, we identified the need to not only cuddle more dogs more regularly, but also to ensure that we have sufficient data on a variety of dog breed types and ages. We had an overwhelming response to our search for dogs, and it’s given us the opportunity to welcome in a new furry member to the team every day (plus the chance to welcome back a few favourites for ‘extra observations’).
It’s safe to say that Felcana’s office dogs have really made themselves at home and brought a smile to all of our faces.
But what are the benefits to having dogs in the office?
Companies, such as Mars, Google and Ben & Jerry’s, have preached the benefits of bringing dogs to work for years and it looks like they’re not barking up the wrong tree. Research has shown that being in the presence of dogs acts to release endorphins, reduce blood pressure and improve attendance at work!
Indeed, in a recent survey by the Blue Cross, 90% of businesses that allowed dogs at work saw a positive change in the working environment, 56% saw improved work relations and 67% saw improved staff morale. We can definitely attest to the proven stress busting and performance boosting benefits of having office dogs.
Here’s our Schnoodle, Yogi Bear, improving Felcana’s staff morale by giving us a high five and a cuddle:
Not only can having dogs in the office decrease stress, but it can also improve physical health as walks at lunch boost activity for the dog and the owner! In fact, 88% of healthcare professionals agreed employees would be more motivated and productive after a dog walking break. Boom!
How to get involved
We’re very lucky our office building is dog-friendly and our neighbours have welcomed our four-legged colleagues with open arms, but not everyone is so fortunate. In fact, a recent employment survey indicated only 8% of employees in the UK have permission to bring their dogs to work all year round.
So, if you find yourself in the other 92%, how can you persuade your boss that a dog could be just what your office needs? Why not show how well your dog would fit in by signing up for next year’s Bring Your Dog to Work Day? Every year on the 22nd of June, workplaces around the country open their doors to staff dogs and raise money for animal charities. In 2018 the chosen charities were All Dogs Matter and Animals Asia. This year, happy dogs and owners shared selfies of themselves hard at work under the hashtag #Bringyourdogtoworkday, and the event is growing in size and success every year with high profile supporters, including Barack Obama!
While working together can be a great experience for dog and owner alike there are a few important considerations to bear in mind before introducing your pup to the boss:
1. Be considerate of co-workers who may be allergic or afraid of dogs.
2. Make sure your pet has everything they need – water, bowls, treats, poo bags and a comfortable, quiet place to snuggle up (a dog bed or blanket from home may help them settle).
3. Keep an eye out for signs your dog might be getting stressed, including panting and licking their lips. The working life doesn’t suit everyone as well as it does for our office dogs!
4. Make sure your dog is under control and that the office has been dog-proofed to avoid chewed cables and raided bins
5. You may need to check the insurance and health and safety policy of your workplace and make any adjustments as necessary. If your office has over 5 people a ‘risk assessment’ outlining what could go wrong and any precautions taken should be provided in writing.
6. Liaise with your work mates if there’ll be more than one dog coming in to make sure they get along and their reproductive status has been checked to prevent any surprises!
7. Make sure your dog makes a good first impression by being well groomed and up to date on their vaccinations, flea and worming treatment like the gorgeous Komo
8. Keep your pup occupied through the day with a puzzle toy or Kong – your co-workers will thank you for leaving the squeaky toys at home!
9. Dogs are more likely to drink in an unfamiliar environment so make sure you take them out frequently to avoid any little accidents (we learnt this the hard way!)
Some work environments such as restaurants and factories just aren’t suitable for dogs but if you can’t take your dog in you can still get involved by sharing a selfie with the hashtag or even better holding a raffle or bake sale for All Dogs Matter or another animal charity!
...What about Cats?
Ah yes! Let’s not forget our feline friends.
Cats require a more secure environment and due to their territorial nature may be less happy to leave the comfort of their own home. In fact, a company in Japan recently adapted their offices to be cat friendly and welcome them year round!
Maybe ‘Bring your cat to work day’ will be taking off soon?
Watch this space.
This blog was written by Emily Hopgood, Veterinary Student from the University of Cambridge.