It’s official – having a dog around the office is good for you. Studies show it can improve your work life balance, boost productivity and morale, make employees more trusting of one another, inspire creativity, and even lower stress levels.
So far so easy. When it comes to choosing a canine friend, that needs more thought.
Here’s the rundown on what breeds are best suited to office life, how to manage them around the desk and the photocopier, and three reasons why your next team member should have four legs.
DOGS LOWER STRESS LEVELS
The presence of a dog is now proven scientifically as one of the ways to manage stress in the workplace! Researchers from the University of Buffalo measured the stress levels of 48 stockbrokers in New York City. Half were being treated with a hypertension drug, and half were given a dog. Those with the four legged friends were found to have more stable blood pressure and lower heart rates. Waggy tails all round.
DOGS RAISE MORALE
A major dog food manufacturer’s report Pets at Work revealed that employees who brought their dog to the office considered it a better perk than coffee or a parking spot. Eight out of ten of those surveyed said it made them feel happier, more relaxed and more social.
Which brings us to our next point...
OFFICE DOGS ENCOURAGE TEAM BONDING
Teamwork is a crucial foundation for a thriving, sustainable business. The benefit of a dog in the office is that they are naturally social creatures who are happy to bond with new human friends – and help the humans form bonds too. Team members who may not usually speak to one another have the opportunity to break the ice over their mutual affection for the office pooch.
Taking a dog out for lunchtime walks or a game in the park goes a long way towards building camaraderie, and it’s a great way to integrate new team members into the company culture.
THE 5 BEST OFFICE DOGS
Some dogs are suited to the office better than others. Picking the right one usually comes down to the type of working environment you’re in, and the dog’s personality.
Charming, social, smart and affectionate, the qualities that make beagles a family favourite also make them a top choice as an office dog. With a preference for human contact over wide-open spaces, beagles thrive in an office environment. As curious as they are social, they will follow their nose throughout the entire space, making it easy for everyone to interact with them during the day. Quick tip – keep your trash cans out of reach, or make sure they have sturdy lids.
According to recent statistics from the RSPCA, Labradors are the third most claimed breed in Australia. It’s no wonder why, considering this breed has buckets of charisma and charm to spare. Friendly, happy and loyal to a fault, they’re never more content than when they’re by our side. That said, they’re also comfortable entertaining themselves or lounging nearby while you do your work. Due to their intelligence and obedience, they’re very easy to train, which makes them great little helpers around the office.
An obvious choice for wining over the entire office, these wrinkly-faced creatures might come in a small package, but they’re big on personality. As loving and energetic as they are, they can also be a quiet presence. They won’t bark at every sound, which makes getting work done much easier, and they love nothing more than a little TLC.
Boxers might look intimidating from afar, but when you get up close and personal they’re one of the most loving and playful breeds around. Naturally high-spirited, a boxer’s personality will make it the life of the office – and a great distraction from mind-numbing or stressful tasks. Better suited to a bigger workplace, boxers love being part of the pack - the bigger the office is, the more enjoyment they will get.
- Mixed breed
Re-homing a dog from the local pound or the RSPCA is a philanthropic and humane undertaking – and can pay you dividends in love and loyalty. A reputable organisation such as the RSPCA has dogs checked by a vet, de-sexed and brought up to date on vaccinations. Staff who care for it will tell you about its character. Give a dog-in-need a safe, caring and welcoming home – or office – and you’ll have the most devoted recruit you’re ever likely to make.
HOW TO DOG-PROOF THE OFFICE
Once you’ve decided to bring a dog into the office, you’ll need to make the space suitable. Some dogs love chewing things, so make sure any loose electrical wires are taped down and personal belongings are out of reach. Consider getting closed waste containers, as dogs love nothing more than following their noses and rummaging for treats. For your dog’s safety, make sure there is nothing harmful or toxic in the office – including certain plants or food items, office cleaners, highlighters and pens. If you don’t want the dog wandering into areas such as meeting rooms, simply make sure you’ve blocked them off properly.
READY TO HIRE YOUR NEW EMPLOYEE?
Having a dog around the office can make for a better working culture. Even just petting them will make you happy and reduce stress. The type of dog you pick will depend on where you work and the kind of space you have. But just know that the breeds mentioned above are adaptable to most office situations – as long as there are people around willing to interact with them. So do your research, dog-proof the office, and put a furry new face on the payroll.