Businesses are being encouraged to go pet-friendly following reports that it could increase youth productivity. Pet food company Purina has released a toolkit outlining the benefits of bringing a dog into the office, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to make your company pet-friendly.
The research revealed that dog owners are likely to be more active, more alert and less stressed, even extending your lifespan by an average of three years. By extension, the report believes that bringing a dog into the workplace will lead to better performances, higher engagement, less sick days and increased sociability, with 84% of people believing it’s easier to talk to others if they have a dog. Despite this, only 18% of UK businesses currently welcome pets, something that Purina is hoping to change.
“We wholeheartedly believe that people and pets are better together – and being at work should not stand in the way of that,” said HR director of Purina, Paul Steadman. “It helps us create a stimulating environment where our people are happy, have fun and can perform at their best.”
Half of workers admitted they’d bring in their pets if they were allowed, and it was seen as particularly important for the younger generation. 47% of 18-24 year olds consider an office dog to be a perk of the job, compared to 38% of older workers. The main barrier for businesses is hygiene and smells, as well as 39% citing allergic employees, although smaller, hypoallergenic dogs can be used as workarounds.
With guidelines such as ensuring the dog’s owner remains responsible for its actions, as well as making sure the dog itself is sociable and used to being around others, distractions can be kept to a minimum and can offer employee benefits such as higher self-esteem, a welcoming atmosphere and even reducing our blood pressure and cholesterol.
“We enjoy the benefits of Pets at Work every day,” continued Steadman. “People are more relaxed and sociable. Dogs in the office reduce stress, promote wellness and get people talking more. For the owners, it improves work-life balance. For non-owners, they get to experience the fun of being around dogs. And the dogs themselves love it, too, of course!”