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It’s a Dog’s Life – canine companions increasingly used to boost employee wellbeing

Crufts 2017 ended on Sunday with Best in Show awarded to an American Cocker Spaniel named Afterglow Miami Ink. And let’s not overlook the epic performance that was Olly on the Rescue Dog Agility Course.

I’m not ashamed to admit it – I love Crufts. I’ve really gotten into it over the past few years, using it to fill the dog-shaped void in my life. I don’t own a dog for a number of different reasons – the main one being that I can’t take a dog to the office with me (well, not *all* the time anyway – we’d never get any work done). But many workplaces do now offer a ‘dog-friendly’ office policy and over the last few years it has become more and more common for people to take their dogs to work. There’s a whole bunch of companies out there that actively encourage their employees to bring their dogs into the office with them. And it can have great benefits.

Research in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that having a dog at work was calming and reduced stress, and that this is true whether it’s your dog or someone else’s -I know from our experience at Ruder Finn, when on occasion someone brings their dog into the office for the day, it’s well received and makes for a fun atmosphere.

But what happens when there’s a dog in the office every day? I spoke to Natalie Keen-Haudin, Associate Director at Roots Research – a dog friendly company in Brighton – who shared what having a dog in the office brings to her team.“Having a dog in the office really picks up morale, especially after a tricky client call or meeting and it gives all of us a great excuse to get up and take a walk at lunchtime – so it’s great for our mental and physical health.”

And they are not the only place to have dogs at the office – in 2015 Nestle became the UK’s most dog friendly company and now have nearly 50 canine colleagues. It’s a well thought out programme, with dogs going through a three stage induction and assessment before they can spend time in the office. They consider everything from the dog’s health to their behaviour, and they have a three-month probation period before dogs can join the team full-time. It’s having these ground rules that has made the scheme such a success.

If you’re considering a dog friendly office here are some top tips on creating your own bring your pet to work policy. And if you’re not quite there yet, you can test it out on Bring your Dog to Work Day, an annual nationwide event, which encourages employers to welcome their employees’ four-legged friends into the office for the day.
Do you have dogs or even cats in your office? We’d love to know how it works for you. Or if you have any tips to share on making your office pet friendly, share then with us in the comments below.

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