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Office Dogs

Canine employees can be a valuable addition to the team

At the Alberta SPCA we have a number of dogs in the office. These are not sheltered animals looking for a new home, but our own pets that we bring to work with us each day. And while the case for bringing your dog to work is a little more obvious for an organization like the Alberta SPCA, there is lots of research that shows there are benefits for employers and employees to have a dog-friendly policy.

Multiple studies have examined the stress level of employees who bring dogs to work and many of those studies are summarized here. What the studies consistently demonstrate is that the stress level of staff members is reduced when canines are present. In some cases, people reported that not only were the dogs able to offer social support for workers, they did so in a nonjudgmental way making them a better support group than close friends or family members.

On top of reduced stress, research has found other benefits of having dogs in the work place including:

  • Improved employee interactions
  • Improved productivity
  • Improved mental health

 

Farrah (left) and Ollie (right) are two of our newest team members.

Of course, not every workplace is an ideal environment for dogs, and not everyone at a work place may wish to have interactions with dogs. Here at the Alberta SPCA, we have a Pet Policy, and a Pet Committee that reviews issues that arise. It is important to have the guidelines for bringing a pet to work clearly laid out so everyone understands what is acceptable and what is not. At our office, we have designated play times for the dogs, a defined area outside for biology breaks, and the kitchen is off limits to canine employees. Owners are responsible for keeping their pets under control and for cleaning up if they make a mess. And as you would expect, the dogs must have their vaccinations and licences up to date, and they cannot be disruptive or aggressive.

Or try having part-time work place dogs

If having dogs at work full-time is a situation that doesn’t make sense for your business, but you would still like to have a pet-friendly policy, you may want to consider part-time canine staffers. Chatters Salon’s Canadian head office recently introduced “bring your dog to work” day, where staff can bring their puppy friends in for the day. The company has found the day helps build morale and helps team members bond over their pets.

You can learn more about the Chatters Salon office dogs on their blog.

*Much of the information cited here came from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, and can be found here.

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