– Doggo Agilconus Gekkota. Even though she tried to fit in and blend with the rest, she kinda stood out, but we don’t mind, because all Geckos are cute.
First popularized by tech giants like Google, Amazon, and even Salesforce, the concept of dog-friendly offices is now starting to spread. But surely there is more to it than just having more “instagramable” offices that appeal to the younger workforce…
Companies are starting to pay attention to the importance of employee satisfaction, their commitment, and the level of perceived support by the employer. The importance of the general well-being of employees and the reduction of stress is increasingly emphasized, as this contributes to the efficiency of workers and in turn has a positive effect on the performance of companies.
Pets in the office are associated with reducing stress, which contributes to comfort in the work environment and has a positive effect on employee health, morale and reduces absenteeism. The results of a survey conducted in the UK in 2019, indicate the positive effects of the presence of dogs on the affiliation that the individual feels towards the company and consequently less employee turnover. They also perceived a greater commitment to work, more friendships in the work environment, less use of social networks during breaks and, above all, better well-being among participants, who brought dogs with them to the offices more often.
Companies are choosing to create “dog-friendly” workspaces to minimize stress or to create better jobs. These decisions are based on scientific evidence showing that petting dogs increases satisfaction and reduces stress and that informal, relaxed company policies positively impact employee retention and increase creativity. Dogs can also be used to help facilitate social interactions and promote establishing personal bonds and help create a better working environment.
Recently a study has been conducted that interviewed employees of companies in Slovenia that already allow dogs in their offices about their experience.
All participants reported mostly positive effects of the presence of dogs in offices. Positive effects include:
- better general well-being – as dogs help by breaking the monotony of workdays and facilitating a more relaxed, calm environment,
- less stress – dogs offer unique silent, non-judgemental social support which has been proven to help lower stress levels more than when friends and/or family are present, they also help by acting as a distraction allowing the employees to get some emotional distance before facing the stressor again
- a sense of greater connection with coworkers – dogs in the office act as a link, something employees have in common which is then used as a conversation starter and helps deepen or even create new bonds between coworkers.
Of course, the presence of dogs in the office is not without risk. Among the potential negative impacts of the dog, participants listed discomfort due to fear and allergies, as well as disruption of the work process due to the lack of the dog’s training. The only actually reported negative impact is lower productivity due to increased number of social interactions with co-workers – which can’t strictly be regarded as negative.
Of course, this does not mean that dog-friendly offices are the answer for everyone – the safety of employees (and dogs) should always be prioritized. We also have to take into consideration employees who might have allergies or are scared of dogs – that is why we recommend getting a feeling of employee interest or reservations on the topic by sending out a Survey through the Gecko HRM App!