Dogs and Work | An Employer's guide22 May 2023
Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 14 June 2023
So things are starting to open up, and plans are being set in motion for returning to the office. Are we all going back to the office full-time, is there going to be flexi-working, or are the days of working in an office over and to be replaced with working remotely? Every organisation is different, and it’s a challenge to know what is the right fit for your company, but there’s no doubt these discussions are happening throughout the country.
With 3.2 million new households in the UK becoming pet owners during the Covid pandemic there’s a good chance a few employees got a dog in lockdown. Others may have had their dog for a while, but during lockdown spent more time with them, and gave more attention to them than ever before. Have they thought about the plan for their dog on their return yet? Chances are they’re at least thinking about it. Some of them will have plans in place and are happy to return to work as normal, but some of them have seen a real shift in their priorities and will be wanting provisions for their dogs. With nearly 1 in 2 Gen Zers and 1 in 3 millennials stating they will consider looking for a new job if their workplace doesn’t introduce pet-friendly measures, it’s not something that should be ignored.
What can you do to attract, retain, and keep happy, dog owners in your organisation?
- Provide a Dog-Friendly Office - A dog friendly office can be great, but it is important that it works for everyone; dogs and employees. Essentially, not all dogs suit the workplace and not all workplaces suit dogs. For some organisations it can be an obvious decision either way on whether a dog-friendly office is a feasible option, but be sure to check out our article on dog friendly offices for more information.
- Provide External Dog Care Assistance - If a dog friendly office does not suit the company, the dog or the owner, or there will be an element of remote working, employees may be looking at different routes of dog care. There are some great doggy day cares and dog walkers throughout the country that can help. For employers we have recently launched BorrowMyDoggy for Work, a work benefit which allows employees to find trusted borrowers in their local area to help with their dog, which can be a cost-effective way for them to get dog care (they can save on average £300 a month) and also shows that your organisation understands what matters to its employees.
What about employees that don’t have their own dogs?
Not all employees that enjoy dogs can necessarily have their own at the moment. But that’s not to say they can’t enjoy the benefits of spending time with a dog. Access to a dog can result in the walker taking 6000 more steps a day, and also 80% of our borrowers felt less stressed after joining and spending time with a dog.
If you have a dog-friendly office, then dog’s can potentially be shared around, ensuring owners and those walking them are both comfortable, and agree to aspects such as foods to avoid, staying on lead etc and have had a clear discussion on who is paying for any damage the dog could potentially cause (even the best behaved dogs can have an upset tummy which can cause issues for nice carpets and cars!). However, if there are not enough dogs to go round, you’re not having dogs in the office, your organisation appreciates the benefits of insurance to cover for potential accidents, or there are times individuals are working from home, borrowing a dog from a trusted local person in the community can be very beneficial to both mental and physical wellbeing.
By borrowing a dog, the employee will get the opportunity to get away from their desk for a bit, get some fresh air and re-charge. Having a commitment to the dog’s owner will make that much more likely to happen than with just willpower alone to go walking. And dogs are scientifically proven to reduce cortisol (stress-hormone) levels and increase oxytocin (happy hormone) levels, so ideal companions for the lunchtime venture outside.
To find out more about BorrowMyDoggy for Work head to https://treats.borrowmydoggy.com/work/ or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Wondering how your dog will cope with you going (back) to work? Read our guide on what to do with dogs when at work!
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