We might just think of dogs as fluffy friends, rather than connecting them to key KPIs for our teams like focus, time management, stress-relief, and improving mental health which is extremely important in today’s flexi-working world. But there is more of a connection than you think…
BorrowMyDoggy owner, Lily, talks us through her experience of dog ownership and work.
“I got a dog 11 months ago, it wasn’t a rash decision, it was a calculated step, and being at home during COVID meant I had the most time to train her to be a well behaved adult (the old commute didn’t lend itself to having a dog around). But the world is changing, whether companies like it or not, and 11% of the UK has got a pet in the last year
My pup Rhubarb brought me many things… From tears of joy to tears of frustration (they do say it’s like having a kid for a reason) but more than anything I’ve noticed some unexpected benefits, that have had a huge impact on my work life, entirely for the better, and shows that you shouldn’t underestimate the power of dogs.
1) TIME MANAGEMENT: I’m not someone who naturally likes a routine, I’ve struggled to get up out of bed when the alarm is blaring, and am the kind of person who can never decide if she’s a morning or evening shower person, but a dog is an immediate, reinforced structure to my day. It’s clarity in the seemingly endless monotony of lockdown. She has to go to the potty in the morning, I have to tear myself from my screen at lunch to give her a walk, and at the end of the day, she needs me again. This means that when I’m working, my eyes are glued to the screen. I’m making the best use of my time, it’s precious and limited - procrastinator no more.
2) FOCUS: I’m very curious what everyone’s “not stepped one foot outside the front door” record has been over the past year. Before I got Rhubarb mine was three days. It’s safe to say going from pyjama trousers to joggers doesn’t inspire the mind, since having Rhubarb however, the fashion conscious side of me is forced to change for public appearances, not to mention the access to sunlight (sometimes...it’s still England after all). Upping my steps game has meant an overall increase in focus when I’m back in the house, it’s naturally diversifying my daily activities, just by adding a four-legged friend. In fact dog owners average 3,000 more steps per day, making Fitbits and Apple Watches sing.
3) SHUSHING “SHEILA”: Let’s call the annoying voice of doubt and anxiety in your head Sheila, she’s rather persistent, and she is constantly focused on worst case scenarios: “What if you get COVID? What if that person who sneezed when they passed you gave you COVID”. Yeah, Sheila is rather annoying (no hard feelings if you are called Sheila!) and though maybe somewhat valid, she’s largely unhelpful. While we all have these thoughts that plague our minds and make us miserable, there is a kind of magic that having a dog around can cast on them, you simply don’t have enough time to focus on them, they aren’t so persistent, you aren’t so focused on them, all because your furry friend demands your attention much of the day, and keeps you company in the quiet moments, making them not quite as tough.
4) SMALL TALK BECOMES LARGE TALK: I’m the first to say that small talk can drain you. However, in the past year the absence of people has meant firstly, I’d love a little more small talk in my life, and actually when you have a dog, small talk quickly progresses into lasting relationships with people locally and colleagues alike. When we first started visiting the park with Rhubarb, it was mainly chat about her age, breed and temperament with other owners, but after the fifth or sixth time you see them, that progresses into chats about life in lockdown, job updates, and eventually exchanging numbers to coordinate park visits and checking in on each other. It’s a sense of community I couldn’t have expected before having a dog in London of all places.
5) ADDED JOY TO THE MOST MUNDANE OF DAYS: There’s something beautiful about dogs in their randomness, their silly antics, the way they howl when certain songs play, or their silly sleeping positions that looks about as comfortable as trying to sleep in the middle of performing a contortionist’s act in the circus. They add purpose to our walks, tranquility to our down time and passion to our interactions with other people. It’s safe to say that we largely miss out on that in our lives apart from the adorable randomness you also see in young children, however dogs maintain that wonder and silliness throughout their lives, adding colour, joy and magic to your life - quite literally making them a reason to get up in the morning.
This is not to say that it doesn’t take A LOT of work to have a dog, because it does. However, the benefits of having or borrowing a dog have huge impacts on your life, many of which don’t eliminate the difficulties of swimming through life, but rather feels like the equivalent of giving you a nice set of floaties to lighten the load.”
It’s safe to say dog’s bring a bright light into our lives, and not just our personal ones. Interested in the benefits of BorrowMyDoggy as an employee benefit? Learn more and register your interest by contacting us directly at email@example.com