It’s no secret that ReThinc Advertising is a ‘dog-centric’ digital ad agency in Phoenix. Most of our staff has a dog, and those who don’t share their love with whichever dog is in the office that day. What can I say? We love what we do for a living, and we love doing it with at least one of our furry friends hanging around while we do it.
Early in my career, the thought of having a dog in the workplace seemed like a dream. These days, more and more offices are dog-friendly. At ReThinc, we take it a couple of steps further by interviewing dogs and then putting them on payroll. This helps us improve our interviewing skills while ensuring that our furry coworkers are compatible with the staff.
Of course, compensation is the key sticking point. Each dog has negotiated the number of cookies they get each day, as well as a healthy chew toy ratio and mandatory nap time.
But, I digress. Back to how and why your company can and should create a dog-friendly environment for the benefit of all.
Some time ago (after the recession and before Covid) companies came to realize the benefits of having a dog-friendly workplace. Being the first adapters that they are, ad agencies, lead the charge for a dog-inclusive workplace.
Validation came by way of science and if we’ve learned one thing this past couple of years, you can’t argue with science, right? Studies have shown the proven benefits of having furry friends at work. Here’s some scientific-backed evidence to take to your HR director, along with some tips on how to make your office a dog-friendly place for everyone.
Dogs Reduce Stress
Even when Leah brings her famous cheesecake to the office, you still can’t avoid stress in the workplace. That being said, studies show dogs can help lower stress levels and improve employee job satisfaction. I mean, really, even the toughest day is made easier when you see Duke laying on the couch. His adorable face and chill demeanor put things in perspective and make for a more comfortable workplace. Plus, you can’t walk by him without giving the big guy a little love, which he’ll be sure to reciprocate. Nothing reduces stress better than a little love, affection, and Duke slobber.
Dogs Boost Morale
The genuine love that a dog shows can’t help but make you feel better. Simply put, dogs don’t judge … they just love you unconditionally. That is a great reason to keep a dog around as much as possible.
One of the very best things about dogs is how they are always excited when you walk in the door. If you have a dog, the minute you hit the door they are wagging their tails with their tongue out reminding you of how important you are to them. They are truly happy to see you.
This is a great way to start or end your day. Dogs have this incredible way of making you smile, which therefore boosts morale. Researchers at Central Michigan University found that a setting where a dog is present is more ‘cooperative, comfortable, friendly, and enthusiastic.’
See? Science …
Dogs Encourage Breaks in the Day
When they gotta go, they gotta go. Dogs need frequent breaks, and honestly so do humans, we just don’t take them. Having a dog in the office forces you to step away every once in a while, take them out to do their business, or just stretch their legs in the sun. It seems counterproductive to be stepping away from your desk, but it helps you to refocus and, in the long run, can enhance the work you’re doing.
So, I guess what I’m saying here is that you can thank Rhodes, Ari, and Duke for all the great work you see out of our company.
Dogs Increase Productivity
Frequent breaks and time with your pup can lead to increased productivity. It’s been known that spending too much time on one project can decrease productivity. So, when people take short breaks, they come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on the project again. Dogs remind us to take a walk, get some sunshine and reset our minds.
What I’m hearing here is that a dog or two in the office will help get more things done.
Dogs Gain Important Socializing Skills
Yes, we humans benefit from having dogs around, but our furry friends also benefit from coming to work with us.
Raise your hand if you feel terrible when leaving in the morning and your dog is laying there staring at you with sad eyes ✋. Rather than staying home alone or at an expensive doggy daycare, office dogs get spoiled with attention and good company at work. This allows them to work on their social skills; knowing when to stay quiet (ZOOM meetings – we’re working on Ari), how to greet the FedEx driver (Is that package for me?), or how to properly make their rounds to each desk ensuring everyone gives them a healthy snack.
So, bringing your dog to work helps to make your dog a better dog.
Dogs are a Great REcruitment Tool
At ReThinc, we are fortunate that we don’t have to hire often, but when we do, we look to make sure all potential employees love dogs and that all dogs love people. (We’re working on Rhodes.) It’s one of the first questions I ask a potential employee. Oftentimes, potential employees will state that they were drawn to us because of our love of dogs. (Aren’t dogs the best?)
Things to Consider Before You Hire a Dog
We are fans of dogs in the workplace (obviously) but we do understand that there are things you should take into consideration before you start adding canines to your staff.
- All dogs should be well-trained (enough to not attack guests when they come in or chew on computer cords).
- Make sure your employees are OK with having a dog in the office (no allergies, no unhealthy fear of dogs, etc.)
- Consider any health or safety risks it could present to the dog. Make sure doors stay closed and that your beloved four-legged friend doesn’t wander off.
- Always strive to have a human be the first to greet a visitor. Dogs sometimes don’t like strangers and when they see someone familiar interacting with a new person, it puts them at ease.
- Keep healthy treats around. Just like our ‘people’ staff, be sure to pass out lots of praise (and cookies) for good behavior. Nothing says I love you like a cookie (are you listening, Ed?).
- Keep dogs collared at all times.
- Bring in beds and toys that make the office feel more like home. Our dogs do a lot of napping in-between time with their coworkers and toys.
- Mind your waste bins … it’s never a good idea to throw away food items in your workspace trash can, but it’s especially important not to throw away things where an office pup can get to it.
- Always good to keep a towel around … just saying.
- Each dog should have their own water dish. We drove this practice home by making all employees drink out of the same cup, which bothered everyone but Jordon.
These tips can help you to convert your office into a dog-friendly space with happy employees with hair on the floor and slobber stains on your pants. (We’re working on Duke).
Dogs can be a great addition to your work environment. Science tells us that dogs in the workplace increase productivity, improve the end product, and keep people smiling throughout the day. I’ll dogpile (see what I did there) on those points that there’s more to just bringing a dog to the office. It should be mutually beneficial for them and your staff.
Editor’s note: Not ready for a full-time furry employee, but wouldn’t mind petting a dog or two throughout the day? There are a lot of shelters that will bring some dogs for a little bark break, like AAWL. They’ll bring some adorable puppies or kittens to the office for a couple of hours. If you want to learn more, send me a note and I can fill you in.