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Picture the scene – you are sat at your desk typing furiously away, it is 9am and you have an 8 hour day ahead of you. You are feeling stressed because although that may seem like a long time there are just never enough hours in the day and you have deadlines you aren’t sure you are going to be able to meet.
Then you feel a wet nose press into your leg, you look down and see puppy dog eyes looking up at you as a tail wags frantically back and forth.
You instantly feel calmer – and after a 10 minute break in the fresh air (so you aren’t cleaning poop off the office floor) and giving your furry friend a tickle behind the ears – you feel ready to get back to work with renewed motivation. The result; you meet your deadlines and don’t feel drained at the end of the day.
We should take breaks throughout the day – those who get away from their desks are actually more productive then those who don’t – but nearly two thirds are working through their lunch breaks.
Research has shown that your brain can only focus for 90 to 120 minutes at a time before it needs a break, so staying chained to your desk from 9 to 5 will actually have a detrimental effect on your productivity. You should try to schedule in breaks of at least 15 minutes throughout your day, making sure it is a proper break away from your desk – and what better way to do that than with a dog?
Around 8% of US and UK employers already allow dogs into the office including Nestle, who provide the pups with their own ‘Passpawt’ after they have gone through a behaviour and health assessment to ensure that they are suited to the office environment. Once they have had their interview and been offered the job role, this company provide a play area specifically for the pups and a Wall of Fame that displays their portraits.
Meanwhile, Scottish brewery, Brewdog, allow paid Puppy Parental Leave or Pawternity Leave – a week that enables new dog owners to spend quality time with their pooch.
As well as encouraging you to have a much needed break away from the screen, there are many benefits to having a four-legged colleague. Firstly, just stroking a dog lowers stress levels and can boost moral – a positive move towards rectifying the 45 million days and £2.4 billion that are lost to stress.
Similarly, data from the Blue Cross states that the presence of dogs in the office prevents people missing work due to sickness. They also promote cooperation within teams which has been put down to the “trust hormone” (oxycontin) which is emitted when we stroke our furry, four-legged friends. Plus, if that wasn’t enough – they provide opportunities for social interaction between meetings and deadlines.
Companies may also find that the number of CV’s arriving in their inbox increases rapidly the day they become dog friendly because as a nation of dog lovers, it is a huge perk and means we don’t have to spend money on dog walkers or boarders or rush home at the end of the day.
A survey conducted by Banfield pet hospital last year found that 82% of employees feel a greater sense of loyalty to pet-friendly companies, 88% think pets improve morale and 86% say they reduce stress.
Of course, there are potential downsides such as barking and poo on the floor – but taking those regular breaks will avoid this and actually the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. Plus, while it is easy and low-cost for companies to implement, it will have huge returns for them in the long-run.
What is stopping you from getting a dog of your own – the money? It could well be, they can cost anywhere from £16,000 to £31,000 over their lifetime! Perhaps it is where you live, we are ‘generation rent’ after all. Or maybe it is the fact that you are out of the house climbing the rungs of the seemingly ever-growing career ladder for at least 9 hours a day.
Meanwhile, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home alone are caring for more than 3000 dogs each year with, on average, 13 arriving each day. These dogs, sit in their cold kennels, craving the care and attention that so many of us simply don’t have the time to give them.
So, what if we could combine the two – what if the working day was no longer an obstacle? Just imagine how many more dogs could be rescued and how much more productive we would be while sat at our desk for 8 hours a day. Just a thought…
If not, there is always 23rd June – Bring Your Dog To Work Day – one day couldn’t hurt, could it?