5 benefits of having dogs in the office
The offices are slowly being put back into use. With the necessary adjustments, we can get back to work in our familiar working environment. Yes! But for many dog owners this means that they have to find a solution, because leaving the dog at home alone is not an option! But why not take him to the office?
Let me introduce myself: I’m Kevin, marketing trainee at HoorayHR. Already in the first week of my internship, an interesting discussion started between my CEO Theo and our growth marketer Max. It was about dogs, office dogs that is. According to Max, this was a blessing for the team, the work atmosphere and productivity, while Theo thought it was a serious burden. A dog in the office, is that such a good idea? I went to investigate and spoke to 4 dog owners. Matthijs of VVH business Translations, Leroy of Marketing Schmarketing, Malou of Buro Dertig and Danielle of Grit Agency B.V. told me their experiences with the dog in the office.
Research has already shown that employees feel less stressed when they have a wagging four-legged friend walking around at the office. Aside from a reduction in stress levels, employees also experience better cooperation and an increased satisfaction about their work. Petting and cuddling animals releases oxytocin, also known as the cuddle hormone. This hormone plays a central part in feelings of connectedness and intimacy. It also reduces stress. The fact that cuddling an animal can provide relaxation in busy times was also shown at the University of Amsterdam. They offered their students stressed out by final exams the possibility to cuddle with puppies for 15 minutes in designated rooms. There are even companies who rent out a professional office dog for only €395 a day!
More than enough reason to assume an office dog is a valuable addition to the team. The 4 owners of office dogs told me why having a dog at the office works so well:
1. You get outside more often
A dog needs to be walked, that is, about 3 times a day. Because of this you will get outside more yourself. That open air does you good, especially when you have been focused for a long time. Many people forget to go outside because they are so busy. Because the office dog has to be walked, you have to go outside. And it’s really nice to take the dog out together with your colleagues as well.
“I don’t smoke, otherwise that would be a reason for me to go outside. I need that now and then, a little fresh air. Walking with Mike is perfect for that,” says Matthijs, owner of VVH business translations. Danielle, Guus’s owner, has also noticed that walking the dog helps to clear her head: “If I noticed that some of my colleagues were not having a good day, I would send them outside with the dog. They came back with a totally different energy. Sometimes we also took the dog for a walk when we had to talk to employees. That way you have more pleasant conversations than when you’re sitting across from each other in the office.”
Malou and Floor from Buro Dertig also get outside more often with their dog Appie.
2. Enthusiastic applicants
It isn’t easy to find enough people these times with the shortage on the labour market. Perhaps a sweet office dog can help you attract employees! All dog owners I talked to said they have had enthusiast applicants show up because of the dog. Malou, owner of creative agency Buro Dertig and dog Appie, always mentions in the vacancy that Apppie is part of the team. “This always leads to enthusiastic applicants, who like having a dog around at the office. We also hired someone who didn’t really like dogs, but they’ve become a real “Appie fan” overr time”. It is important to mention before the application or interview that you’ve got a dog at the office. Then, if someone is allergic to dogs they unfortunately can’t be hired. At VVH they’ve seen applicants withdraw because of the dog, but Matthijs says that most often they get a positive response.
3. Set the right mood for your clients
A good vibe is important. For the team, but also for clients. Besides the delicious coffee and colourful plants in the office, the office dog creates the right, informal tone. Thus, Mike the dog is part of the culture of VVH business translations. “Tasty espressos, a well-stocked candy jar and Mike,” jokes Matthijs.
Ziggy the dog (after Ziggy Stardust) from Marketing Schmarketing is a real Russian streetdog, rescued by Puppy Russia when she was only 6 weeks old. Leroy, owner of Marketing Schmarketing, adopted her and she is now a member of the team. She’s become a real mascotte for the company. “We had two Russian clients over some time ago and when they saw Ziggy they started talking Russian to her right away. It was really nice, a real ice-breaker”.
4. Less stress
What was already confirmed by research, was also heard in the interviews with both the owner and the colleagues of the office dog: A moment of cuddling with the dog works very stress-relieving. It is not only nice for the dog, but also for you. Danielle tells us that she had a colleague who would lay down with the dog on the couch when he was having a hard time. A short cuddle together. Afterwards he could start again with a fresh look. Leroy calls cuddling with his dog Ziggy a better form of distraction than his phone: “I think it has to do with a healthy form of distraction. It’s more fun to cuddle with your dog for a while, than to sit with your phone”. Get rid of that phone and take a dog to the office!
5. A wonderful mascotte!
People love animals, especially dogs. Many companies even have their dog on the “our team” page. This is a form of branding that works especially well at creative agencies. Appie from Buro Dertig has become a true Instagram model. They like sharing pictures and videos of company projects and Appie is a real hit. “We found that our followers like it when we share pictures and videos from Appie. We always got more likes and replies than with other posts”.
Take your dog to the office, but only if it’s allowed!
After talking to all the owners and reading all the studies, I have to conclude that Max was right: the office dog has an awful lot of advantages. Of course, not everyone likes dogs and some people are allergic, so not everyone can and wants to apply. In addition, the dog needs to be walked a lot, which is an obligation. Even when the weather is not so good, you will have to go out. You will have to plan more, so the dog owners tell me. A dog needs attention and love. You cannot leave him at home alone for a day. It is therefore not a good idea to get a dog ‘for the office’. Dogs need 1 boss, who is willing to take good care of the dog. Do you have a dog, or do you want one? Then take him to the office. Please note that not all offices allow it. And consult with your boss or colleagues first. Don’t they think it’s a good idea? Have them read this blog!