4. October 2023 By Sissy-Christin Lorenz
Does having a dog at the office promote a healthy, stress-free workplace?
Being flexible and taking a practical, straightforward, hands-on approach are part of adesso way. But does that also apply to dogs in the office? Dogs are a distraction. Plus, they are noisy and make a mess to boot. There are many prejudices in this area, because everyone most likely knows someone who has a poorly trained dog that you would definitely not want lying next to you in the office.
But what is life really like with an office dog? Why have they become so popular in recent years, and are there really as many drawbacks as some sceptical minds might like to claim? How does adesso deal with the issue? Is it just a gimmick and a distraction? Real life shows that this could not be further from the truth.
How having human’s best friend at the office can have a positive impact that goes beyond making the office a pleasant place to work
Mental illness is one of the most common reasons why employees are absent from work for extended periods of time on health grounds. Stress, as one of the main causes of this, is everywhere to be seen at many a workplace today. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent this. Being constantly exposed to stress can have a negative impact on the health and the general performance of an employee, which is not something that any employer likes to see.
What if there was an easy way to fix the problem? A number of research studies have shown that having a dog at the workplace can significantly reduce an employee’s stress levels. It can help reduce of the amount of stress hormones your body releases (cortisol being one example of this) and triggers your body to produce more endorphins. Having direct contact with a dog is even better, because here the cuddle hormone (oxytocin) and the happiness hormone (dopamine) are released both in the dog and in humans. This helps foster a more relaxed, less stressful working environment for those times when an employee has a few moments between project-related business and the constant stream of meetings, which in turn can have a positive effect on productivity and motivation in general.
Besides creating a better working atmosphere, dogs also promote social interaction and foster teamwork between colleagues. If employees are allowed to bring their dog to work with them, everyone feels a shared sense of responsibility for ensuring the dog is happy, whether there is only one or more of them in the office. Plus, having a good laugh together when the dog does something funny or sharing pet stories lifts morale and strengthens interpersonal relationships. As everyone knows, a pleasant working environment leads to higher overall employee satisfaction, and it can also boost creativity and make people more adept at solving problems.
If the team is in crisis mode, dogs are also well known for their ability to provide emotional support and comfort in trying times. Simply dropping by the office next to you and enquiring whether the office dog might be able to spare a moment can work wonders in such moments. That is after all why they are also affectionately referred to as feel-good managers. Taking a dog out for a walk during your lunch break also helps you clear your mind and recharge your batteries, not to mention being good for your cardio health. It is easy to set aside time in your busy schedule for a bit of fresh air during your break.
So having dogs in the office is nothing more than a nice little distraction for employees? Au contraire. There are many examples that show that a dog-friendly policy has a major influence on employee loyalty and on whether or not a company is seen as an attractive employer by prospective employees. Being able to bring your dog in to work with you can be a perk that might make them truly consider applying for a job posted by the company. At a time when companies are competing to land top talent, an employer’s dog-friendly policies can make all the difference. It did for me.
I knew beforehand that dogs were allowed in the adesso office I wanted to work at, which is why I thought of applying in the first place. Today, I am really glad that I can be fully productive and do not feel pressed for time on the days I am working in the Paderborn office, despite the long commute. I am therefore happy to be in the office whenever I am.
Having the option of bringing your dog to the office makes employees feel appreciated. This can also result in employees developing a stronger bond with the company over the long term, more motivated staff and them wanting to return the favour on some level. Loyalty is a critical factor in the long-term success of a company, because it reduces turnover and allows the company to retain experienced staff.
There are a whole host of benefits that show that having dogs in the office not only improves the working environment, it can also have a positive impact on employee satisfaction, on productivity and on a company’s attractiveness to skilled workers. So why do some companies still not have dog-friendly policies in place?
Not everyone is convinced. And that is perfectly fine.
Some people like apples; others like pears. Or, in this case, dogs or other pets. Or maybe they do not like animals at all. There is nothing wrong with that. In addition to the many advantages this brings, there are also other practical, everyday challenges when it comes to having a dog at the office. These need to be addressed so that as many colleagues as possible feel comfortable at work. Having a common understanding of everyone’s needs, setting down clear rules on how the team works together and having good communication are beneficial in day-to-day project work and when it comes to the topic of office dogs. They help put to rest any reservations people might have and prove a great aid in solving everyday problems involving our four-legged colleagues.
The Paderborn office is setting a good example here with its new, jointly prepared guide to dog etiquette. Here is a small excerpt with some of the main points covered in it:
- Your dog is healthy and dewormed.
- Your dog has undergone general training.
- Your dog is quiet and does not disturb anyone.
- Your dog must be kept on a lead outside your office.
- If you share the office with other adessi, you need to get their approval first.
- When there is a customer or some other event, do not let your dog out of your office.
- Keep your dog in your office. Do not bring it in common spaces such as conference rooms, the kitchen and the toilet.
- Your dog is docile, friendly and does not jump up on anyone. If your dog does not like strangers or other dogs, make sure he or she is kept clear of other dogs and people he or she does not know. Avoid stress for both you and your dog. Draw this to the attention of fellow adessi early on.
Bernd Leineweber, who himself owns a dog and is office manager in Paderborn, is not only the person behind the new guide to dog etiquette, he is also the one behind the decision to allow adessi to bring their four-legged companions with them to work. The great atmosphere at the office he runs and the happy colleagues you will find working there all go to show that there is an easy way to strike a better balance between an employee’s private and professional lives.
New work means many things these days. At adesso, it stands not only for agility, mobile work and cosy beanbags; it also means making sure employees are satisfied with every aspect of their job. This applies equally for adessi with two legs or four. It is a great place to work on every level.
Would you like to find out more? Or perhaps you might like to read research studies on the topic? Then take a look at Bundesverband Bürohund e. V.’s website: https://bv-bürohund.de/wissenschaftliche-untersuchungen/
Would you like to learn more about exciting topics from the adesso world? Then take a look at our blog posts that have appeared so far.