Man’s best friend, having one in your house is fantastic for the most part once you get over the problematic puppy toilet training, but we all went through it at some point ourselves, so it is hard to stay mad, particularly when they are so cute.
I never really had a dog as a kid, we had family dogs, but they were more my brother’s responsibility, truth be told I was never a big dog lover. I was always a little uneasy around dogs in general & anyone who has grown up in a council estate will know the difference between a dog & a dug as explained by the eloquent Scotsman Kevin Bridges here.
Angry terriers and bites are par for the course. As such, when Steph and I actually sat down to discuss getting a dog, it was her leading the charge, she is well versed in large dogs and animals in general & after some basic research, we found a local woman that we got a Collie/German Shepherd pup from.
Widget (A widget is an element of a graphical user interface (GUI) that displays information or provides a specific way for a user to interact with the operating system or an application) was the newest addition to our house once he was old enough to make the move.
He was always going to have some tech-related name to be fair, even though I pushed for Jobs, I was voted down.
Widget has eaten our kitchen table, the bathroom situation for the first month was not for the faint-hearted and he is a very picky eater, refusing to drink or eat outside and insisting on freshwater every time he goes to his bowl.
But we love him. He makes our house feel even more like a home and it is hard to imagine a time without him. He is now fully house trained, loves the beach and besides digging up the cables for the robot lawnmower, he is very well behaved for a young pup.
Most pet owners are clear about the immediate joys that come with sharing their lives with companion animals. However, many of us remain unaware of the physical and mental health benefits that can also accompany the pleasure of having a furry friend. It’s only recently that studies have begun to scientifically explore the benefits of the human-animal bond.
Pets have evolved to become acutely attuned to humans, our behaviour, and our emotions. Dogs, for example, can understand many of the words we use, but they’re even better at interpreting our tone of voice, body language, and gestures. And like any good human friend, a loyal dog will look into your eyes to gauge your emotional state and try to understand what you’re thinking and feeling (and to work out when the next walk or treat might be coming, of course).
Pets, especially dogs, can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve your cardiovascular health. Caring for an animal can help children grow up more secure and active. Pets also provide valuable companionship for older adults. Perhaps most importantly, though, a pet can add real joy and unconditional love to your life.
These are all pretty well-known facts at this point, but this is a business blog, so like all things in my universe I am most interested in how it will impact my work life and what benefits having a dog can provide in terms of business.
For a start, dogs have been proven to lower stress levels and we’re often at our most stressful when we’re at work.
Aside from being natural stress relievers, dogs also need their exercise, so taking your madra for a walk at lunchtime will encourage those who are often chained to their desk (like the idiot typing this) to get up and out into the fresh air.
With the ongoing pandemic, it is the only exercise a lot of people have had access to for quite a long time, personally, I like to break my workday up into two sections with walking the dog the halfway mark in my day, it allows me to switch off for 45 minutes rather than wolfing down lunch at my desk like I once did and being burnt out by the end of the day.
Switching off by taking Widget for a walk means I am refreshed both mentally and physically when the second part of my day begins (I highly recommend showering after your walk/lunch if you work from home, it sets you up for the rest of the day) and results in a higher quality of work.
Some other benefits include:
Great For Morale
Studies have shown that dogs can help alleviate stress, anxiety and isolation. Even if you love your job, everyone has crap days & when you get stressed or anxious, having a dog around is great for morale and reminds you that everything will be grand.
Fantastic for One-On-One Meetings
Meetings can be intimidating for some people, simply having your dog in the office will alleviate a lot of this and in my experience leads to a more personal relationship with clients. This is the key to long-standing business relationships.
Encourage Workplace Bonding
If multiple employees bring their pets to work, this could foster some friendships because it serves as an icebreaker. Stronger relationships between employees have been show to produce higher outputs across a range of sectors.
Dogs can improve your brand
Pet content is among the most popular on Instagram and other social media platforms. Widget is even named as an honorary staff member on our about page if you find yourself there. Having dogs in the office earns you instant kudos (and jealousy) from the outside world, which will have a positive impact on your brand overall.
Allowing dogs at work isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Just because it’s trendy doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for you. What could be a perk for some companies could bring stress for others.
Ultimately, it will be a conclusion that you will have to arrive at together. On top of all these serious benefits of dogs in the workplace, they are also fantastic fun. They always make you laugh, they're there at the end of a hard day, and they'll almost always be on hand for a reassuring hug when you need it!
For me personally, I love it and if you are patient in training your canine companion, they will reciprocate tenfold all the love and work you put into them and your workplace. Just don’t call me a fur parent.