Take Your Dog to Work Day
A special canine celebration, Take Your Dog To Work Day, is Friday, June 21. This annual event has two main goals. The first is to raise awareness of the many benefits dogs provide through companionship, even in professional settings. The second is to help promote adoptions from shelters, rescue groups and humane societies.
If your small business hasn’t participated in this event before, consider making it part of your plans this year. Take Your Dog to Work Day can be a fun way to boost morale and productivity while also helping out a worthy cause.
There’s no shortage of academic research documenting the positive impact pets can have on a workplace. As most small business owners know too well, work can be stressful, demanding and draining. The presence of a pet can provide a positive break from the negatives associated with difficult work. Having pets around in professional environments has been shown to reduce stress levels, improve interpersonal communication, and raise office morale. For some people, the presence of a beloved pet and the accompanying sense of elevated relaxation makes it easier to tackle complex tasks or solve work-related problems. Other people experience a greater sense of job satisfaction when they work in the company of their pet.
The benefits of working alongside animals aren’t all for the employees. A happier, better-motivated team is an obvious benefit to any business and its owners, and improvements to office morale and communication can help make that happen. Employers can also benefit from reduced absenteeism and the increased productivity that comes from improving your staff’s work-life balance. In some cases, research has shown having pets in retail stores can help boost sales too.
Of course, before you start permitting pooches to visit your workplace, it’s important to take care of a few things first:
- Talk to your staff and make sure there’s no one who objects for any reason, be it fear of dogs, cultural sensitivity, or an allergy. Consider allowing people to raise objections anonymously, in case they’re uncomfortable with their feelings and how they’ll be perceived.
- Pup-proof your office to make sure there’s nothing dangerous a dog could get into. Depending on where you work, pay attention to things that could scare or irritate your pet, such as riding in an elevator or loud noises from machinery.
- Make sure any animal that spends time at your business has been checked for disease, cleaned and groomed, and has the appropriate temperament for a setting with multiple people and possibly other animals.
- Bring along all necessary supplies including bowls for food and water, a leash and collar, a chew toy or something to keep your dog from gnawing on your desk, and whatever you’ll need to clean up any accidental messes.
- Keep your animal on its normal schedule and make sure it gets outside regularly for bathroom breaks and to let off steam with a little play. It’s also important to manage any conflicts with your own schedule – you don’t want a dog howling for food in the middle of an important meeting.
- Have an exit strategy for your pet. If things aren’t going well, arrange for a family member or dog sitter to come by and take your pet home. Never leave your pet unattended inside your vehicle while you’re working.