At M51, we have many great things that make our job a lot easier and less stressful. My favorite is our dog-friendly work policy. As a proud owner of two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels named Lego and Puzzle who are by my side while I work every day, I am a prime example of how those two help me (and others!) get through the day in various ways. And I’m happy to say I’m not the only one in our office who feels that way.
Dogs and M51
Dogs are increasingly becoming a common sight in many offices across the globe, and ours is no different. If I may brag just a little bit – it all kinda started when I asked if it would be ok to have some furry creatures around. As a result, every once in a while, our place becomes a playground of sorts for dogs because there are lots of toys around and rarely do a few minutes go by before someone picks up one and starts to play with them.
We also have access to the roof so they’re pretty running around here all day, which is super cool on its own. As an owner, it’s doubly cool for me because there are times when I come home tired after a rough day and just sit and relax with them because they already got all their energy out.
Still, to someone who doesn’t have a dog or hasn’t experienced the joy of having them around while working, it might be surprising to learn all the benefits they bring with them. After all, all that running around and desire for attention have to be distracting, right?
Not necessarily. Naturally, not every dog is fit for office life. The great thing about Lego and Puzzle and their dog breed in general is that they are quiet, friendly and polite with others, and fairly low energy. These are all the qualities you’d want in a dog that’s supposed to be indoors, which makes bringing them to work all that easier for me. The majority of dogs my colleagues bring to work are like that – there’s rarely any problem with them!
So, what are the benefits these canines bring to an office environment?
Any job can be stressful but dogs have this amazing ability to lower the stress levels to almost zero. Scientifically speaking, employees without dogs had significantly higher stress compared to their colleagues that brought their beloved pets to work. Simply stroking a dog is linked to lower heart rates and blood pressure. It makes you feel better and as an added bonus, it soothes your dog(s) as well.
It’s a chain reaction. Less stress leads to…
Better work-life balance
…because you’re not thinking about them being left at home and what they are doing – you know where they are and that they’re alright. I’ll let our Head Conductor, Gali Liberman, take it from here:
“I can stay longer at work because I don’t have that voice in my head telling me I need to go home to take Richard out because he was alone all day. Things like that can affect you. I don’t mind staying an hour or two longer at work because I know he is safe and sound, and that everything is okay.”
I know exactly what she means. It’s reassuring to know that I don’t need to step out, go back home and take them out for a walk. Every now and then, my colleagues do that on their own. I didn’t have that peace of mind before, so having it now is one of the most comfortable things about working at M51. In fact, the same study I linked above found that owners whose dogs were absent had increased stress throughout the day, much like the group of people without dogs. Bonus points!
You are also more productive
Better work-life balance leads to more productivity on the job because there are fewer distractions that Gali mentions. A dog is part of the family, that’s just how it is. You worry about him/her in almost the same way you worry about your kid. But having them within eyesight and knowing they are having fun helps concentrate on work.
According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study, besides reducing stress, dogs make the job more satisfying for those with whom they come into contact. We all know that a satisfied worker is a productive worker.
What’s more, there are also strong links to increased productivity because you take all these little breaks, whether it’s a quick walk around the block, short playtime, petting, or any other temporary mental and physical break. These not only stop you from spending too much time focused on one thing, which negatively affects productivity and builds up stress, but actually up your productivity.
From a logistic side, the company benefits as well because employees avoid missing work for reasons like going back home to attend to their pets.
The math is simple: all those breaks involve some form of exercise. It might not seem much but at some point, you just have to get up and check on them, take them for a walk, or play around a bit. All those count as physical activity that’s beneficial for office environments, especially if you are glued to a desk most of the time.
Here’s a test for you: check how many extra steps you take because of the man’s best friend. I’m willing to bet those are more than you’d take otherwise.
Dogs make a positive difference in the workplace
There are many more benefits these furry pets bring to a workplace but it would take me a couple of days to write them all down. Let’s just say that some findings reveal positive things like boosting employee morale, making employees more cordial, increasing cooperation and creativity, and much more.
For me, bringing Lego and Puzzle to work makes my life easier. It really does make me more productive because I feel relaxed, happier, and more content knowing they are by my side. I even feel like they are experiencing more of life than they would if they were left in the house, sleeping or wandering around the house aimlessly. When you look at it like that, it’s a win-win situation for everyone, isn’t it?