Have you considered canine employment?

by Stephanie Zillman15 Jun 2012

If the chilly weather and overcast days are keeping morale low at your workplace, it may be time to offer workers the promise of a warm cuddle when they get to work. While this may sound like a harassment suit waiting to happen, don’t fear – we mean a cuddle from man’s best friend.

Since the day was launched in Australia back in 2008, the inaugural Take Your Dog to Work Day has been popular in a number of workplaces around the country and will fall on the 22nd June.

The event hit our shores after becoming extremely popular in the US, where it was started to raise awareness for the number of unwanted pets that need a home. In Oz, organisers are also trying to raise the profile of adopting mature dogs, whilst touting the benefits of keeping a dog on staff, permanently.

According to stress expert Dr Roger Henderson, having a dog nearby in stressful situations can have a calming effect and release human ‘feel-good’ hormones. Additional benefits of keeping an office pooch include reduced nerves, indigestion, headaches, coughs and tiredness. “I would like to see many more dogs involved in working environments,” Henderson said.

Walking the talk

Experience gift voucher company Red Balloon enjoys the company of their office spoodle, and corporate engagement specialist James Wright said they see him as a living embodiment of having a sense of humour at work.

“He runs about the office for most of the day and you can take him for a walk at lunchtime if you want. If you're lucky he'll sit at your feet underneath your desk on a cold day.”

Music management company, HPR, is another advocate of pet therapy. ‘George, my miniature Schnauzer, comes in to the office five days a week. He’s a great excuse for all of us to let off steam – if you’re stressed you can play with him and his pull-rope, or take him for a walk, and get out of the office for a while,” director Graham Hill said.

Hill urges other companies to take note: “If more people had a dog around the office, then staff would be able to take a break and laugh throughout the day. The benefits are immeasurable; just the act of looking at George is enough to make people relax and smile.”

Top dogs of the office

The following are the top breeds recommended by vet Desiree Mitton of the charity Blue Cross (which also organises the annual ‘Take A Dog To Work Day’).

  • Golden Retrievers: “They’re patient with people, all-round good characters,” Mitton said.
  • Greyhounds and Dalmatians: Also recommended by Mitton, because they are non-threatening.
  • Yorkshire Terriers: “Sweet in the office, but sometimes stroppy, like Jack Russells.”
  • Beagle: “They also make people relaxed.”
  • Turkish Karaban

Dobermans and pit bulls were not on the list.


Top Lighter Side

Best and Worst Jobs of 2012: are you on the list?
Office seating should be determined by employee moods

Urban HR dictionary: Your guide to modern office speak