The Pooch Positive Invitation to Work Is your dog suffering from a case of separation anxiety? You’re not alone. With life returning to ‘normal’ many dogs and lockdown puppies are experiencing stress and anxiety as their owners return to the office – but, what about bringing your dog with you? We discuss the benefits of dog-friendly offices and why more companies should be open to adopting this policy! Since the Prime Minister’s announcement that the UK was going into lockdown in March 2020, our lives have become adapted to the new normal. We’ve adapted to working virtually at home, we’ve adapted to taking greater precautions with our health, and we’ve adapted to spending more time at home with our families. For some, returning to a pre-COVID normal life seems daunting. And it’s not just humans that are apprehensive, our dogs have adapted too! Separation anxiety is a big concern for owners being asked to return to their offices after over a year of increased contact with their pets. But, there is good news! There is a dramatic increase in the number of companies encouraging owners to bring their dogs to work. A basic search on LinkedIn found 611 London-based results including ‘dog friendly’ in the office description which is a huge step in the right direction. What are the benefits of a dog-friendly office? There are various reasons for this change in attitude towards dogs in the workplace. The increased awareness of staff mental health appears to be a major driving force as companies seek to improve the work-life balance. Owners and dogs reap amazing benefits to their stress levels which has a positive impact on their prolonged productivity and efficiency. This benefit stems from both the passive, soothing effect of pets and the logistical, time-saving improvements such as avoiding the rush home to let the dog out. Overall, the benefits appear invaluable to almost all dog owners. Can dogs in the office create a more positive work environment? If your company is yet to be swayed in the dog-friendly direction, we suggest presenting research by The Kennel Club to management. Surveys showed that 67% of people think dogs promote a friendly work atmosphere and 45% of people think that dogs make a company more attractive to job seekers. The pandemic has encouraged the workforce to re-evaluate the value of life outside of work, making it the priority of many companies to present themselves as encompassing a pleasant and friendly culture. Dog-friendly offices: things to consider Of course, there are many considerations that need to be made before bringing your pet into the workplace. The most important being that your pet is fully house-trained. When you first introduce your dog to the office, they are likely to be exposed to new, and highly stimulating stimuli and dogs may become excited or anxious which can sometimes lead to unpredictable behaviour. You should also consider how social your dog is, not just with people, but with other dogs too. Will your dog be ok around your colleagues’ dogs? Tips for bringing your dog into the office Build it up: rather than bringing your dog into the office for a full 9-hour stretch, consider, if possible, bringing them in for a couple of hours at a time so they can get used to the new environment and not feel overwhelmed. Eventually, their surroundings will become familiar and they’re more likely to feel calm and settled. Provide calming support: you could also consider offering a natural calming supplement to help your dog in the early days of office life, we recommend our Relaxing Moments Chews which can be given as treats on the go or be crumbled into your pet’s breakfast. Pack a dog bag: just like you would with a child, pack a dog bag for the office! It’s inevitable your dog may start to get a little bored and in need of stimulation whilst you’re taking calls so be prepared! Pack treats, toys and chews to ensure your dog has plenty to keep him or her occupied with. Watch out for hazards: it may sound over the top, but offices are generally full of equipment, and valuable equipment too! Watch out for any potential dangers and hazards, have a walk-around and look out for any possible issues. It might be that cables need tying up or even tasty snacks moving off of the side! Designated pet zones are ideal if your employer is willing to forgo a little space for the pooches. For further guidance on bringing your pet to work, The Kennel Club has lots of handy tips, and if you’d like to know more about our range of calming supplements, feel free to contact us.