By Andrea Feinberg
June 25th is ‘take your dog to work day’, an annual event that might cause fear in the owner’s heart and brain. Seems counter-productive, no? Certainly, at first glance, it seems disruptive. Let’s see how we can connect this fun holiday to improved workplace behaviors or norms.
- Allowing employees to bring their dogs to work reflects a value of inclusivity, recognizing that pets are an important part of many employees’ lives. It acknowledges an awareness of one’s personal priorities and perhaps their ‘style’, choosing to be responsible for a furry family member. This can contribute to a positive and supportive work culture, increasing awareness of each other outside of the workplace.
- By hosting a “Take Your Dog to Work Day,” a company shows that it values work-life balance and recognizes the importance of accommodating employees’ desire or even a need to spend more time with their furry companions while still being productive at work, reducing potential stress or guilt associated with leaving pets at home.
- Fostering employee well-being: Research has shown that being around dogs can have numerous health benefits, such as reducing stress and increasing happiness. Allowing dogs in the workplace can contribute to a more relaxed and enjoyable work environment, enhancing employee well-being and job satisfaction. It demonstrates that the company values that overall well-being of its employees and knows how it will improve productivity, teamwork and general company culture.
- Encouraging collaboration and bonding: Dogs in the workplace can act as social catalysts, promoting interaction and fostering a sense of community among employees. Employees who may not usually interact or even have felt some animosity to others can bond over shared experiences with their dogs, facilitating collaboration and building relationships across different teams or departments. This event reflects a value of teamwork and camaraderie within the company.
- Hosting a “Take Your Dog to Work Day” can be seen as an example of a company embracing flexibility and embracing new ideas. It demonstrates a willingness to explore alternative work arrangements and adapt to changing employee preferences. This aligns with values such as openness, adaptability and can extend beyond a single day’s fun to fostering a greater degree of creativity and idea contribution.
However beneficial it might be, noise, unruliness and the occasional mess can certainly be challenging, both for the employees and the dogs who are in a strange environment. How can your company respond? More than that, what dogs can teach us about conflict resolution and productivity:
Establish guidelines and policies: Before the event, establish clear guidelines and policies regarding dogs in the workplace. This may include rules about dog behavior, designated areas for dogs, safety precautions. Communicating these guidelines effectively can help minimize disruptions and will set expectations.
Provide training and resources: Companies can offer training sessions or resources on dog behavior and workplace etiquette for employees who plan to bring their dogs to work. This can help owners understand how to manage their dogs’ behavior in the office environment, ensuring a smoother integration and reducing potential conflicts or disruptions.
Facilitate dog-free zones or alternatives: Don’t make those ‘non-dog’ people feel uncomfortable! Some may have allergies, fear of dogs, or other valid reasons for not wanting to interact with them in the workplace. To accommodate everyone’s needs, companies can designate specific areas as dog-free zones or provide alternative workspaces where employees who prefer to work without dogs can retreat. This can help create a balanced and inclusive environment for all employees.
Now, let’s explore what dogs can teach us about conflict resolution and productivity:
- Adaptability and flexibility: Dogs are known for their adaptability and ability to adjust to different situations. They can teach us the importance of being flexible in the face of changes or challenges at work. Dogs can remind us to approach conflicts or disruptions with an open mind and find creative solutions to maintain productivity.
- Effective communication: Dogs communicate primarily through body language, and they are highly attuned to nonverbal cues. Observing dogs can remind us of the importance of clear and effective communication in the workplace, whether through verbal or non-verbal cues. Dogs teach us that expressing ourselves clearly can contribute to better conflict resolution and improved productivity.
- Stress reduction and morale boost: As I wrote above, interacting with dogs in the workplace has been shown to reduce stress and increase overall morale. Dogs can teach us the value of taking breaks, engaging in stress-relieving activities, and fostering positive emotions. This can contribute to improved productivity by promoting a healthier and more energized work environment.
- Teamwork and collaboration: Dogs are social and often thrive in pack settings. They can teach us about the value of teamwork and collaboration. Watching dogs interact and cooperate with one another can remind us of the importance of working together, supporting one another, and leveraging each other’s strengths to achieve common goals.
- Living in the present moment: Dogs have an innate ability to live in the present moment and enjoy simple pleasures. They can remind us to focus on the task at hand and be fully present in our work. By embracing mindfulness and being fully engaged in our work, we can enhance productivity and efficiency.
So, ready to bring your pup to the office? Don’t forget a pup cup, the leash and plenty of ‘scritching’ time while ever being alert to the bigger opportunities at hand! Want more great tips like these? Don’t hesitate to get in touch so we can ensure your special, on-site event always contributes to your business’ productivity and morale.