An open house pet policy could play a key role in attracting hesitant employees back to the office – and re-meaning the term working dogs.
An open door pet policy could play a key role in attracting reluctant workers back to the office after health restrictions end – and giving a new meaning to the term working dogs.
As our politicians develop plans to reopen once vaccination targets have been met, bosses are faced with the question of how to get reluctant employees who have accepted to work from home back to the office.
Instead of helping workers take the office home with them, the business could focus on allowing workers to bring mentally and physically positive aspects of the home office to the CBD.
According to a new survey by the people2people recruitment agency, almost three in four workers said they would like to see a dog in their office.
In an additional survey of 600+ dog owners, 75 percent of respondents said their pet had improved their mental health during the pandemic, while 60 percent of respondents said their dog was a major reason they wanted to work from home. This is a strong indication of the challenge bosses face in encouraging workers to return to the office, especially as our two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, end the lockdown.
Aside from the service dogs dogs can provide, their role in relieving stress and anxiety is well known, as demonstrated, for example, in dog court programs that use therapy dogs to assist witnesses.
With the mental health of employees moving more and more into focus for bosses in the workplace and the stress of the pandemic lingering for years, pets could play an important role in the office.
“Our recurring COVID-19 bans and work from home are slowly taking their toll on the mental health of Australian worker Smith, who commissioned the research for the agency’s Oz Top Dog competition.
“There is so much research out there on the benefits and effects a dog can have in the workplace, especially when it comes to mental health and those who lock up with their WFH dog again.”
“Now is really the time for business owners and employees to think about going back to the office and how they can include employee dogs in the mix.”
Jacqui Arnold, co-founder of Esstudio Galleria, said her dogs Ox and Onyx have become a regular part of her work from home, and they will be when she returns to work.
“You bring joy into my life every day. When I feel bad, cuddling the dogs is usually a good way, ”she says.
“I’m sure there will be plenty of pooches out there who loved the lockdown and who spend so much time with their owners. I’m sure the owners as well as the dogs are concerned about leaving them at home alone and letting dogs come would definitely be an incentive for that person to go in and it would be more fun too. “
Famed dog lover Deborah Hutton has also called for companies to have an open house policy for pets.
“We all need love in our world, now more than ever. In happy and challenging times in our lives, having a dog by your side will soften your heart and make you feel like you are not alone, ”she said.
“I’ve spent my work life pretty much outside of a 9-5 work environment, and I’ve been able to take Billie to most places, to shoots, recordings, Pilates, and also to social events.
“The reaction was always the same, it put a smile on people’s faces and they opened up something in themselves where they could soften.”
Ms. Hutton said Australia’s love of pets could carry over to the workplace.
“In an office setting where you are surrounded by people with different energies who are not all attuned to each other, a dog strangely brings a human element into the work area,” she said.
“You can be the channel that connects people on another level, away from everyday life, stress and pressure, they have the power to support you in what really matters in life.
“A dog will remind you to walk away from the computer to pet it, take it outside to pee, a simple scratch on its stomach can be the perfect breaker. They help you be in the present.
“Australia continues to have one of the highest household pet rates in the world, and it has exploded during the Covid pandemic.
“If more companies were open to welcoming dogs into the office environment, people would undoubtedly be encouraged to return to the office more often. Start with one day a week and build from there. Encourage other employees who can’t have dogs to go for a walk for the coffee run. The connections that develop in your work environment will be invaluable for reasons you would never expect. “
TIPS FOR INTRODUCING PETS IN THE OFFICE
“Before announcing that your office is a dog-friendly place to work, it’s important to establish a policy and plan so there are no gray areas to make sure it’s a positive experience for everyone,” said Mark Smith, Managing Director by people2people’s Group.
A checklist of areas to consider includes:
1. Is the workplace suitable and safe for dogs?
2. Do you have to install security measures and a toilet room so that the dogs do not have direct access to kitchens, parking lots and moving vehicles?
3. Have you checked into all of the staff and do you have a mutual agreement between staff to have dogs there?
4. Are all dogs up to date with their vaccinations, flea and worm treatments?
5. Do you have a health and safety process and policy that you must share with owners and other staff to ensure the well-being of your staff and dogs?
“Once you have the Dog Workplace Policy in place, the final step is to work with your employees to make sure their dogs are ready to be in an office setting,” said Mr. Smith.
“The first day or two will really set the tone for her.
“First of all, dog owners should make sure their dogs are well socialized with people and other dogs, teach them a meet and greet routine, work out a possible list of walks, and make sure they get their dog to the bathroom just before going to the office . “
Visit oztopdog.com.au through Wednesday September 17th to enter your furry friend
to win people2people and the Oz Top Dog from PETstock. The categories include Australia’s top dog, Australia’s top dog in the office (& home office), Australia’s top dog with a job, Australia’s dog-friendly workplace.