Bringing your dog to work has a positive impact on your wellbeing, study finds

A new report ‘Taking Dogs into the Office' sponsored by Purina Human-Animal Bond Studies sponsorship program and conducted by researchers at the University of Lincoln (UK) shows that employees who often take their dog to work report 22 percent higher satisfaction with working conditions. This new research is the first to quantify the benefits and the impact of dogs in the office on work-related and dog-related outcomes.

It measures parameters such as employees’ engagement and wellbeing or their control over decisions at work, and analyses how the bond between dogs and their owners can be reinforced by being together as well in the office.

 A common myth until now has been that taking dogs into the office could be distracting. This new research shows that employees who take their dog to work report increased absorption in their work by a significant 33.4 percent and in their dedication to work by 16.5 percent - compared to the norm, with an overall increase in work engagement of 14.4 percent.  In fact, researchers suggest that the presence of a friendly dog may increase motivation and attention to set tasks 

Nestlé UK & Ireland, Purina’s sister company, has been welcoming dogs into many of its offices since 2015, with its main offices in Dublin, Gatwick, and York now has over 100 four legged colleagues on the payroll. The company is committed to promoting dog-friendly workplaces to help more people and pets enjoy the benefits of spending more time together. To support more organisations to become dog-friendly, Purina has developed the Pets at Work Alliance, a framework for other companies to follow and enable their employees to bring their pets to work. 

‘Taking Dogs into the Office’ research demonstrates that bringing pets to work increases employees’ performance and productivity and reduces employees’ intention to leave their job. These outcomes highlight potential benefits for companies that allow employees to bring their pets to work. Their employees may be more engaged and productive, and the company might be able to reduce their recruitment costs by avoiding the potential loss of their own talent. 

The findings also show that employees who often take their dog to work report 14.9 percent higher satisfaction with their home-work interface (i.e. in accommodating family and work commitments). In addition, they report 16.9 percent higher scores in their overall work quality of life compared to the norm and 16.6 percent higher control at work, which includes their perceived control over decisions being made at work.

Overall, employees scored 13.1 percent higher for their job-career satisfaction and 4.7 percent higher for their general well-being, with greater levels of happiness and life satisfaction. 

From the dog’s perspective, being able to go to the office with their owner may also be beneficial. Many dogs are left alone for long periods of time, and separation related problems are recognised as one of the most important threats to domestic dog welfare. Therefore, spending more time together also helps strengthen the bond between pets and pet-owners. 

Professor Daniel Mills, Professor of Veterinary Behavioural Medicine, Director of The Animal Behaviour Clinic at the University of Lincoln, and one of the authors of the research along with Dr. Sophie Hall says: “If you told employers there was a simple way to increase their workforce overall satisfaction with the working conditions, they’d be very keen to learn more.

"Our results show that far from being a distraction, (a fear expressed by some in our earlier work) allowing dogs in the workplace has the potential to improve employees’ focus and probably productivity too. Forward-thinking companies should consider very seriously if they can accommodate dogs in the workplace and the Purina Pets at Work programme can enable them to do this efficiently.” 

“Currently, 22 countries have established Pets at Work programmes in Purina and Nestlé offices”, states Bernard Meunier, CEO at Nestlé Purina PetCare Europe, Middle East and North Africa.

“At Purina, we have also supported 80 partners across Europe to implement our framework, become dog-friendly and join our Pets at Work Alliance. Our objective, as part of our commitment to promote pets in the workplace, is to support pets at work initiatives and help 200 companies join our Pets at Work Alliance by 2020”, Meunier confirms. Companies including UniCredit in Italy, wework in France, AFB International in Netherlands and McCann in the UK are already members of this global Alliance.

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