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Are dogs in the office the answer to all our prayers?

Posted by Megan Stollery

12-Jul-2017 13:21:00

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A recent study undertaken by Purina PetCare found that 42% of those aged 18-34 across the UK would be in favour of a dog friendly workplace, begging the question, when we’re all bending over backwards to strengthen our employer brand to attract those all important ‘future of the workforce’ millennials.  When only 32% of organisations consider their employer brand ‘strong’, is the introduction of dogs in the office the answer to all our prayers?


According to Reed, currently around 8% of UK employees are allowed to take their dogs to work and in the pet sector, this practice has been going on for years.  The popularity of Bring Your Dog to Work Day in June every year is allowing businesses to become alerted to the benefits of allowing dogs at work.  These benefits include a more relaxed atmosphere, increased cohesion and trust between colleagues who bond over the pets, and higher levels of exercise due to groups taking dogs out for walks at lunchtime. 


Sounds like a win win, attract the best workforce, and not only that, retain them because they’re happier, healthier and more successful.


However, there’s always a downside to consider.  What about all the talent you lose because they don’t like or are allergic to to dogs? There are also many industries which aren’t built for pets at work, the food sector, medical organisations, construction sites.  There is also the legal angle to consider, if for instance, John’s seemingly innocent looking Yorkshire Terrier BoBo rips his secretary’s throat out, who’s going to be faced with the headache of being sued?  That’s right, not John, but the company for implementing a dog friendly policy in the first place.


Having said that, more than a quarter of employers have said they would like to put a dog friendly policy in place and almost half of employers who had implemented a dog friendly policy stated it has had a very positive effect on the atmosphere in their office.  The answer for those considering this as an option might be to trial it.  You could introduce ‘dog Friday’ once a month and set some objectives to measure against over the course of six months say.  That way those who don’t want to be around the dogs could work from home on ‘dog days’ but it gives those that do want to embrace this idea the chance to get involved. 


It would be interesting to run an experiment through Broadbean’s job posting technology, using our source tracking technology to compare whether job adverts posted promoting a dog friendly working environment garner more engagement than those adverts without.  Let us know what you think, should we be welcoming Fido into the office or leave him to wait at home for the return of his master?


If you think your organization might benefit from a dog friend policy, check out Purina’s guide to implementing pet policies here