It’s an alarming statistic: “70 percent of American workers feel disengaged in their current work environment.” What does this mean for employers in terms of productivity and employee retention? According to Gallup, this means that disengaged employees could cost companies $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity per year.
To combat these feelings of disengagement (and ultimately, loss in revenue), companies must seriously consider implementing strategic methods to engage their workforce. To do this, we must start with research to determine what perks attract talent beyond a sizable income and standard benefits. Talent whose personal and professional goals align closely with that of their employer’s is the magic formula to boost engagement and retention. So, what are some notable perks companies are offering to engage employees?
From free transportation, “nap pods” and catered lunches to on-site babysitters, free car washes and flexible work schedules, big-name organizations are pulling all the bells and whistles to attract and retain talent. But companies don’t need to spend tons of money for radical perks, rather it’s just a matter of understanding employee values and creating a work-life blend. For example, organizations like Urban Outfitters, Google, Ibex Outdoor Clothing, Amazon, Autodesk and Ben & Jerry’s have learned what’s meaningful to employees and incorporated it into the workplace. One example is dog-friendly work environments. “Ibex understands that having pets at work makes for a better work environment, but it’s also meaningful to the employees,” says one staffer. And Purina even has an entire website dedicated to honoring pets at work. It’s a simple perk, but one that helps reduce the stress of leaving a pet for hours at home alone while you’re at work.
In honor of Take Your Dog to Work Day (TYDTWDay) this Friday, June 20, we’ve researched some benefits to having dogs in the workplace as well as a simple guide for making your TYDTWDay a “pawsitive” experience.
In 2012, Virginia Commonwealth University released a study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management investigating the benefits of having dogs in the workplace. What they discovered was that dog owners who brought their pets to work saw a reduction in stress levels and a boost in overall work satisfaction. In fact, the authors of the study suggested one real-world application of their study might be to utilize dogs as a “low-cost, wellness intervention” tool.
Another commonly expressed benefit of having dogs in the workplace is their ability to break down communication barriers. As Linda Varrell, President of Broadreach Public Relations, stated, “If we’re having a real serious conversation or we might be having a disagreement and all of a sudden the dogs do something goofy, we start laughing.”
And then there are the obvious work-life blend benefits. Having dogs in the workplace tends to increase the number of small breaks employees will take, which studies have shown stimulates creative thinking and improves overall health. One Ibex employee stated, “Having our dogs alongside us at work helps us maintain a healthy and happy work-life balance, an oft-overlooked and difficult-to-achieve accomplishment in this busy world.”
Whether you’re an employee looking to convince your organization about the benefits of having dogs in the workplace or an employer wishing to boost overall engagement, wellness and ultimately your bottom line, here are some guidelines for successfully hosting dogs at your workplace:
• Get approval – Ensure no one is allergic or highly opposed to having dogs in the workplace. Dogs may not be accepted by everyone, so be sure to include these employees’ concerns when considering this option.
• Dog-proof – Make sure there is nothing within reach that could harm your dog or damage office property should they get curious.
• Well-groomed – You wouldn’t go to work unkempt, so make sure your dog isn’t either. This can reduce allergens and ensure your office stays clean.
• Engaged – Be sure to have plenty of toys and things for your dog to do while they’re visiting. After all, we want to ensure employees are meeting or exceeding productivity levels.
• Don’t force it –Just because you love your dog, doesn’t mean everyone else will. Never force interactions between coworkers and your four-legged mate.
• Have an out – If things aren’t going well for your dog at work, make sure you’re able to get him or her back home without an issue.
• Long-term – If you’re looking to have office dogs as a more permanent fixture, check out Purina’s “5 Steps to a Pet-Friendly Workplace.” They offer helpful suggestions on getting management and staff on board and adapting your facilities, as well as provide authorization/release form templates.
Still not convinced? Watch the video below and see how the simple act of inviting dogs into the workplace can boost morale and productivity. In the meantime, we wish you and your dogs an enjoyable Take Your Dog to Work Day – don’t forget to utilize the #TYDTWday hashtag to show everyone what your pup is up to around the office!