For businesses that acknowledge the significance of mental health when it comes to employee wellbeing, fulfilment and productivity, allowing dogs into the office is not only about responding to how employees’ lives may have changed as a result of the pandemic. It is also a relatively simple, yet powerful tool in supporting team members who may be struggling.

by Ben Gateley

Some 3.2 million households in the UK acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic. As we work from home, some have made an appearance in our working lives – you may have seen the Zoom meeting in which MP John Nicolson’s cat Rocco made an appearance in a Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee session.

For employers, lockdown pets (especially dogs) may be complicating a return to the office as employees juggle their new commitments and the cost of doggie day care. Before the pandemic, allowing dogs into offices was something only offered by the most culturally progressive businesses. Of the big brands, Google, Apple and Amazon were some of the organisations allowing dogs into the workplace, with employee wellbeing cited as a key benefit.

Research does seem to back up this notion. A Purina study as part of its Pets at Work scheme revealed that four-fifths of UK employees believed pet-friendly workplaces were happier to work in, with 75% believing a dog could help diffuse stressful office situations. Research by the American Heart Association found that being in the company of a dog can reduce levels of the stress hormone epinephrine – drops of 17% were recorded in just 10 minutes spent with a dog.

  • Ben Gateley is CEO and Co-Founder of CharlieHR