Wellbeing

Six reasons every workplace should have a resident dog

Michael Tiyce /

office dog

Tiyce & Lawyers' resident dog Ferdinand. Source: Supplied.

Many challenges businesses face in today’s environment can be helped by the introduction of a dog to the workplace. From employee health and wellness to client retention, bringing my schnauzer to our office daily has seen both Ferdinand (the dog) and the business reap rewards.

The RSPCA even promote an annual ‘bring your dog to work day’ in an effort to bring back a tradition of having dogs work alongside us and break up otherwise long days at home while their humans work.

If you’re considering allowing staff to bring their canines to the office, then read on to understand why Ferdinand is a big part of our success.

1. Employee happiness

Demanding clients, forever changing laws, billing pressures, long hours, deadlines and other demands all combine to make the practice of law one of the most stressful jobs out there.

Stress is a huge issue in my industry and there are various ways to manage it, but I can safely say the presence of a dog is one of the best antidotes.

I found it interesting to watch the difference in stress levels between the employees who had a relationship with Ferdinand and the ones who didn’t. Ferdinand has become a stress reliever for most of our employees — a dog’s love is contagious and Ferdinand’s has spread right through my office.

According to the latest research from Open Universities, the presence of a dog reduces stress levels in the workplace.

2. Increased productivity

For those who think a dog would be a distraction, the Open Universities study also saw increases in productivity for offices with a dog.

It was found productivity increases for those who pat a dog.

Apparently, the patter is documented to experience an increase in serotonin levels in the brain and an increase in natural oxytocin. Both chemicals work to relieve stress.

3. Pets promote a strong office culture

There is an old saying, ‘nothing unites a team like a common enemy’, and while that is certainly the case for our lawyers with PEXA (a property law program), our shared experience of an office dog is a much more positive bonding experience.

A 2012 study found office dogs tend to increase employee satisfaction, improve morale and foster an environment conducive to teamwork and communication. I found our employees’ relationships grew proportionally with their relationship with Ferdinand, which created an office culture that is invaluable to any business owner.

4. Walks are good for the heart and the mind

Society is beginning to realise the importance of office workers getting away from their desks and into the fresh air during the day.

Despite this, most people struggle to find an excuse to get out of the office, but walking Ferdinand became a great way for my employees to take five and clear their heads.

Studies have also shown taking dogs for walks benefits not only the walker’s mental health, but their heart health, general fitness and wellbeing.

5. Dogs are a client’s best friend

Divorce is an extremely emotional and stressful time for all involved. I am often dealing with clients who are going through one of the hardest experiences of their lives. Having Ferdinand present when discussing things like custody and assets provides distressed clients with a great sense of calm.

As I said before, a dog’s love is contagious, and Ferdinand gives our clients love and affection at a time when they may need it most.

6. Client retention

Many of our clients have built a strong relationship with Ferdinand, some even bring toys and treats for him. Clients have started greeting him before they greet me!

On a serious note, the sense of security and peace Ferdinand provides my clients is priceless. He adds an extra level of service I cannot provide.

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Michael Tiyce

Michael is the principal of Tiyce & Lawyers, a Sydney firm specialising in family law for married, de facto and same-sex couples.