Will there be more dogs in the workplace when we return to the office? It might not be a surprise to hear that lockdown has seen an increase in pet ownership. A recent survey revealed that 11% of households acquired a new pet between March 2020 and March 2021.
This June, we celebrate “Bring your dog to work day” so here at Leap Like A Salmon, we want to celebrate these great animals too. We thought we’d take a look at what we can learn from dogs and their behaviour, as well as looking at how having a dog in the office improves mood.
What can we learn from dogs?
Now, before we start it’s worth saying that like humans, every dog is different. Not all dogs behave or exhibit the same behaviour so please do not worry if what you read below doesn’t fit your dog. They’re animals at the end of the day and will all behave differently in certain situations. When it comes to what we can learn from dogs, many of the traits listed below can be transferred into our daily home and work lives to improve our work-life balance. Dogs constantly teach us life lessons about simplicity, joy and passion. Taking a bone out of their bowl might benefit you more than you think:
Run and play daily
Who said people over a certain age can’t run and play daily? Embrace your inner hound and engage in daily exercise to prioritise your wellbeing. This can be anything from 20 minutes of Pilates to an hour-long run and it will be sure to keep you feeling young at heart. Any form of exercise is good for the mind and body, it releases endorphins that will leave you feeling invigorated and you’ll view the world in a whole new way after your workout. Allowing yourself to engage in “play” every day will do wonders for your wellbeing, and in fact, activity is one of the areas of focus on our wellbeing wheel. Read more about the Wellbeing Wheel here and find out how it could help you.
Live in the moment and trust in the process. Remember that when dogs get in a car, they don’t know where they’re going. They just enjoy the journey. They sometimes stick their head out the window, smell the air around them and thoroughly enjoy feeling the wind against their fur. This is a firm reminder that setting goals is important (and something we advocate here at Leap Like A Salmon), but that we should also remember to enjoy the journey. Focusing too much on the outcome can lead to frustration and internalisation of events. So next time you think about setting goals, think about the small steps to get there and focus on the journey of climbing the steps rather than the goal at the end of them. Allow yourself the freedom to feel the excitement, creativity, fun and lessons learnt on the way.
Once a dog feels comfortable in your company, they demonstrate loyalty perfectly. Loyalty is an essential component in establishing trust and this trait from our canine friends could teach us a thing or two about slowly building trust through loyal actions. Trust (and loyalty) isn’t established overnight and we shouldn’t expect this from our friends and colleagues straight away either. Slowly get to know those around you, show them you care and in the weeks and months to come your loyalty will be rewarded.
Don’t hold grudges
Dogs teach us to forgive and forget. Life moves on and we should too, leave those grudges behind and see how free they make you feel. It’s also a great reminder that we can never fully appreciate what someone else is going through. If we channel our inner dog, and go back to life’s basic need, be kind and take care of others, suddenly everything seems a lot simpler. These small things, like letting go of grudges are the ones that enrich your life.
Probably the most important thing you can learn from dogs is to be yourself. Be silly, be sad, be happy, be energetic, be whatever you need to be whenever you need to be it and don’t let the worry of what others think stop you from being anything but yourself. Learning to love your personality (your strengths and your weaknesses) will help you lead a happy and fulfilled life. You might also be interested in reading our introduction to personality types.
Does having dogs in the office improve mood?
Having dogs in the workplace leads to better moods, increased productivity and happier employees apparently. But is this true? We 100% believe it is!
Workplaces can be stressful environments with many employees only leaving their desk occasionally during the day to get a drink or for a comfort break. If you’re familiar with our wellbeing wheel you’ll be aware that this means you’re neglecting half of the key elements of a balanced wellbeing. Having a dog in the workplace provides the perfect excuse to take a break to engage with the dog or take them outside for a walk. These breaks away from a computer can help people refocus on the task and approach it with a fresh set of eyes once they return to it.
Mars Petcare, a leading provider of pet food, have been letting dogs in the workplace for 10 years. They strongly believe that having dogs in the office has improved productivity, reduced workplace stress, kept them active and increased social interaction amongst staff. The benefits to our four-legged friends are obvious too – they enjoy being with their owner all day rather than home alone. It’s a win-win for us and our canine friends!
Dogs are also a great conversation starter in an office. If you’re trying to engage in conversation with new members of staff having a furry friend present can break the ice and help them feel part of the team. The calming nature of dogs can also influence the vibe of an office (we’ll caveat this point with the fact that a barking dog may have the opposite effect and could cause more distraction!)
Let’s be more canine
So here’s to embracing our inner canine. Having patience, being ourselves and remembering that our wellbeing is one of the most important things we need to take care of. Having dogs in the workplace could improve productivity and make it an all-around great place to be. So as restrictions lift and you start to consider a return to the office, question whether your ‘dogs in the workplace’ policy needs updating to permit furry friends. If you’d like more information on the Leap Like A Salmon Wellbeing Wheel hosted within our CPD platform email us today at Karen@leaplikeasalmon.com
We hope this blog has been interesting for you. For more from us please check out our Knowledge Base for further resources and support with our Ask The Experts or stay informed with our social Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.