Having a Ruff Day ? Dogs in the Workplace.

by Andrea Hayes,

Having a ruff day? Why not bring your dog to work and strive to become Top Dog in your life by acting a bit more doglike.

I know it’s a total cliché and something that has been written about time and time again throughout history about dogs, but it is so true, they are known as guardians, protectors and most importantly – MANS BEST FRIEND and they are the most loyal companions anyone could ever ask for.

It’s human nature to hold onto to past hurts, betrayals, abuse and traumas; we find it hard to release old negative experiences and simply let go of our past. Too often we allow our past to dominate the present and dictate what’s possible for our future. Dogs don’t limit themselves in the same way.

When I think about some of the dogs I have met while filming Animal A&E and Dog Tales, and I think of what cruelty they have experienced at the hands of humans, I am in awe of how they can trust humans again, they seem to be able to take each moment for what it is and live in the present.

This has been a great lesson for me, when I begin to ruminate about my own worries I am reminded to be more like some of my four legged friends and take a dog’s attitude to life. It’s true; I look to the many dogs I’ve met in my life for inspiration. These animals choose not to be the victims; they choose to just take one step at a time in this present moment, they are not effected by their past, or worry about tomorrow they just enjoy the here and now. Being around these dogs is a constant reminder that we cannot change our past or determine our future but we can live right now and just accept our circumstances and enjoy life.

They don’t harbor resentment. They just “are.” Take a lesson from a dog – living in the moment is what true balance and gratitude are all about.

Even science agrees that dogs are good for us, evidence published in the journal Science, suggests dogs used their lovable stare to win over the hearts of humans for thousands of years and it can be proved. When interacting and exchanging gazes, both dogs and their owners experience rushes of the love hormone oxytocin, which is released and triggers as both brains are being fired. This is the same at childbirth when oxytocin is present during delivery between mother and child – it’s known as the cuddle chemical!

More and more offices are becoming Dog friendly and encouraging staff to bring their dog to work and here’s why:

Having a ruff day?

• Cuddling or petting a dog has been proven to reduce stress, and it doesn’t even have to be your own dog. Its proven that if you have an office friendly dog policy the process of stroking a dog reduces the blood pressure, changes your physiological state and instantly makes you feel less stressed and more relaxed, this makes the office a nicer place to be. So a four legged friend in your office could help improve staff morale and reduce workplace stress.

• Research has shown that canine colleagues can improve staff productivity. A Dogs At Work policy is often viewed by employees as a valuable employment perk. A recent study showed that over two fifths (43%) of employees would like to see pets allowed in the office, 39% felt that pets at work would increase their productivity, 50% believed it would increase their happiness, and a significant proportion of workers would be prepared to stay at work for longer if pets were allowed to be there with them. About 8% of employees in the UK are allowed to take their dogs to work, according to research by Reed.co.uk.

• In 2012, researchers for the Virginia Commonwealth University in the US studied the stress levels of employees of a manufacturing company who brought their dogs to work. They found these workers reported feeling significantly less stressed throughout the day than those who did not bring a dog to work

• Dogs At Work policies are in place in companies like Amazon, Peters Fraser and Dunlop and Google

• Dogs are social animals and they offer support for humans. When a dog is beside you, you have a sense that they are giving you genuinely unconditional love, and that feels good to know you are loved and appreciated again boosting staff morale.

I never met a dog that had a big master plan, but they have plenty of lessons to bestow, they remind me to greet the ones I love with joy every time I see them, they taught me to be a loyal companion, love unconditionally without judgment or measure. These are virtues we could all adopt in life and also in the workplace. And if you are still not convinced remember its proven they lower stress, blood pressure and heart rate and they make us feel loved, accepted and less lonely and finally it encourages mindfulness among colleagues and makes the work place more friendly!

My greatest lesson I have learned from dogs is to live in the moment. To be Present. What a gift dogs are to all of human kind.

About the author
Andrea Hayes is an Irish broadcaster and producer whose work includes TV3’s hugely successful series Animal A&E, Dublin Airport: Life Stories and Coming Home for Christmas. She recently wrote and produced a new TV series, Dog Tales with Andrea Hayes and published a book of the same name. She is also a familiar voice on Dublin’s Sunshine 106.8fm
Andrea’s bestselling book, Pain-Free Life: My Journey to Wellness, chronicles how journaling helped her to overcome her health challenges, this was followed by the best selling book ‘My Life Goals Journal’ where she shares her practical plan to create change, achieve your goals and live your best life.
Andrea is a trained clinical hypnotherapist, Bethany Grief Minister and Spiritual Director with Anamcharadas. She lives with her husband David and daughters, Brooke and Skylar and dog Dash in Dublin.