Monday, 5 September 2016

How good is it having your dog at work?

The following post is from a student of mine, who is researching how many businesses have a "bring your dog to work" policy.

Picture this, it’s Monday morning, you’re sitting at your desk, feeling a large dose of ‘Monday-itis’ hanging over your head like a black cloud, the work week looming out in front of you like a foggy tunnel.

The 55 emails that arrived over the weekend and are sitting in your inbox boldly daring you to open them before you look at what lies ahead on the weekly agenda of duties. The phone rang several times before you even got to the staff room to make a cup of coffee and there’s no way you can nip out to the coffee cart until your tea-break without being noticed. You get the picture, right?

Then you look down, just under your desk lies your best mate, munching happily on a rawhide chew with blissful contentment, the critter who adores you like you’re the best person that ever lived and isn’t afraid to show it every time you walk into the room. Immediately your blood pressure drops back to normal, you take deeper breaths, and your Oxytocin levels soar (that’s the hormone that induces feelings of calm and relaxation).

If only this was a true depiction of most NZ organisations – not the ‘Monday morning part’ but the ‘furry friend under the desk’ part!

There’s plenty of research out there showing how beneficial it is to have a pet friendly workplace. My question is – how many managers actually know what the benefits are? What is stopping local organisations from allowing employees to bring their furry whanau to work, to the benefit of all?

Well, I’m researching this at the moment, in my local community of Nelson, as part of my under-graduate management research project, so perhaps I can provide some answers in another blog post a little further down the track.

What I can tell you is that research into this topic is not a new thing. It was noted back in the 1990s how therapy dogs in hospitals had a positive effect on staff morale and Randolph Barker (yes, ironic huh!) first touted the idea to researchers, not just in the medical field, that this topic had genuine merit and deserved further investigation.

Further investigation it certainly has had and my contribution to this is seeking to find out how well known these findings are?

If you hold a management position in any business, any industry, any size, any type, in the Nelson Tasman region, you can help unravel this mystery by participating in my survey.

It only takes 5 minutes (I promise) and you and your answers will be totally anonymous – so please - help me out, so I can get an answer to these questions.

Here’s the link:


  • Allen, K., Blascovich, K., Mendes, W.B. (2002). Cardiovascular reactivity and the presence of pets, friends, and spouses: the truth about cats and dogs. Psychsomatic Medicine, 5(64), 727-39.
  • Barker, R. T. (2005). On the Edge or not? Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Scholars in Business Communication to Focus on the Individual and Organisational Benefits of Companion Animals in the Workplace. Journal of Business Communication, 42, 299-315.

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