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Want a happy and productive office? Your staff need to bring their pets in

Bring Your Dog to Work Day, is scheduled for June 24th 2016

This is the second national event of its kind and is geared towards raising money for charities dedicated to the welfare of dogs. This year all proceeds go to the dog rescue charity, All Dogs Matter, which rehouses hundreds of dogs a year in London and Norfolk. It should, however, illustrate positive effects far beyond those of animal welfare.

In the USA, this event is rather more firmly established, and is in its 18th year. There, according to statistics from the American Pet Products Association, 1.4 million pet owners take an average 2.3 million dogs to work.

Although the day may have been marked informally in the UK since the 1990s, Bring Your Dog To Work Day has only really just begun to catch on. Some British companies, however, already have an office pet, and know first-hand, that having pets in the workplace can improve the well-being and motivation of staff.

Research by the British Journal of Health Psychology published in 2007, suggested that pet owners benefited from lower blood pressure and cholesterol and were less likely to suffer both minor and serious health problems.

In 2011, a digital online marketing agency called Bio Agency, surveyed 3000 office workers about office pets. They found that 16 per cent of them had an office pet and that 55 per cent believed that they would be more motivated if they were allowed a pet in the office.

Dogs are among the favourites for office pets. Others include cats, fish, birds and tortoises. According to experts in clinical psychotherapy, office pets provide an opportunity for team bonding and positively alter office dynamics.

Taking a break to walk the office dog presents an opportunity for exercise which could leave staff more energised and productive. In some offices, staff rotate responsibilities, taking turns at walking, feeding and bathing pets. Added chores such as keeping cat litters fresh and ensuring that rabbit and hamster cages are clean are often welcomed rather than shunned.

Scientific studies show that pets reduce stress in the workplace and that workers who are allowed pets at work have indicated that the animals give them a chance to switch off, or that they add a meditative dimension to lunch and tea breaks.

Pets can be a hit with clients as well. They make offices seem modern and interesting, and give new meaning to client-company relationships. Some companies choose to keep office pets out of sight, however, in the event that clients are pet averse or have allergies. Some thought is therefore required in managing the presence of animals to the benefit of all but there is little doubt as to the positive effect they can have.

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