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Wellbeing drive at major law firm includes bringing dogs to the office

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Dogs in the office are considered to be highly beneficial to employees and the dog.

A prominent, major British law firm, Slaughter and May, will allow their lawyers to bring their dogs to the office as part of a well-being drive provided a trial proves to be successful. Slaughter and May is one of the “magic circle” law firms. Their partners take home over £1 million annually, as I recall. The manager of the firm emailed staff this month to say that they will be testing a “bring your dog to work” policy in an effort to attract more employees. Apparently, there is a talent war taking place in the ‘square mile’ where the firm is based.

This Friday will be the first pilot day. If it’s successful the scheme will be extended to the last Friday of each month.

Dogs will be confined to certain areas and staff will be obliged to ask colleagues if they are okay to have a dog present in the office.

The new managing partner, Deborah Finkler, said: “The benefits of all animals and especially dogs to mental health, morale and alleviating stress are widely recognised.”

It is an extending concept: to include pets in the workplace. This, of course, is normally dogs because they are more easily trained. Not only do they reduce stress and improve the office ambience, we need to look at the policy from the standpoint of the dog.

Dog experts might argue that dogs should not be alone more than 4 hours a day. How many dogs are alone for more than 4 hours a day while their owner is at the office? Far too many is the answer. This tackles that problem as well. You could almost say that allowing dogs at the office is a prerequisite to both the welfare of people and their dogs.

Of course, it requires some organisation. Somebody has to make sure that the dogs are fed and watered and that they are allowed to go for a walk perhaps at lunchtime. The point is it requires managing but if it is done well the net result is beneficial to productivity. I think that you will find that is the general consensus among experts.

A study published on May 7, 2019 titled: Taking dogs into the office: a novel strategy for promoting work engagement, commitment and quality of life by Sophie Susanna Hall and Daniel Simon Mills, concluded that taking your dog to work was beneficial.

They assessed a predominantly female sample comprising 243 employees who brought their dog to work; 167 brough the dog often, while 76 did so ‘sometimes’. The remaining sample of employees (506) did not bring their dog to work. The employees who brought their dog to work often reported “higher than average work engagement on all factors”. This included absorption, dedication and vigour. There were significant benefits to taking their dog to work ‘often’ when compared to ‘sometimes’.

The intention to leave the job (“turnover intention”) was “significantly lower”. And further, “work-based friendship acuity [was] higher in the group of employees who ‘often’ compared to ‘never’ took their dog to work. There was a recognisable higher score and general well-being and home to work interface and job satisfaction in those who brought the dog to work often compared to never.

They commented that breed type, size of dog and workplace policies need to be considered to make the scheme a success.

Below are some more pages on working dogs.