This Office is for the Dogs!
When new dogs are introduced to the office, there have been a few puddles and frustrated owners. Elaine stepped in a pile when we were gathering all of our models for a shoot for this post. They will occasionally bark when FedEx is making a delivery and they are always very interested in us when lunchtime rolls around. All these minor interruptions are absolutely worth the luxury of being able to bring our dogs to work.
Between the eleven full-time and freelance staff members who share our office, there are a total of 7 dogs. We have Shasta and Layla, both Chocolate Labs, Lucy, a Chocolate Lab/Poodle Mix, Elfie, a long-haired Doxie, Ike, a blue merle Pom, Gunner a mixed breed and of course, Finn, an Irish Setter.
Having dogs as “employees” has essentially been the norm since Origin started. Because the office is an open space and our workday is loosely structured, Jenny began to bring Finn a few times a week. Soon after Finn joined the company, more people began to expand their families to include canine kids and those dogs started spending time at Origin. While it’s fun to have a dog to pet and play with at the office, having dogs in the work environment are actually quite beneficial to not only our team, but also to our quality of work and to our clients.
There have been a number of studies, most notably from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012, that show people experience less stress when dogs are present in the work environment and employees have better job satisfaction than the norm. In fact, in that study, employees who brought their dogs to work showed a lowered stress level of 11%, compared to people who didn’t.
Stress isn’t the only thing that having an office dog alleviates. It is actually a great way to boost creativity. The Journal of Experimental Psychology found that taking a quick walk can increase creative thinking. A daily stroll down the street with office pups can help lead us to new ideas. Occasionally, a few people will join on the dog walks to get out of the office a bit and get some fresh air. Those walks have often lead to more refreshing creative ideas and prompted more interesting conversations. We’ve been able to explore more unique solutions for our clients and even come up with a few wacky ideas that we’ve pursued on our own (a new restaurant chain, Troughs and a shade-focused summer camp). On a few occasions, we’ve even used our office dogs as models in photo shoots – some for clients and some just for fun!
Because the nature of the work we do for our clients has to be strategic and creative, it is vital that we always have new and dynamic ideas for our clients. Lowered stress levels and increased creative juices are both beneficial for our work. Sitting around brainstorming new concepts for a client is far more relaxed with a dog snuggled next to one of us. When the dogs get a little rowdy, it’s a nice break from the day-to-day, and it’s fun to take a break and join in. We’ve even had clients start to bring their own dogs to our office when they are here for meetings. It relaxes the environment, allows us to ease into presentations and makes our clients feel more at home.
It seems like a fairly simple concept – happy employees equals better work, which in turn, equals happy clients. It may not work for all workplaces, but having our furry friends around the office works for us.