Paws for thought: Animals in the workplace

A dog sat at a desk

Now I don’t know about anyone else, but one of the best parts of my day after a long, hard 8 hours in the office, is to come home to the ‘pitter patter’ sound of tiny paws coming to greet me at the door – even if it is because my four-legged friend demands that it’s feeding time! 

So, imagine how thrilled I was when I got the chance to work alongside the adorable Brandy (pictured below) for a couple of hours at Leigh Academy Rainham! Brandy is a therapy dog who encourages students to open up and talk about their feelings when they are finding things challenging and also stops them from feeling alone. She is known to be a great support for staff too!









Therapy animals are becoming increasingly common in the workplace due to their ability to relieve stress, boost morale and have a positive impact that can create great camaraderie within a team. We currently have 2 working dogs within Leigh Academies Trust who are loved by both students and staff alike!

A study by Blue Cross found that 90% of businesses they asked that allowed dogs at work said they’d seen a positive change in the working environment. One in two businesses noticed a decrease in absenteeism, 56% said their dog had improved work relations, and 67% said it improved staff morale. The figures speak for themselves!

From a recruitment perspective, I can definitely see why companies consider therapy/office dogs as an employee perk. It shows that your workplace is progressing and moving with the times and what was once popular to promote a work/life balance has now become a work-life amalgamation. What I mean by this is that potential new hires will see your company as homely and welcoming, which is crucial since we spend more of our time at work than at home! By combining factors from home into daily life at the office, such as pets, staff can become more relaxed, collaborative and motivated to work.

Although it is not practical or possible for all places of work to participate in this growing trend, it is certainly something that I can see becoming increasingly popular over the years to come. 

What are your thoughts on having a furry companion join you at your desk? Would you feel at ease or would you see it as a distraction? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts!