Why You Should Hire a Canine Intern
By: Kalyn Schieffer
If you’ve ever visited the Caster office or even taken a look at any of our social media profiles, you may have realized that all of us here are slightly dog obsessed. On any given day you can find at least one canine intern roaming around the office or taking a nap on the job. In the past few years, more and more companies are taking a hint from us (we like to think we started the trend) and are allowing employees to bring their dogs to work.
The recent popularity of office dogs is partially due to the results of research studies conducted on the benefits of having our canine friends around. Virginia Commonwealth University conducted a study in 2012 at a dinnerware company in North Carolina that saw at least 20 to 30 dogs a day in their offices. The study revealed that as the workday went on, stress scores went down by about 11% among workers who had brought their dog to work, while their dog-less co-workers stress levels increased 70%. The calming effect that petting your dog brings you isn’t just something you made up in your head, it’s been scientifically proven. Therapists everywhere attest to the fact that touching or petting an animal has been shown to lower the galvanic skin response, when measuring emotions such as fear, stress or anxiety. Stress on the job is inevitable, and if allowed to build up, it can cause issues with productivity and concentration. Reaching down to pet a dog when feeling stressed at work is a simpler and more effective fix than squeezing a stress ball or taking an hour long coffee break.
Since I adopted my own dog-child, Harper, I have met so many people that I never would have sparked conversation with if our dogs hadn’t run up to each other to meet. This same kind of interaction can happen with dog owners in the workplace. At bigger companies, employees may not get the chance to connect with new additions to the team because they may have different jobs within the company or they just simply don’t know how to relate to them. When a new canine companion comes into the office, it can create opportunities for people to get to know each other when they go over to their co-workers desk to hang out with the dog. Here at Caster, we all swap dog parenting tips, which was super helpful to me during my first few weeks with Harper. The fact that most of us here have a dog, or enjoy being around them, creates a sense of camaraderie and group identity which can help us work better together. In fact, researchers from Central Michigan University found that groups worked better together and were more likely to be loyal to one another when a dog was around.
Any dog owner knows the guilt that comes with leaving your dog at home alone all day when they head to the office. This guilty parent syndrome may cause employees to cut their day short so they can go home and let their dog have some free time outside. However, if your canine companion is at the office with you, getting to socialize and wander freely outside of their crate at home, you don’t have to worry about running home as soon as the clock strikes five.
Of course, there are many factors to consider before making your office dog friendly. Primarily, companies must address the issue of employees who are allergic or are afraid of animals. The dogs should also be potty-trained and well-behaved before bringing them into an office setting (no one likes to have their lunch eaten by a four legged thief.) It may be best to have an employee bring their older, calm dog in first for a trial run with everyone in the office to see how it goes before officially allowing them. You can also search around for tips from other companies who have dogs in the office and read about their experiences.
If your office is dog friendly or is trying to make the transition, I’d love to chat about it! Feel free to comment here or connect with me on Twitter @CasterKalyn or @CasterComm. Check out our social media profiles for adorable pictures of our furry friends!