A bark a day keeps the doctor away: how a dog-friendly workplace boosts productivity and make employees happier and healthier.
“Welcome to Smashing Boxes! This is Maddie.”
When you visit our downtown Durham office, you’ll be greeted with a warm welcome followed by a wet nose on your hand. Don’t be alarmed! It’s not one of our employees. It’s one of our team member’s beloved dogs. Here at Smashing Boxes, dogs are a big part of our culture. Not only do we have a Slack channel dedicated to everyone’s favorite four-legged creature but we also have a weekly sign-up sheet to bring your best friend to work!
Numerous studies illustrate the benefits of a dog-friendly workplace. Factors that positively affect employees correlate with improved office morale, absenteeism, and a healthy work-life balance. Research shows that pets have calming effects, reduce blood pressure, lower stress, and make employees more cordial and productive. It can also inspire collaboration between employees.
“You discover, when walking across the office to pet a cute dog, cross-pollination between your work. You really wouldn’t have had the idea to work together, but because you struck up a conversation about the dog, you discover an opportunity that produces some synergy that wouldn’t have otherwise existed.” Why Bringing Your Dog to Work Can Be Great for (Almost) Everyone
Beyond the workplace, there is now data that reveals that pet ownership saves $11.7 billion yearly in healthcare costs. According to the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI), 132.8 million pet owners save $11.37 billion on physician office visits, while 20 million owners who walk their pets 5 times a week show lower obesity and save $419 million in healthcare.
Having dogs in the workplace requires mutual respect and understanding. Rachael Pickering, Director of People and Operations at Smashing Boxes, explains how we make it work. “As far as managing it, our team members are great collaborators. We all check the tools we use (Slack/Google Calendar) prior to bringing a pup into the office. While we usually only allow one dog a day in the office, on rare occasions, we will allow multiple dogs if they've met before, get along, and aren't a distraction. We all treat each other with respect and the team manages it well.”
To honor our favorite four-legged friends, we asked the Smashing Boxes team what benefits they reap from having a furry friend in the office. Here are their responses and, of course, dog pics!
“I love seeing the doggos running up and down the ramp and all around the office, and I love giving them scratchies. It provides a great distraction from everything and it brings a smile to everyone’s face.” - Derek Kniffin
“They're the perfect rubber duck: no matter how bad your logic was, they just wag their tail.” - Grady Knight
“They definitely keep my spirits high when they’re in the office.” - Chris Baker
“It really lifts the mood of the office when there are dogs around. They're like little de-stressors that you get to hang out with for a while. It's really nice.” - Kelsey Hanrahan
“I think that having dogs in the office gives me a better sense of the people that I work with. Maddie, Annie, and Leah give me glimpses into the lives of Neal, Matt, and Grady. It creates an opportunity for people to bring a little bit more of themselves and their life into the office which makes it more communal.
As the owner of a German Shepherd/Husky mix who is a lightning bolt of energy, it makes me feel good to know that I can bring him in on a day that he otherwise might not get a lot of attention beyond his morning walk. He ends up being pretty worn out from running up and down our ramp and people playing fetch with him.” - Edd Kerr
“Recently, I was having a rough morning and the first thing I saw when I walked in the door was one of my coworker’s dog, Annie, coming up to me with her tail wagging. I got down on my knees, hugged her, and she gave me a kiss good morning. The weight of my world was immediately lifted. Dogs unconditionally love all of us in the office and bring joy to my heart. Dogs are the best, most willing, positive, and loving coworkers. I can no longer imagine a great week at work without a little four-legged friend to stop by and say hi.” - Bonnie Cook
“Meet Penny and Otto. They have yet to make their office debut, but I can only imagine how excited Penny will be to discover all of the new sniffs, and Otto to sucker everyone into belly rubs. I think having a dog-friendly workspace is not only great for us humans, but also for the pups who otherwise would be lonely at home.” - Victoria Bell
“As the communal dog bed overseer, I enjoy taking a break from something difficult I'm working on to have big beady eyes look up at me welcoming pets, belly rubs, and eager for me to take a few minutes to play. Dogs bring extra fun into the office, remind us to wag our tails, and seek out free food.
I light up when I come in to find someone has brought their dog, and leave happier in the evening. Bringing Annie in is a special treat and something that I cherish. We're both happier when she visits, and I appreciate that people in the office love her as much as I do.” - Matt Wood
“I love having dogs in the office. A dog is an excellent relief of a day's stress. After a rough meeting or a long task, petting a dog is a really relaxing experience. I've also had clients in the office when a dog is around and it immediately breaks the ice (works well with new clients).
I love bringing Maddie into the office. When I came in as an interviewee, it immediately made SB top of my list because I could bring my dog whenever I wanted. Each day I bring Maddie in, it changes my whole day and I know it makes Maddie's day. We only get dogs for a short amount of time so every extra minute she's happy and with me is a huge win.” - Neal Raval
Love dogs? Then come work for Smashing Boxes! We are hiring for a variety of positions and have great perks and benefits. Check out our job openings and apply today! You’ll make a lot of new (furry) friends and work with a diverse, creative, collaborative team.
You can check out our full list including internships here.