Imagine your typical office environment in a high-rise building: long hours spent indoors in front of computers, low interaction between people, high stress levels, no grass, and certain expectations on cleanliness. These environments are hardly the place for animals… or are they?
Study after study has shown the immediate benefits of animals in the workplace. That’s where Gaia’s latest employee, Kiri the boxer puppy, comes in. Kiri is training to be a service dog, which requires exposing her to as many sights, smells and sounds as possible during the age of 8-12 weeks.
Piers and the Flux team have very kindly allowed me to bring her into the Perth office a couple of days a week to facilitate this training, which in turn has had a very positive impact on not only the Gaia staff, but the many other workers that share the floors at Flux.
Some things I’ve noticed since bringing Kiri in to work:
- I have gotten to know more people in two weeks than in the entire 18 months we’ve been at Flux, because they all come over for a chat and a cuddle.
- People smile just looking at her. And they turn to mush when you let them have a pat or a cuddle.
- In meetings, the overall vibe is a lot more relaxed when Kiri is present.
- Productivity tends to increase on the days I bring Kiri in. Although she may be a (very cute) distraction, when staff return to their work they are in a better frame of mind.
For me personally, I feel a bit distracted and overwhelmed at times because I am constantly being pulled from my work to tend to Kiri’s needs, but I know things will become significantly easier once she is out of the puppy phase, toilet trained, and less inclined to munch on computer cables.
And when she curls up in my arms, all stress melts away.
If you’d like to talk about the benefits of service dogs in the workplace (or just come in to meet Kiri!) then leave a comment below, start a chat with me via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, or email me directly via firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Assistance Dogs Australia
- Mind Dogs Australia
- Stephen M. Colarelli, Amanda M. McDonald, Matthew S. Christensen & Christopher Honts (2017). A Companion Dog Increases Prosocial Behavior in Work Groups. Anthrozoös 30(1): 77-89. https://doi.org/10.1080/08927936.2017.1270595
- Foreman AM, Glenn MK, Meade BJ, Wirth O (2017). Dogs in the Workplace: A Review of the Benefits and Potential Challenges. Int J Environ Res Public Health 14(5): 498. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14050498