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Take Your Dog to Work Day 2020 - June 26

Take Your Dog to Work Day® is back on Friday 26th June 2020 and is increasingly popular not just here in Australia but around the world!

With most of us having spent two months at home with our beloved pets in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, they've become our workmates (and an essential fixture of any good Zoom meeting!). Leaving them at home all day will feel harder than ever so this is a day to be embraced by all workplaces

First started in the UK back in 1996, this celebration became popular in the United States twenty years ago. 

The purpose behind Take Your Dog To Work Day® 
(created by Pet Sitters International) is to highlight the wonderful companionship our dogs provide. Numerous studies have proven that dogs in the workplace have some positive benefits for employee productivity and wellbeing.[1]

This is also a day to encourage adoptions from local shelters and rescue groups. Think of ways to give back to your pet community through your participation. Could your employer invite a local pet rescue or animal shelter to visit to show off their pets available for adoption, or use your event as a way to raise funds for a local organisation that helps pets looking for their forever homes?

Judging by all the images on social media, this workday is always lots of fun for all involved, as long as you plan ahead and everyone follows a few simple rules.

The following tips should help make this experience run smoothly in your workplace...

1. Preparing for Taking your Dog to Work Day

Check with your company and also your colleagues to see if bringing your dog to work is appropriate and will not affect the health and welfare of your co-workers. 

It is estimated that about 1 in 5 people have some kind of pet allergy and employers need to be sensitive to employees with these allergies and the effects it may have on their workplace experience. Some work environments may also be unsuitable as they're not safe for dogs.

✔️ Ensure your dog is microchipped, wears an ID Tag and is up to date with vaccinations

✔️ Your dogs should be well socialised with other dogs and people and should not display aggressive behaviours

    2. In the Workplace on the Day

    "I could have been a contender, I could have been a Dog with a Job!"
    ✔️ Bring your dog’s favourite blanket, bed, food and water bowl, treats and some toys so that he feels comfortable in this new environment. Having their favourite toys with them will also help keep them stay occupied (out of mischief!) whilst you’re busy working.

      ✔️ Dogs should remain at the desk of their owner, or the desk of another designated responsible person. For some dogs, this may mean tethering the dog to ensure your dog doesn’t wander or get hurt. 

      A better alternative is to train your dog to remain on his mat when asked to do so. If allowed, your dog may also accompany you to other areas in the office such as meeting rooms etc. 

        ✔️ When you arrive in the morning, let your dog have some free time to meet any other dogs and say hello to your co-workers. 

        "Done all the filing Mum! When's morning tea break?"
          ✔️ Set aside time for toilet breaks and to take your dog for a good walk or walks throughout the day
          Walking your dog during your lunch break is not only great exercise for them, but a great opportunity to leave the office and get some fresh air!

          ✔️ Pack up some dog waste bags and be ready to clean up after your dog. New environments can be exciting and confusing so accidents may occur. Frequent toilet breaks should minimise any risk of this occurring but if it happens, never punish your dog.

          ✔️ This year more than ever, maintain good hygiene! Not only should employees be healthy at work to avoid spreading sickness, but pets should as well. Pets should be groomed, clean, as well as free of fleas or ticks.

          ✔️ To help keep your co-workers happy, dogs should not have access to the kitchen area. If they accidentally do enter the kitchen area, call them towards you (using a food treat is helpful) and reward them when they come to you. Prevent access to the area by closing doors. 

          ✔️ Ensure your dog and their belongings do not become trip hazards in the office and be sure to clean up any debris associated with your dog. 

            Rewarding calm behaviour reinforces calmness and makes your dog more likely to behave in this way again in the future.
            And that's a wrap... "I agree, this work thing is exhausting Mum!"
            What if you could bring your dog to work every day?

            For some lucky employees and their pooches, this is already a reality as more and more companies worldwide are adopting dog-friendly office policies.

            While some offices will adapt and welcome pets, the challenge remains around corporate leases preventing pets. Despite Australia having one of the highest rates of pet ownership globally (more than 62% of Australian households own a pet – a number that has undoubtedly increased in the past 3 months), we’re behind a lot of other countries when it comes to welcoming pets in our spaces.

            This was a challenge for business owner Gina Lendyak, founder of L&A Social, who says “We actually asked for the lease to be changed to allow dogs. If you're having a bad day or if you have a difficult call or project, all it takes is 10 minutes of sitting on the couch with a puppy on your lap to feel better.”

            Fergus leads the gang on #TYDTWD2020
            “Pets are a wonderful way to break the stress in a workplace,” agrees Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia. “For many businesses that are considering becoming more pet-friendly, this is the perfect opportunity to see the benefits of allowing dogs into the workplace on Friday the 26th of June.”

            Dan Pollard, Founder, Fergus software for trades businesses: “We love dogs and to symbolise the iconic tradie and dog duo, I named the company after my beloved dog, Fergus. 

            We welcome dogs in our office and Fergus, along with the other dogs, act as mascots for the staff - they help boost morale and reduce stress. As long as all staff welcome dogs and the office is safe for them, we highly recommend taking your dog to work.”

            Dr Jacquie Rand - Emeritus Professor, School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland Executive Director & Chief Scientist, Australian Pet Welfare Foundation, says that more likely than a huge increase in pet-friendly offices is a transition to flexible working, with more days spent at home with our pets.

            Pets improve our mental, physical and social health. A permanent shift to flexible working will be beneficial for both our pets and ourselves. With more time to devote to walking and being with our pets, we will benefit from increased exercise and companionship.”

            With restrictions easing and offices beginning to re-open, Pet Advocate Anneke van den Broek, founder and CEO of pet care brand Rufus & Coco says “You shouldn’t be prepping your pets for your return to work!” Instead, the 2020 NSW Business Woman of the Year Award Winner is urging employers to reconsider their pet policies. 

            Australian Cat Lover's mascot Arya on mailroom duties
            What if you don't have a dog?

            The entire week leading up to Take Your Dog To Work Day® is Take Your Pet To Work Week® (June 22-26, 2020).

            If you want to get your feline friends involved, as part of Take Your Pet To Work Week® there's also Take Your Cat To Work Day® on Monday 22nd June 2020

            Probably wise to keep these two events entirely separate if you want to get any work done!

            References: The Benefits of Bringing Pets to Work
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