It’s A Dog’s Life: Why Your Veterinary Practice Should Embrace Flexibility and Furry Friends

At Flexee, the only thing we love to chat about as much as flexible working is our pets! With the month of April being National Pet Month, we could not wait to shine a light on our best of furry friends.

Flexibility and Furry Friends
Meet George, the physical embodiment of joy.

In recent years, the traditional workplace has undergone a complete transformation. Gone are the days of one size fits all; employers now recognise that creating a positive and engaging working environment can promote productivity, creativity, and enhanced well-being.

Our Flexee Report 2020 found that the number one benefit of flexible working was attracting and retaining staff. This was closely followed by boosting wellbeing, commitment to the practice, commitment to the team, and improved workplace culture.

However, creating a positive work environment is influenced by other factors, too, such as relationship-oriented leadership behaviour and good psychological working conditions. But did you know that allowing your employees to take their dogs to work can also improve workplace culture? It always amazes me that not all practices have a dog-friendly policy, and here’s why.

Graph showing the benefits of flexible working in the veterinary industry.
Results from our Flexee Report 2020 speak for themselves.

Stress Reduction and Increased Well-being:

Veterinary practices are often a high-stress environment. Emergency appointments, busy consulting periods, and demanding owners can all leave veterinary professionals feeling a little fried. Dogs, as well as being a delightful distraction, have an incredible ability to reduce stress levels. Their presence in the workplace can create a calming atmosphere, helping employees manage work-related pressures more effectively. Did you know the act of petting a dog releases oxytocin, which, as vets, we understand is associated with bonding and stress reduction (as well as lactation…)? It has also been shown to reduce blood pressure! Having a dog by your side can significantly improve the well-being of employees and enhance their overall job satisfaction while simultaneously helping them stay engaged and focused.

Encouragement of Physical Activity:

Having a dog at work encourages regular breaks for walks and exercise. Employees often take short breaks to walk their dogs outside, promoting physical activity and a healthier lifestyle. This benefits the employee and encourages other colleagues to join them, promoting social interactions and team bonding.

Enhanced Employee Engagement:

The presence of dogs in the workplace tends to make the environment more inviting and enjoyable. Employees may look forward to coming to work, knowing they can spend some of their day with a furry companion. This increased enthusiasm can translate into higher levels of engagement, improved morale, and a more positive outlook toward work.

Improved Social Interaction:

Pets, particularly dogs, have a way of breaking down social barriers and initiating conversations. Colleagues who have not interacted much before may initiate conversations about each other’s dogs, creating a more open and communicative workspace. These social interactions can lead to stronger relationships among team members, promoting collaboration and teamwork.

Improving Time Management:

Taking care of a pet, even during work hours, requires responsibility. Employees who bring their dogs to work often become more organised in managing their time and responsibilities to ensure the pet’s needs are met. This sense of responsibility can extend to their work tasks, promoting better time management and improved productivity.

Increased Flexibility and Work-Life Balance:

Allowing employees to bring their dogs to work demonstrates a level of flexibility, trust, and understanding from the employer. It shows that the practice values the well-being and happiness of its staff, contributing to a healthier work-life balance. This flexibility can lead to higher job satisfaction and organizational commitment.

Attraction and Retention of Talent:

In today’s competitive job market, veterinary practices have to work hard to attract and retain the best candidates. Offering a dog-friendly workplace is an attractive benefit for potential employees. Not only does it reduce the need for doggy daycare, but it also showcases the practice as forward-thinking, compassionate, and concerned about its employees’ happiness and well-being, contributing to a positive employer brand.

It takes a forward-thinking business to be bold enough to ditch the “one size fits all” and embrace the mosaic that is flexible working patterns. So why not shoot for the stars, embrace flexible working, and adopt a dog-friendly policy? This will promote a positive workplace culture, benefiting both employees and the practice as a whole. Now, all that’s left to do is top up the treat jar and roll out the vet bed to ensure your pup pals have the best time, too.

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