by guest blogger Micheal MacIntyre (aka Duke's #workwife)
Like many creative companies, our office is dog-friendly. We're so on trend. Our resident pooch is a discerning French Bulldog called Duke. He is perfect for a social media agency because he is famous on Instagram and his passion project outside the agency is being an AmBARKassador for his own luxury collar and lead company.
He's been with us for 18 months now and was recently promoted to Head of Dogtial Barketing (ok I'll stop with the canine puns soon...). He has made our days better, made clients smile and there is no question he brings joy wherever he goes in the agency.
Dogs in the workplace reduce stress and help promote a more positive environment. But can they teach us anything about productivity and positivity in the workplace? Yup.
Here's what our office dog has taught me...
#1: Be happy to see everyone.
It's easy to just walk into the office in a morning haze with your coffee and pull some headphones on. But if you start your day right and say good morning, ask how people are and smile - guess what, it spreads. Everyone has bad days, but if you turn up happy to see people, they'll be happy to see you. And they'll pay it forward to another colleague. It has been proven that positivity actually fosters and promotes creativity.Now there's a thing! Duke knows... wagging your tail and slobbering is optional.
#2: Be present when you see them (no iPhones/ iBones).
Simon Sinek talks a lot about how technology is ruining our relationships. Specifically, with regards to the workplace and our professional relationships, we need to put the phones down and be present. If you're not going to fully give your attention to a meeting, you shouldn't be there. Ban phones from meetings. Ban them from the corridors outside a meeting room - this is where relationships with colleagues are built, in the 5 minutes before you have to be in a meeting room and you have time to chat.
#3: Play often.
Sure, we should all work hard. But taking moments in the working day to play - either with new ways of approaching the task at hand or simply to kick back with colleagues for micro-moments not related to the task at hand can actually be very useful. Science says so. Results from a study by The Journal of Vocational Behaviour shows that when a working environment is seen as "fun" and workers are encouraged to play, there is more learning & sharing of knowledge. In other words, we might be more inclined to mentor/ guide/ support and teach our colleagues if we have fun together. WIN!
#4: Get out of the office. The power of breaks.
Nothing clears the head and the cobwebs like a walk around the block. Dining al-desko is no longer cool. Lucky for us, Duke demands to be taken outside for a little walk several times a day and whether or not you are lucky enough to have the excuse of an office dog, you should be getting away from your desk every day, at least once. Again, science has proven that breaks from a task can actually make us more focused in the long run, help us retain information more accurately. People who take regular breaks are absent from work for sickness less than those who don't.
#5: Defend your pack fearlessly
No matter what level you are, you should be there and stand up for your colleagues. We're in this together and need to look out for each other. And guess what, when you stand up for a colleague, it builds stronger working relationships, builds trust and instills a sense of family amongst your professional tribe. Duke fearlessly defends us from the Posty, daily (poor Posty!) and we all feel a little closer for it. Protect your professional tribe. Help others up when they need it. Get all of you over the line.
"A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit." - Arnold H. Glasow
If you have an office dog who's taught you some professional lessons, feel free to share them. If you'd like to learn more about office productivity, feel free to visit us at Gravity Thinking and come meet Duke :)