Dogs in the Workplace: Yay or Nay?
Work + Life Balance

Dogs in the Workplace: Yay or Nay?

PETS IMPROVE OUR LIVES AND OVERALL HEALTH SO WHY WOULDN'T THEY MAKE THE OFFICE BETTER? BEFORE BRINGING ROVER TO WORK THOUGH, MAKE SURE YOUR COLLEAGUES CAN STAY FOCUSED.

As company cultures become more fun and open, it’s unsurprising that offices have started allowing you to incorporate more of your personal life into your work life, whether that means working from home, taking sabbaticals after a few years of service, or days off for volunteer projects. Many employers are even allowing their staff to bring dogs to the office.

Having man’s best friend around sounds like a fun way to get through your workday, but is it all tail-wagging and breaktime cuddles? We examine both sides of the issue. 

PROS FOR PUPS

Fact: dogs are super cute. They can bring joy and happiness into the workplace. Having them in the office creates a laidback and lighthearted culture. And every dog has a unique personality, which can add some much needed comic relief to a tense office setting.

Achieving a work-life balance can feel impossible at times, but being allowed to bring your dog to the office is a good start. If you work at an office from 9-to-5, it can be tough to leave your dog home alone that long. They don’t get the activity or attention they need or spend as much time bonding with you as they should. Being able to bring your dog to the office alleviates the stress about long hours or when you'll get home. A study conducted in 2008 found that people who were able to bring their dogs to the office experienced an 11% drop in stress levels because they weren’t worried about a restless pet. 

Beyond that, dogs provide significant therapeutic benefits. Having a dog around is proven to lower blood pressure and relieve stress, and bringing your pup to work is a brilliant way to incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine. {Click to Tweet} Since you have to take them out every few hours, it’s a great way to for yourself outside during the workday for a much needed break. You’ll get a little Vitamin D, undo some of the damage caused by sitting for long periods, and have a chance to socialize with coworkers who also bring their pets to the office. 

CONS FOR CANINES 

Now for the bad news. Employee health is a huge concern when it comes to having pets in the workplace. No one with allergies to pet dander should have to be exposed to that all day. It adds an extra layer of discomfort and makes it hard to focus. Your dog may be cute, but if she causes half the office to have sneezing attacks, it may not be a great idea to have her around.

Yes, dogs are fun. They’re playful and adorable—which sometimes means they can be a little messy. Dogs barking, running around, or having accidents can cause unnecessary workday distractions and disruptions and ultimately lead to a decline in employee productivity.

Unsocialized puppies and untrained dogs also pose a potential danger to other employees. Dog bites, however minor, could cause some serious office (and legal) drama. There's also the flipside to consider: depending on where you work, the office might actually be dangerous for your dog. Employees who work with chemicals or heavy machinery could pose health risks to their pets by having them present. Even toxic office plants pose a danger.

Brace yourself for this final thought: some people just don’t like dogs. Whether it’s because of a traumatic experience or just a personal preference, some people aren't interested in engaging with your pooch. In a workplace, it’s important to consider the comfort levels of everyone in your office. This includes employees, but also visitors to the office like investors, potential new hires, and delivery people. You don't want to lose a client over a dog-jumping incident.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

For dog lovers, being able to have your dog in the office sounds like a dream come true, but it’s important to consider whether or not having them around is really what’s best for your career, the office culture, and your dog's well-being. In a relaxed, casual setting having dogs around could be the perfect way to bond with coworkers and get the best of your professional and personal lives in one place. But if your office is an intense place with little room for distraction, it’s probably best to have your dog stay at home and just bring him around for the company picnic. 

* * *

Tell us, do you bring your pup to work? How does your office place handle your favorite four-legged best friend?

  • TAGS