Should Dogs Be Allowed In the Workplace?

I work in an office tower in the city and every once in awhile the topic of bringing your dog to work comes up. It seems that people have very mixed ideas about this topic…some love the idea of having dogs in the office (whether they have a dog of their own or not) and others are dead set against it. There doesn’t seem to be much common ground.

These days there are quite a few offices out there that are allowing dogs to come to work. I’m very curious about how this works. While Avy would LOVE to go to work with me the social butterfly in her would have her going from office to office, cubicle to cubicle visiting all of her new friends. And given that she knows exactly how an elevator works I wouldn’t be surprised to see her riding between floors, making even more friends.  As fun as that would be, it would be very distracting for all concerned, most of all me.

So how do offices that allow dogs manage it?  Are there criteria that the dogs have to meet?  Are only specific sizes or breeds allowed?  Are there limits to how many dogs are allowed?

Creating A Bring Your Dog To Work Policy

An online magazine, CIO, which focuses on the tech and business world, has created “14 Rules for Creating a Bring Your Dog to Work Policy”   The tips that they offer are good ones – beginning with making sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to bringing your dog into the office.  In my personal workspace we work in a relatively open environment, so bringing Avy to work with me would mean that the 10 people who work in that environment would need to be comfortable with her being there.  It goes without saying that if there is an allergy in the group bringing Avy along would be a non-starter.  Allergies aside, it is also important to consider the groups comfort with the idea of having a dog at work.  Some people may be frightened of dogs and others may just not like them.  It’s important to discuss these issues before you introduce a dog into the work environment.

Another rule recommended by CIO is to limit the number of dogs or have them come in on alternate days.  This is also excellent advice.  In my workspace of 10 individuals, there are 4 of us who have dogs.  Imagine if all 4 came to the office on the same day?  The dogs would have a great time, but there probably wouldn’t be a lot of working getting done!  Assigning days when each person can bring their dog to work can keep some order to the day and allow everyone to remain productive.

Once you’ve got your rules established it is important to consider the legalities around allowing employees to bring their dogs to work.  Is your office in a leased building?  How does the landlord feel about having dogs in their building?  This is an important question to ask.  How about insurance?  Are there any insurance implications to consider?

Dog Free Zones In The Office

If you are an employer who is considering allowing a pet-friendly workplace, or an employee who is advocating for one, consider creating some “dog free zones” within the workplace.  Lunchrooms and kitchen areas are an obvious example.  Many people aren’t keen on the idea of having a dog nearby while they are trying to prepare or enjoy their lunch.  Keeping food preparation areas off-limits for dogs makes a lot of sense.


Keeping Your Dog Safe At Work

Something that is important to consider is keeping your dog safe in the office.  In all likelihood, you have done some dog-proofing around your home to keep your dog safe.  Cords are tucked away, garbage isn’t left out where the dog can get it, and food and attractive chewable items are hidden away.  Before you can consider bringing your dog into the office, you will need to do similar dog proofing there.  Most offices have garbage cans tucked under the desk – is there anything in them that may attract your dog’s attention?  How about power cords?  Can they be tucked away to keep your pet safe?

If you are going to bring your dog to the office, you would be wise to exercise your dog before you go to work.  Having your dog well exercised in the morning means that they will be more likely to chill out and take a nap while you are in the office.

Staying Productive While You Have Your Dog At Work

One topic that often comes up when bringing dogs to the office comes up is how you can stay productive.  According to Business.com allowing dogs in the office can actually help to improve employees productivity.  Dogs have been known to help reduce stress and create a positive environment – both of which help improve morale and productivity.  They also suggest that taking short breaks throughout the day to take your dog out for bathroom breaks can help to refocus employees and have them achieve more when they return to their work.

Is Your Dog The Right Fit For An Office Environment?

One last thing to consider is your dog’s personality – is it the right fit for an office environment?  Puppies are adorable, but they are also high energy and prone to housebreaking accidents.  Taking a puppy to the office is probably not the best idea.  If your dog is a barker, doesn’t like strangers or tens to be overly excitable they may also not be a fit for an office environment.  It is essential that you consider your dog’s personality before you make the decision to bring them to the office.

Should Dogs Be Allowed In The Office?

Call me biased (and admittedly I am) but I think the answer to this question is a resounding YES!  If you work in the right environment and your coworkers are in support of a dog-friendly workplace then I don’t see why dogs shouldn’t be allowed to join you at work.  A friendly, calm dog can go a long way to keeping employees happy,  Eliminating the stress of wondering what their dog is up to while they are at work can also result in a more focused employee.  I would love to hear your opinions.  Should dogs be allowed in the workplace?


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