Bring your dog to work day: are pets in the workplace a good idea?

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Bring your dog to work day: are pets in the workplace a good idea?

June 21st is Bring Your Dog to Work Day, here in the UK. An exciting annual event celebrated in encouraging dog owners to bring their furry friends to the workplace. This day not only promotes the joy of having dogs around but also raises funds for animal charities, but is bringing a pet in the workplace always a good idea? Let’s look at the pros and cons!

Black and Tan dog by photo by Lum3n on Pexels

Six reasons why bringing your dog to work might be a good idea

  1. Stress reduction: Interacting with dogs can lower cortisol levels and reduce stress.
  2. Increased productivity: Regular breaks to walk or play with a dog can boost productivity by providing mental breaks.
  3. Improved morale: Dogs create a more relaxed and enjoyable work environment, enhancing overall employee morale.
  4. Social interaction: Dogs encourage social interaction among employees, fostering a sense of community.
  5. Work-life balance: Bringing dogs to work helps employees balance their professional and personal lives more effectively.
  6. Employee retention: Pet-friendly policies can increase job satisfaction and employee retention.
Retriever photo by Apunto Group Agencia de publicidad on Pexels

Six reasons why bringing your dog to work might be a bad idea

  1. Allergies and other coworker issues: Some employees may be allergic to dogs, causing health issues. Some people are also frightened or even phobic of dogs and would not enjoy having your pet in their space.
  2. Distractions: Some dogs can be a source of distraction, affecting concentration and productivity.
  3. Hygiene: Maintaining cleanliness can be challenging with dogs around, leading to potential hygiene issues. Some dogs may pee in an unfamiliar environment, particularly if in a warehouse setting where they feel like they are outdoors.
  4. Noise: Barking or other noises can disrupt the work environment. Your dog may jump up and bark when people come in, frighten or deter potential customers or scare people away
  5. Safety concerns: There could be risks associated with dog bites or aggressive behaviour. If more than one person brings their dog into the workplace then there may be issues if the dogs do not get on. If you’re bringing your dog into a dog-friendly retail environment, then this may cause issues with other dogs entering the workplace.
  6. Space constraints: Not all offices have the space to accommodate dogs comfortably.
Big dog photo by Lucie Liz on Pexels

What happens when we bring our dogs to work?

When dogs are brought to work, the office atmosphere often changes for the better. Employees may experience a noticeable reduction in stress and an increase in camaraderie. Dogs can serve as icebreakers, encouraging conversations and fostering stronger relationships among colleagues. However, it’s essential to monitor the dynamics to ensure that the presence of dogs remains a positive experience for everyone involved.

Having pets in the office, including dogs, cats, or other animals, can significantly boost employee welfare. Pets can provide emotional support, reduce feelings of loneliness, and create a more relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. The presence of animals can encourage regular breaks and physical activity, contributing to better physical health. Moreover, pet-friendly workplaces can enhance job satisfaction, making employees feel valued and appreciated.

Shiba Inu Photo by Zen Chung on Pexels

How to convince your workplace to allow dogs

Pretty sure your workplace would benefit from having your pooch on the team? The next stage is convincing your boss that it’s a good idea too! Convincing your workplace to allow dogs requires a well-thought-out approach. Here are some steps to help make the case:

  • Present the benefits: Highlight the advantages of having a pet in the workplace, such as improved employee morale, reduced stress levels, and enhanced employee relationships. Numerous studies have also been made to support these statements. This article in the Harvard Business Review will help you to present a solid argument with a few peer-reviewed studies that you can use to enhance your case.
  • Develop a workplace pet policy: Propose a clear and concise pet policy that outlines the rules and guidelines for bringing dogs to work. This can include vaccination requirements, behavioural expectations, and designated pet areas.
  • Address concerns: Be prepared to discuss potential issues such as allergies, noise, and hygiene. Offer solutions like air purifiers, noise-cancelling zones, and regular cleaning schedules.
  • Pilot program: Suggest a trial period or a pilot program to demonstrate the positive impact of having dogs in the office.
  • Success stories: Share successful case studies from other companies that have implemented pet-friendly policies.
  • Be prepared to compromise: If it looks as though they might be hard to convince, suggest brining your pet in for just a few days a week rather than full time. If one of your reasons for bringing your dog into work is because you don’t want to leave them home alone, perhaps a hybrid working schedule would work best for both of you? If your dog clashes with another colleague’s dog then a rota system where they are in on different days could work well here too.
Fluffy cat photo by Davide Baraldi on Pexels

How to make sure that your pet is happy and comfortable in the workplace

  • Ensure they are suitable: Not everyone’s pet pooch is cut out for the workplace. If you’re sitting still at a desk from 9-5, they might get bored. Calm breeds that like to snooze all day, such as greyhounds would probably love office life. A border collie would not. If it’s a workplace with lots of visitors and things coming and going, some dogs might really enjoy this and some would find it exhausting. You know your dog better than anyone so always make sure that you are making the decision to bring them along with you in their best interests, not just because you want to show off your lovely doggo.
  • Prepare a comfort zone: Set up a designated area with your dog’s bed, toys, and water bowl to help them feel secure.
  • Work on your socialisation: Gradually introduce your dog to colleagues and their pets to ensure positive interactions.
  • Regular breaks: Ensure your dog gets regular bathroom breaks and short walks to stretch their legs. Different staff members might wish to get involved with this so that they are getting some fresh air and a bit of a diversion, too.
  • Keep them engaged: Bring toys and chew treats to keep your dog entertained.
  • Monitor their behaviour: Keep an eye on your dog’s behaviour and be ready to take them home if they show signs of stress or discomfort. They might simply not be suited to workplace life.
Office cat photo by Rubaitul Azar on Pexels

Bring Your Dog to Work Day is more than just a fun event; it’s an opportunity to explore the potential benefits of a pet-friendly workplace. While there are challenges to consider, the positive impacts on employee morale, productivity, and overall welfare make it a compelling initiative. By following the guidelines and being mindful of both pets and colleagues, you can create a harmonious and fun work environment, where everyone benefits from spending time with your dog.

Do you bring your pets to work? We’d love to hear about it. Let us know in the comments section below.

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