Taking Your Dog to Work: Tail-Waggingly Good - or Potential Chaos?
Post-covid and working from home, many businesses are taking a more casual approach to what goes on in the office, particularly with many ‘lockdown puppies’ that do not wish to be left home alone after spending so much time with their owners in their formative years. But is it really a good idea to bring your dog to work? Could it be the ultimate solution for separation anxiety, rising pet care costs, and strengthening your bond with your pooch? Or is it simply a recipe for canine chaos? While the notion of taking your dog to work every day may seem like a dream come true, there are several important considerations to take into account before committing to the idea.
Here are seven key factors to contemplate before embarking on a dog-friendly adventure:
1. Workplace Safety
First and foremost, ensuring the safety of yourself, your pet, and your colleagues in the workplace is paramount. Not all work environments are conducive to accommodating dogs due to potential hazards or public health concerns. Some offices, however, may provide the perfect setting for your pup. Take into account where your pet would spend their time in the office and whether they'd have enough room to feel comfortable, stay engaged, and exhibit normal behaviours.
- A dog-safe workplace promotes a positive environment for both humans and dogs.
- Allows for increased interaction and bonding between colleagues and dogs.
- Not all workplaces are suitable for dogs, which can limit your options.
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2. Comfort in a Corporate Setting
Every dog is unique, and while some may relish the opportunity to bask in the limelight or nap under your desk, others might find the office atmosphere overwhelming or anxiety-inducing. Taking your dog to work can be an excellent way to break up long hours spent home alone, but it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. Offices can be bustling, noisy, and unfamiliar places for dogs, so it's crucial to assess whether your dog will feel at ease and content in such an environment.
- Can alleviate separation anxiety and enhance your dog's socialisation skills.
- Provides companionship for you and your dog during the workday.
- Some dogs may find the office environment stressful, which can affect their well-being.
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3. Colleague Acceptance
Offices are shared spaces, so it's essential to ensure that everyone is comfortable with the idea of a four-legged coworker. Be sure to inquire if any of your colleagues have allergies or a fear of dogs before bringing your furry friend to work.
- Encourages a sense of camaraderie and shared responsibility among colleagues.
- Opportunities for colleagues to bond over their shared love for dogs.
- Allergies or phobias among colleagues can pose challenges.
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4. Adequate Space for Your Dog
Work environments have evolved, with many offices adopting reduced capacity and hot-desking arrangements. It's vital to recognize that such setups might not be suitable for your dog. Dogs require their own space, and moving them in and out of areas that smell like other dogs can be distressing for them. Ensure that your dog will have a designated area and ample room to settle in comfortably.
- Dogs having their own space can promote relaxation and reduce stress.
- Can lead to better work-life balance by allowing you to spend time with your dog.
- Space limitations in modern offices may not accommodate dogs effectively.
5. Taking for Regular Breaks
Taking your dog to work can be ideal if your workday permits regular breaks for bathroom trips, exercise, and sniffing around. However, if you have a busy schedule filled with back-to-back meetings, consider whether your pet would be better off at home or at a doggy daycare facility. You also need to ensure that there is a suitable area outside for your dog to take a comfort break, and if you are working in an industrial or busy, built up area this might not be the case.
- Encourages physical activity for you and your dog, which can boost productivity and creativity.
- Fosters stronger human-dog bonds through shared breaks.
- A packed work schedule may not allow for adequate attention to your dog's needs.
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6. Other animals in the space
If your boss has a really laid back approach to bringing pets in there may already be other dogs in the space. In this case it is crucial to make sure that your dog is not going to cause upset by joining the space. Do they get on with other dogs or is this going to cause friction when you’re trying to get on with your work? Likewise if there is an office cat, you need to make sure that you are not going to make them uncomfortable or drive them away. Pets that were already in the space should take priority over your pet and you must be respectful of their needs before introducing a new animal into the work environment. If there is more than one dog in the office and they do not get on you may be able to come to an arrangement or rota where your dog only comes in on certain days when the other dog is not there and vice versa.
- If your dog gets alone with other animals they may enjoy daily socialising and comfort breaks with other doggy friends
- If your dog does not get on with other animals then this can cause some serious disruption. Do not bring them in – or work out a rota so that they are not in the office at the same time.
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7. Greeting visitors
How does your dog react to visitors? Some dogs may become nervous or excited or bark and jump up when someone enters the room. This could be endearing - or cause serious problems and damage the reputation of the company. It is possible to train your dog not to do this, by distracting them with treats or clipping them onto a lead tied to your desk when someone enters the room to stop them jumping up and darting over. As they become familiar with the space and your work routine they should begin to settle down but if they jump up and bark every time someone comes in then it may be time to consider leaving them behind.
- Can be welcoming for visitors if the dog approaches with a wagging tail
- Can be extremely distressing for visitors if the dog barks or jumps up – especially if they do not like dogs
- If a customer has allergies then it is important to let them know that there is a dog in the office before they visit
While the decision to bring your dog to work involves careful consideration, dog-friendly workplaces offer numerous advantages for both dogs and their human companions! Dogs can inspire much-needed breaks and physical activity, which, in turn, enhance productivity, creativity, and concentration. Additionally, having a dog in the office has been proven to reduce stress, as petting dogs triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone that fosters social bonds and optimism.
However, it's crucial to remember that not all dogs are suited for office life. Each dog is unique, and what suits one may not be suitable for another. They have individual needs and preferences and what works well for one dog may not necessarily be the best choice for another.
The decision to bring your dog to work should be based on a thorough assessment of your dog's temperament, your workplace environment, and your colleagues' preferences. When done right, bringing your dog to work can be a rewarding experience that benefits everyone in the office, including your dog.
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