Ruff Stuff: How Bringing Your Dog to Work May Increase Productivity

Business.com / Work Life / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Owning a pet has been proven to relieve stress, promote a positive mood and even improve physical health. Now bring them to work!

As a dog owner, you probably entertain the thought of calling in every morning so you can stay home with your little buddy.

It can be so hard to leave the house knowing your loyal canine pal will spend the whole time waiting by the window for your return.

How awesome would it be if you could just load your pup into your car and bring him with you to the office?

Actually, pet-friendly offices are becoming more and more prevalent throughout the country. Some of the most well-known companies, including Google, have implemented policies allowing employees to bring their dogs to work with them.

And it makes sense. Owning a pet has been proven to relieve stress, promote a positive mood, and even increase physical health as well. Incidentally, these three factors are some of the most influential in what is considered to be a positive work environment. Having to take a dog out a few times a day gives an employee time to refocus for the rest of the day. Getting this extra exercise can help fend off the after lunch lull that many people experience.

Related Article: Pets In the Workplace: Is It a Good or Bad Idea?

A Few Things to Consider

Of course, there are a few things to consider before bringing your dog to work to ensure you don’t actually add to the stress of your day. First and foremost, you need to take into consideration the safety of your dog, your coworkers, and yourself. You may have “dog-proofed” your home when you adopted your new friend, but it’s a little more difficult to do the same for your office.

Take care to tie up any loose cords or cables that your dog may get into to avoid damaging any expensive equipment. This includes computer wires, desk lamp cables, or long-running ethernet cables throughout the office. Dogs are experts at finding the one thing that is important and chewing it up.

Make sure your pet can’t get into any areas where food is readily available. You know not to leave chocolate out at home, but it’s not something you’d really think about when you’re focused on spreadsheets and paperwork. You wouldn’t want to look up from your keyboard and see your buddy licking the remains of an empty Snickers wrapper.

Check for open doors or windows through which your pet might be able to scurry through. It’s one thing if your dog gets loose in his own familiar neighborhood, but it’d be a completely different story if he ended up getting lost in an area that’s brand new to him.

Lastly, don’t just bring your dog to work because you want to. Consider how your dog would react to the new environment and people you’d be bringing him into. If your dog isn’t very outgoing and gets spooked by too much stimulation, he might be better off waiting for you to get home while he rests on the couch.

Related Article: When Tech Meets Pets: How Technology Is Serving Man's Best Friend

Dogs that are overly hyper can be a huge distraction but something like a low energy English Bulldog is perfect for an office. Gauge your pet's temperment in new environments then make a decision of whether to bring your dog. Half days are great to test the waters for your dog. Bring your dog in on a half day to see how they act, if they pass the test the next thing up is a full day. 

Consider Your CoWorkers

You also need to consider your colleagues when bringing your dog to work. Perhaps most obviously is the fact that some of your peers may be heavily allergic to animals. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do in this situation, and your little buddy is best left at home. There are some hypoallergenic dogs that can be brought in even if people have allergies. There are a small number of these breeds available but if you have a dogs that sheds a lot, like a Husky, you are out of luck. 

Other coworkers may be scared of different dog breeds, such as pit bulls. Even though you know your pet would never hurt a fly, such a phobia can absolutely cripple a peer’s ability to function properly. And, like allergies, phobias don’t simply go away. Once again, your pet is best left at home if he makes your colleagues uncomfortable. The fact that coworkers would be nervous or uneasy around the dog can impact the way the dog treats the person. 

Related Article: Massages and Pets and Kegs, Oh My! Creative Perks for Improved Morale and Retention

There are definitely some awesome reasons we should be able to bring our dogs to the office while we work. But it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly. With proper planning, though, a pet-friendly office can boost morale, and help make the workplace a much more productive environment.

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