Bringing your dog to work might sound like a dream or a nightmare (depending in your pup’s behavior) but it’s a practice which is becoming increasingly popular for businesses all over the world. This idea started roughly 20 years ago and has steadily grown into an accepted and desired aspect of work for many companies. Amazon and Google, two of the largest companies in the world, have both adopted this occasion for many reasons. Bringing your dog to work day provides a multitude of benefits in many business environments while not causing too many problems.
In this article we’ll take a look at why bringing your dog to work has become popular by exploring the advantages of having pets in the workplace, and we’ll look at some disadvantages too. If your current workplace doesn’t offer any kind of pet-friendly day at work, you could try recommending it after learning some of the many benefits it promotes and if it would be safe and appropriate in your specific place of work.
What You Need to Know
Although it’s increasingly popular for some companies to allow dogs in the workplace, unfortunately it isn’t possible in every field of work. In fact, only 8% of companies in America allow their staff to bring their precious pups into work. For some businesses or workplaces, this won’t be possible for several reasons. Although we’ll cover the reasons for this later on, here are a few examples of jobs which won’t allow pets in the workplace.
- Social Care/Healthcare Jobs – Jobs which involve meeting different people daily or working with people at risk (young, elderly or ill people), won’t be suitable for a canine companion. This is because it’s impossible to know who you’ll be working with and if they have any fears or allergies to dogs, or because of the environment around your workplace.
- Factory Jobs – Most factories generally won’t be ideal for dogs if they involve machinery, lots of workers and potentially dangerous equipment. For obvious reasons, dogs simply wouldn’t be safe in this environment and it could cause some serious problems.
- Food Preparation Industries – Those who work in food or catering companies won’t likely be allowed animals due to the possibility of contamination or lack of hygiene. And, of course, dogs are known for being curious and hungry animals which would clearly cause some problems – food constantly disappearing.
Due to unavoidable risks and the necessity for hygiene standards in many companies, dogs simply aren’t suitable in most workplaces. However, dogs are perfectly suitable in other workplaces such as pet stores, offices, some bars and restaurants, hairdressers and gyms. Although these examples are certainly the most common pet-friendly places, not every company will have the same policy. Some of these companies might allow dogs (or any pets) every day of the year while others might restrict their rules to ‘Bring Your Dog to Work Day’. This occasion occurs every year in mid-to-late June and companies all over the world take part by letting their employees bring their doggos into the workplace. Before this can happen, each company will usually provide a list of rules or guidelines to follow when bringing your dog to work and they should ensure the workplace is pet-proof or pet-friendly.
Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits and disadvantages of bringing your dog to work and how to create a safe, pet-friendly workplace.
There are a few benefits to bringing your dog to work which we’re about to cover. From promoting positivity in the workplace to allowing better socialization and stress relief, dogs can play a huge role in improving the atmosphere in almost any workplace.
There’s no doubt about it, dogs are great at creating a positive environment and spreading happiness. Their bubbly, playful and loyal personalities make them ideal companions and can greatly improve people’s attitudes. Afterall, when you’ve finished a hard day at work, it’s normal to feel much better after going home to spend time with your precious pooch. So, if work is particularly challenging or stressful and it’s affecting many people in the office, you could suggest a ‘bring your dog to work day’ to help improve morale and boost positivity in the workplace.
- Stress Relief
Dogs can play a huge role in reducing stress and promoting positive vibes in the workplace. Many companies, universities and colleges have already introduced schemes which involve bringing dogs to the office or classroom to help people manage their stress. Spending an afternoon playing with fluffy canine companions can prove incredibly useful for lowering stress levels and boosting confidence.
- Social Integration/Team Cohesion
Bringing your dog to work can be useful for meeting new members of staff and learning how your team works. Starting a conversation can be easy when you’re walking your pup in the park because your fluffy friend is a natural conversation starter. This allows people to speak without any awkward first interactions and can be useful for breaking the ice in team building exercises. Many companies use ‘bring your dog to work days’ for this very reason as it helps new staff members meet and socialize while in a work environment.
Unfortunately, there are a few possible disadvantages when bringing your dog to work. Although some negative aspects can be lessened or removed entirely, others might make it impossible for a bring your dog to work day in your specific workplace.
Bringing your dog to work could potentially be very dangerous for you, your pup or other colleagues. While some dangers can be fixed by tidying cables, hiding sharp objects and creating more room for dogs, other dangers are permanent and are simply part of the workplace. For example, heavy, moving machinery or an overly confined workspace won’t be suitable for animals as they need space to move around safely. Unfortunately, some workplaces simply can’t accommodate pups in these conditions so it’s unlikely that a ‘bring your dog to work day’ will be possible in this instance.
Although your dog’s company can be great for motivating you to work, reducing stress or for boosting confidence to meet new people, they can also cause distractions. When you’re trying to work and your pup is sitting by your desk, making sounds or nudging you for attention it might be hard to concentrate on work. This might also distract other staff members from work and in particularly bad cases, it could cause serious problems if deadlines are being missed because of your adorable doggo distraction. For this simple reason, many managers or companies might choose to avoid ‘bring your dog to work day’ if they are concerned that the dogs might cause significant distractions or interrupt workflow.
How to Create a Pet-Friendly Workplace
If you’re looking forward to your first ‘bring your dog to work day’ then you might want some things to keep in mind to ensure you and your dog have an enjoyable and safe day at work. It’s important to remember that some things in the workplace might have to be moved or changed in order to accommodate curious and playful pups.
First and foremost, it’s crucial to have (written or verbal) consent from everyone in the office before agreeing on a dog-friendly day at the office. Some colleagues might have dog phobias or allergies which would prevent such an event unless they can be guaranteed to be kept away for the doggos. For other people, it might simply be a personal choice that they don’t want animals in their workplace. If one or more colleagues don’t provide consent, the occasion either can’t go ahead or pet-free zones must be created for these colleagues.
- Rules and Regulations
It’s also important to have a set of rules or guidelines agreed upon before bringing your dog to work. All colleagues should be made aware of the rules and a penalty should be in place if the rules are disobeyed. Although this goes without saying, it’s necessary that all dogs are trained and socialized already to minimize any risks of danger or general bad behavior in the office. If any dogs cause damage to the workplace due to poor training, the owner might be liable depending on the rules set out by the company.
While we’ve covered this a little already, it can’t be stressed enough that workplaces will need to be checked for potential hazards to pups. Loose cables, sharp objects, moving machinery and small spaces are some of the most obvious and essential things which might need to be altered to keep dogs safe in the workplace. Alternatively, these dangers could be avoided by simply keeping the dogs away from these areas.
Before creating a pet-friendly office or arranging a ‘bring your dog to work day’, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of such an occasion and how your colleagues might act in this situation. You might need to move some things around and set up some guidelines to keep everyone safe and comfortable. Ultimately, bringing your dog to work should be fun and enjoyable, so follow these steps to ensure you can enjoy your day while staying safe and responsible.