Not so long ago, “bringing your dog to work” was pretty much limited to farmers, police officers, and ski patrollers. Today, the demand for dog-friendly offices has gotten companies a lot off companies to allow for dogs at work. There’s even a holiday, Take Your Dog to Work Day, that pushes the agenda of making dog-friendly offices the new norm.
At Fitdog, we can’t imagine a non-dog-friendly office. In addition to our daycare members, there’s always at least one dog hanging out in the office, checking in our guests at the front desk, or helping our team leads prepare meals.
With a lot of people working from home with their furry friend always by their side for more than a year due to COVID, it is almost impossible to think about going back into the office and leaving your dog at home. But, with people starting to work in the office again, it begs the question if it’s worth bringing your dog with you.
While dog-friendly offices sound like an ideal environment for dog-lovers, what about people who don’t like dogs? How can we create a cohesive professional environment for humans and dogs, and ultimately, is the workspace a good place for dogs?
Paw-sitives of Bringing Your Dog to Work
Most of the research done on dog-friendly work environments cite similar benefits: boosting team spirit, bringing people together, and allowing owners to get more exercise are among the most common. Employees certainly notice the difference.
“Having dogs in the office is great stress relief,” says Amanda W., a financial analyst at Amazon. “Whenever I’m having a bad day I know I can always go play with the pups and feel better.”
“The morale of the office overall definitely improves when people bring their dogs in, and the dogs seem much happier being with their humans than home alone all day or at a daycare,” says Erin W., account coordinator for The Marketing Arm.
Some owners make their fondest memories while at work with their dogs. Moments they would otherwise miss out on being separated from each other all day.
“One of my favorite stories about Rocket, our adopted Rottweiler, happened at work,” says Susan B., who works in finance at Foresee Consulting, “When I first got him he was just a pup at 11 months and 90 lbs, and he would come to the office with me every day. One day something startled him, and while I was sitting at my desk he leaped over my shoulder and landed on all fours right on my desk! Just like a cat, didn’t disrupt anything, just a perfect landing!”
The benefits of dog-friendly offices are more than just spiritual. Employees reap financial benefits by saving money on dog care they would otherwise need. Plus, owners don’t have to worry about rushing home after work to let their dog out.
Put simply, hanging out with your dog all day is awesome and can make any workday a little better.
Downsides of Dog-Friendly Offices
While there are certainly benefits to having dogs in the office, working with dogs is not all peaches and cream. And there are those who’d rather leave the pets at home.
“My sister works for a large music venue and spends many shifts in the tiny box office,” says Emily M. “A coworker of hers recently took to bringing her large dog into the box office during her shifts. Unfortunately, my sister has asthma that is largely triggered by a severe dog allergy. A cramped space like that is quickly filled with dander, fur, and scent and my sister suffered through several attacks when her reasonable no-dogs request was ignored and HR took their time addressing the issue.”
Emily’s sister’s case is not uncommon. As dog lovers, sometimes we tend to think everyone is in our corner. But the hard truth is that employees’ health is more important than having your dog at work. “I like dogs, but with very few exceptions I believe they do not belong in the workplace,” Emily concludes.
In addition to health issues, keeping an eye on your furry companion may contribute to counter productivity.
“I interned for a company and spent more time chasing the boss’ dog around than anything else,” says Andrew B. “I love dogs, but I think owners need to keep an eye on them if they bring them to work.”
Finding Love in a Work Environment
Working in a dog-friendly office can naturally make any person more attracted to the idea of getting a pet. Such was the case for Keely G., a designer’s assistant. She adopted her dog Balto when a co-worker who was fostering him brought him into the office.
“One night I said, I knew I wanted a dog by Christmas that year, and the next day a co-worker came in with the sweetest foster puppy. I couldn’t let him go,” says Keely.
Having the capability to bring her dog to the office was a big perk for Keely, who wanted to spend as much time with her new companion as possible. However, after a week of being a brand new dog-parent, the dog-friendly policy at her office was rescinded, and Keely had to find alternative care for Balto while she was at work. This is how she came across Fitdog.
“After seeing how much fun Balto has at daycare, I now feel that taking him to work with me would be selfish. I love that he gets to be active at Fitdog, and it allows me to focus while I’m at work, especially knowing he’s in good hands” says Keely.
Rules of Engagement
In order to keep the trend of dog-friendly offices on the rise, dog owners must be considerate of others. Here are some things to consider:
Dog’s Gotta Dog
Besides health concerns, the distracting nature of having animals in the office is one of the biggest complaints. Barking or hyper dogs can break people’s concentration. If your dog is naturally vocal, they may prosper more in a space where they are allowed to be silly and goofy, or outdoors.
Taking Care of Business
This goes both ways. Your dog will have to be taken out every few hours during the day, and you will have to make sure your dog doesn’t distract you from getting your job done.
Socialite or Nah?
Is your dog uncomfortable around new people, impulsive, or unsocial towards other dogs? A day in the office could be stressful for your pup. Understand the needs of your dog and make arrangements for them accordingly.
Don’t Forget the Snacks!
You might have an office kitchen stocked with snacks, but they likely don’t have dog treats. Be sure to bring bowls, food, and water for your dog so they don’t get hangry during the day. Bringing an interactive treat toy such as a Kong Wobbler can help keep your pup occupied so you can both be productive.
Reducing Doggy Smells
Give your dog a quick brush-out before bringing them to work and keep up on regular grooming. This eliminates dander and other allergens carried in their coats and make for a happier, healthier pup.
We hope to see a world where everyone can work with their best friends by their side. However, not all dogs are suited to sit at a desk all day. By being a considerate pet owner, you can help promote dog-friendly offices.
Post last updated September 14, 2021.