By Tim Falk
Published: 06/23/2021, edited: 06/23/2021
June 25 is National Take Your Dog to Work Day, when workers around the country are encouraged to welcome some new four-legged co-workers into the office. It’s a wonderful initiative designed to allow people and their pets to spend more time together, and it can have plenty of benefits for workplace morale too.
But the idea of a dog-friendly workplace doesn’t get everyone’s tail wagging. From allergies and phobias to productivity-destroying distractions, there are lots of potential downsides to welcoming pooches into the office.
So, should you bring your dog to work? Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons to help you decide.
Why should you take your dog to work? There are plenty of good reasons why dogs and workplaces are a “pawsome” fit:
No teary goodbyes each morning. Is there anything more heartbreaking than the mournful look on your dog’s face when you leave for work each morning? When you take them to work, you don’t need to deal with this difficult parting anymore.
Increase the fun factor. Let’s face it, the office often isn’t the most interesting or exciting place to be. But dogs make everything more enjoyable, so bringing your pooch to work can help make your workplace a more fun place to be. Who knows? You might even start looking forward to going to work each day!
Stress relief. Dogs have been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression as well as improve our mood. So when you take your dog into the office, you could be providing a range of mental health benefits for yourself as well as your co-workers.
Great conversation starter. What better way to get to know your colleagues a little better than to bond over your shared love of dogs? Dogs are wonderful ice breakers and conversation starters, so expect to form closer relationships with your co-workers as they surround your desk to talk dogs and maybe enjoy a quick cuddle with your pup.
Could save you money. How much money do you spend on dog walkers, doggy day care, or pet sitters to keep your pup entertained while you’re at work? How much could you save if your dog could stay by your side at work all day long? For many full-time workers, the savings could be quite substantial.
Can be a great selling point for businesses. How much more likely would you be to apply for a job if you knew it was at a dog-friendly workplace? If your answer is “a lot”, you’ll understand just how effective a recruiting tool pets can be for businesses.
Taken in isolation, all the benefits above make taking your dog to work sound like the best thing since sliced bread. But it’s not all doggy kisses, cuddles, and wagging tails, as there are some drawbacks of having dogs in the office:
Co-workers or customers with allergies. People with pet allergies certainly won’t appreciate having your dog in the office, no matter how well-groomed your pup may be or how little they may shed.
Co-workers or customers with dog phobias. Some people simply don’t like dogs, while others are anxious or even scared around our four-legged friends. Unfortunately, not everyone is an animal lover, so you’ll need to consider the rights of everyone in your workplace before taking your dog to work.
Legal considerations. Your employer will also need to consider their insurance before deciding whether or not to allow dogs at work. For example, what liability issues will arise if your dog bites someone in your office?
Poor doggy behavior. Is your dog well-behaved enough to sit in an office all day long and not get up to any mischief? From barking and chewing on the furniture to failing to stay on their mat, there are plenty of potential problems that may arise. Remember too that other people might bring their dogs to work, so your dog will need to be able to get along well with other dogs if their office visits are going to be a success.
The distraction factor. Would you be able to focus on your work if your dog was sitting beside you? What about your colleagues? Let’s face it, dogs are cute, fun, and downright adorable, so there’s always the risk that having a dog in the office could harm productivity levels.
Bathroom breaks. Remember that you’ll also need to take your dog out for regular potty breaks throughout the day. While this can help combat problems associated with sitting all day long, there’s also a chance it could be distracting and disruptive.
So, all things considered, should you bring your dog to work? As dog lovers, we hope the answer is yes. Taking your dog to work can provide a host of wonderful benefits for you, your colleagues, and of course your pup.
But welcoming a dog into your office simply isn’t always possible. Whether it’s a liability issue, an allergy problem, or some other concern, taking your dog to work isn’t a feasible option in every workplace.
Hopefully, your employer will be willing to at least entertain the idea of dogs at work and will work with you to put together a pet policy. Because when you get to spend more time with your dog by your side, we think the benefits outweigh any potential drawbacks.
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