For some, bringing their dog to work can make their day more enjoyable and productive. However, for others, the four-legged friends are a distraction that interferes with their ability to get work done. Before you establish your office as pet-friendly, consider the pros and cons of allowing dogs in the workplace.
According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study, employees who brought their dogs to work with them experienced an 11% reduction in stress levels. Furry friends encourage movement, exercise, and playfulness, which can help lighten the mood when faced with challenges at work. Dogs are also intuitive and affectionate; caring for pets can help you to feel needed and loved. Additionally, a pup that finds his way into your office can simply add some happiness to a difficult or monotonous day.
Improve Morale and Productivity
Wagging tails can help to increase the contentment factor in the office, which sets the stage for improved morale and productivity. Cheerful employees work 12% more efficiently and get more done, according to a study conducted by economists at the University of Warwick. Positive emotions are invigorating, and workers tend to be more creative when feeling happy.
Not Everyone Loves Dogs
It can be difficult for dog lovers to understand, but for some, furry friends are more of a nuisance than a benefit. Dogs barking, whimpering, playing with squeaky toys, or wandering in and out of offices can be a distraction, especially in a fast-paced or deadline-driven atmosphere. Other employees may be fearful of dogs, possibly based on a previous bad experience. Establishing pet-free zones can help to contain the canines.
Dog-friendly workplaces can cause a serious medical problem for employees who are allergic. For most, the allergy resides in the pet’s dander, which is secreted through the dog’s saliva, skin, and hair. Dander can travel through the air, so an allergic employee can be exposed even if he or she tries to maintain a distance from the pooch. Vacuuming regularly, which is often offered as a solution, may help some, but it is probably not a cure-all.
Inquire with all employees to see if anyone is allergic before allowing dogs in the office. A compromise may be to designate certain days as pet-friendly, such as the first Friday of the month. Allow employees who are allergic or do not like dogs to work at home on those days, and have the office thoroughly cleaned before the office opens again for business.
Create a pet committee, consisting of employees who do and do not love dogs, to establish policies and procedures for allowing dogs in the office, either full or part time. The group can set requirements for obedience and establish pet-friendly zones in the office. The committee may want to consult with an attorney regarding any legal aspects of having a pet-friendly office, such as what to do if an employee or guest gets bitten.