The Pros and Cons of Bringing Your Dog to Work
Work is a drag. Dogs are awesome. So bringing your four-legged BFF to the office seems like a no-brainer, right? While leashing up Fido and taking him to work might seem like the best way to get through the 9-to-5 toil, inviting your pup to work isn’t guaranteed to be a walk in the (dog) park. Though many employers have implemented pet-friendly workplaces, and there is strong evidence to suggest that having fur babies at the office improves health and morale, make sure you think through the ramifications of bringing your dog to work with you.
We’ll help you consider the pros and cons of bringing your fluffer to your place of employment because ultimately, your No. 1 job is being a responsible pet owner. (And if you’re a boss considering making your workplace pup-friendly, we have some words of wisdom for you, too.)
Pros of Bringing Your Dog to Work
A VCU study compared the stress, job satisfaction, support, and organizational commitment of both employees who brought their dogs to work and those who didn’t.
“Dogs in the workplace can make a positive difference,” principal investigator Randolph T. Barker, Ph.D., professor of management in the VCU School of Business, concluded after the study. “The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction than industry norms.”
More Social Interaction
Canines connect people and can help bring together employees who might not bond over any other topic than dog ownership. These professional friendships can help create a more collaborative work environment and help employees feel more connected to their company.
Better Work-Life Balance
All work and no play make any dog owner (and their pup) unhappy. That’s why work-life balance is so crucial. Dog owners may feel like they have to choose between getting ahead in their careers or taking good care of their fur babies. But with dogs welcome at more and more workplaces, pet parents are less conflicted and feel more balanced.
“Short walks, a little playtime, and temporary distractions allow mental breaks, enabling employees to not overwork and become stressed,” states an article by USC on the benefits of pets in the workplace. “Spending too much time too close to a project, problem, or other work can inhibit productivity and cause unnecessary stress.”
Higher Employee Morale
Dr. Meredith Wells-Lepley, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology at USC, teamed up with Dr. Rose Perrine to research how pets influenced workers at 31 companies in Lexington and Richmond, Virginia. According to USC, they found that “most employees in the study believed that workplace pets reduced their stress levels and positively influenced their health, job satisfaction and organizational issues such as productivity and employee morale.”
By allowing pets to come to work, companies make the office feel more like home – somewhere they want to be rather than have to report to. According to liveabout.com, people who work in pet-friendly office environments “tend to work longer hours and have fewer absences.”
Cons of Bringing Your Dog to Work
Dogs are adorable…but they’re also mighty distracting. Whether it’s their noisiness, their need for attention, or the frequency of bathroom breaks, having your pup at your workplace might harm your productivity rather than help it.
Employee Health Issues
According to the AKC, at least three in 10 people are allergic to animal fur. There’s a pretty high probability that some of your coworkers don’t think your dog is endearing, but a nuisance. What’s more, according to Healthline, 7 to 9 percent of people have diagnoseable phobias, one of which is cynophobia, or a fear of dogs. For these people, being surrounded by canines, no matter how cute, could make the workplace more terrifying than it already is.
A dog-friendly workplace potentially means a lot of pups in a confined space. This could result in injury to workers or other dogs as well as damage to the office space. Is being liable for any of that a risk you want to take?
Many dog breeds shed, so if you work in a dog-friendly office, you better have a lint roller at the ready at all times. What’s worse, even the best-behaved of canines is going to have an accident now and then. Don’t you have to deal with enough of the, um, brown stuff at work that you don’t want to be scraping dog poop off your dress shoes, too?
The rise of dog-friendly workplaces is a definite plus for professionals who love their pups and want to have them close by during the workday. But just because you can bring your dog to the office doesn’t necessarily mean you should. The decision to include your pooch in your professional life is a personal one, and each individual dog’s temperament and habits should be taken into consideration before trying to make them your four-legged sidekick at the office.
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