Is It a Good Idea to Bring Dogs to the Office?

June 20, 2014

Should you allow dogs at work?

Taking pets to work can be great for morale, it’s more than a personal decision.  You need to be sensitive to the company culture, your co-workers and your pets before deciding to take your pet to work.  We all love our pets, but there are pros and cons.   

It’s usually easier to take your pet to work if you are employed by a smaller pet-friendly company.  Bringing pets to work is a company’s culture choice.  And it’s usually dogs at the office more than any other pets.

Advantages of bringing a dog to work include:

  • Dogs relieve stress.  On overload or had an uncomfortable meeting with the boss?  Pet your dog and all is right in your world.
  • Dogs are conversation starters. Take your dog on a walk out of the office and you’ll meet everyone in your neighborhood.  And you never know who you’re going to meet!
  • Therapeutic guide animals have long been allowed in public places, helping their owners navigate the world.  This is a strong plus.
  • It’s not a coincidence that dogs are known as “man’s best friend.”  Dogs are happiest when with their owners.  When you’re dog is happy, you are happy.
  • If you have a private office or a “dog friendly” office, dogs can be great at work.
  • Dogs are universally loved, or are they?

Here are some of the cons:

  • Dogs can slow down productivity in the office because they need attention.  In other words, lots of pets!  You’re playing with the dog, someone else in playing with the dog, or your dog needs to be walked.  Your dog may bark at strangers (your best client) or nip at heels.
  • If you work from home, back ground dog barks may cause your clients and coworkers to question your ability to focus during key moments.  And how does it sound to your important client when you’re on the phone and your dog decides to bark at a delivery person or starts a bark fest the other office dogs?
  • Dogs mark their territory. If another dog has been in your office, your dog might leave “a present” to establish ownership.
  • Not everyone likes dogs and, in fact, some people are afraid of dogs.  If you do bring your dog to the office you need to be considerate of your coworkers and create dog friendly zones.
  • Some people are allergic to dogs.  Unless your dog is short-haired and hypoallergenic, you’ll most likely have some fur to clean up.  Better keep Benadryl at the office.
  • All too frequently, executive pet owners delegate pet walking and clean up to staff, which can have a negative impact on morale and productivity.

And then there’s favoritism. Can everyone bring a dog to work?  What if you have a pet other than a dog, such as a cat, ferret, snake, or tarantula?  Please don’t bring your ferret!

The cons generally outweigh the pros; however, it is delightful and joyous to have a pet at work.  If your office allows it, bringing dogs to work is a great perk.

Although we love having our dogs at the office, they are high maintenance and can become a distraction.  We like knowing that our dogs are at home and happily barking at strangers.

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About The Author

JoAnn Warcholic Ashman is currently a Management Consultant with PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), JoAnn’s held executive level positions at Johnson & Johnson, Apple Computer, Time Warner, Kellwood and DaVita Healthcare Partners. In addition to serving as a charter member of Apple’s mentor program, JoAnn’s background includes staffing, promoting, reorganizing, and restructuring teams, all with a strong focus on keeping, developing, mentoring, and growing future leaders. Her work includes career development, as well as mentoring and sponsorship of numerous direct reports to VP, CIO and general management positions. Dianne Gubin is an entrepreneur, recruiter, career consultant, and dynamic public speaker. As founder and president of Amplify Professional Services, Inc., a national staffing agency, Dianne has accelerated thousands of career successes. She opened countless doorways to life-changing opportunities within Fortune 500 corporations, government, and fast-growth companies. Dianne knows what it takes to get someone hired into a company, as well as what it takes for a candidate to get a job. As a radio show host, Dianne engaged industry leaders on hot-button business issues, offering expert insight into what matters most in careers and professional development. She’s produced a series of video blogs discussing hiring and the job-hunting process.

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