Sounds pretty sweet right? Being able to bring your dog to the office with you? Having the peace of mind knowing that they aren’t hanging out in your lonely apartment with nothing but CNN on to keep them company. Having an excuse to walk around the block every few hours. Not to mention, there’s something about having man’s best friend around that puts a smile on both your face and your coworkers.
While seeing-eye dogs, occupational therapy animals, and police and military dogs have long been making office spaces their daytime homes, this article is specifically about pet dogs.
So, let’s begin with the pros. Pets are proven to have a calming effect on the mental health of those they interact with. Simply petting a dog gives you the chance to relax, to take a moment and gather your thoughts. Also, because pets require care – walking, feeding, and affection – it gives those around it a sense of purpose. Furthermore, hanging out with a dog lowers your blood pressure and reduces the negative effects of stress. It has also been proven that interacting with a pet can increase your productivity and creativity! In one study, simply having a dog around increased the coworkers sense of trust, and creativity when confronted with a stressful workplace situation.
Google, Zynga, Ben & Jerry’s all have well received bring your dog to work policies. And yet, there are still some cons on the horizon. The first and most irrefutable con to bringing your pet to an enclosed work space: allergies. Pet related allergies can come in all forms, from sneezing, to temporary rashes, and even panic attacks. It’s hard to argue that this is a nice thing to bring your coworkers on casual Fridays.
Another factor to take into consideration are those who are simply scared of your pet. Phobias are by definition irrational. So although you may have the world’s sweetest beagle, Jordan from accounting may simply be terrified of Sparky. Furthermore, there are many industries: pharmaceuticals, research labs, food industries, where pets simply aren’t hygienically welcome.
So here’s the moral of the story: pets are awesome. They have the potential to relieve stress and raise morale, but only in some work places. Introducing pets into the workplace should be done on a case by case basis. While there is no hard and fast rule, it would seem that small office based workplaces and some retail spaces with coworkers who don’t have pet allergies are the ideal fit for bringing your pet to the office.