Considering an Office Pet Policy

Spending at least 40 hours at work every week away from your dog can feel unbearable. You may feel like you're failing your best friend or being selfish for bringing a dog into your life when you have to spend so much time away from home. Wouldn’t it be great to bring your dog to work with you?

Soon that may be an option! More offices are becoming pet-friendly throughout the United States, and those numbers are likely going to continue to rise.

If you have any say in the matter, you should think about instituting an office pet policy. If not, try discussing it with the powers that be. Employees and employers alike can benefit from allowing dogs in the workplace, but it may not be the right fit for everyone. Before you let the dogs out, there are a few things you need to consider.

The Many Pawsitive Benefits

Spending time with a dog has benefits in and of itself, but pooches have a direct impact on employees and the workplace as well. Here some of the many advantages of having a dog in the office:

For Employees

  • The University of Southern California notes that “pets at the workplace make them [employees] happier, lower stress levels, and create a comfortable, flexible environment. Pets can create camaraderie within the workplace and trigger interactions that may not have happened without them.” This reduced stress and flexible environment boosts employee productivity and improves office morale.
  • Having dogs at work allows employees to better embrace work-life balance. Because dogs are such big, loveable goofs, employees can pass time at work more happily. In addition, employees have to take breaks to care for their dog when they may otherwise skip them.
  • Dogs can promote positivity throughout the entire workplace. Employees who don’t have pets or can’t bring their pooch to the office can still enjoy the company of their coworkers’ canines!

For Employers

  • According to a survey conducted by Banfield Pet Hospital, 82 percent of employees agreed that allowing pets in the workplace made them feel a greater loyalty to their companies. Hiring and training new employees can be a stressful, costly enterprise and pets in the workplace can help employers retain happier, more productive employees.
  • Permitting pets in the workplace shows that employers value work-life balance. No one wants to work for an organization they feel doesn’t care about them or view them as people with lives outside of work.
  • Pets can contribute to a positive company culture that fosters connection and a laid-back work environment. They can make an organization look more appealing to clients or potential applicants.

Challenges to Canine Coworkers

Despite all of the wonderful effects dogs have in the workplace, you have to think about some of the challenges to having a pet policy before making a decision. Here are some obstacles to allowing pets in the workplace:

  • Some employees may not want to have dogs in the office. There are many reasons, from phobias to simply not being a dog-lover, that people would want an animal-free workplace. People who are allergic to dogs may not even be able to work in a place where pooches are present.
  • Without a few rules, having dogs in the office could quickly go from fun to chaotic. You have to figure out what kind of policy will best suit your office’s needs while maintaining the cleanliness and safety of the workplace. How many dogs will be allowed each day? Do they need to be pre-approved? What course of action needs to be taken if a dog accidentally damages company equipment or hurts an employee?
  • There can be negative consequences to having a dog in the office too. Poorly behaved dogs can lead to annoyed employees or damaged office equipment. Canine coworkers need to be good citizens, who are up-to-date on all shots, and can socialize well with humans and other dogs.

Whatever you decide, be sure to think through the pros and cons carefully. If you think that allowing dogs in the office will be a great addition to your workplace, then go for it! If a pet policy isn’t right for your workplace, that’s okay and doesn’t mean that you love dogs any less. Besides, even just looking at photos of dogs can make you feel happy—and that might be enough to get you through the day until you can go home to your furry friend!

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