They’re cute. They’re cuddly. They can melt your blues away with a single lick to your face or cock of the head. What more can you ask from a dog, one of the best possible companions in the world?
Well, you can ask to take them to work, for one.
In case you haven’t heard, this Friday is Take Your Dog to Work Day!
Are you jumping for joy yet?
Here are a few more reasons you should be…
When you have your pup by your side in the office, you can enjoy:
- Less Stress: When researchers studied 75 employees in a manufacturing company, they found that those who brought dogs to work had lower stress levels than those who had no dogs or who had dogs but didn’t bring them to work.
- Better Working Environment: Because of their lower stress levels, the aforementioned employees also reported increased productivity, higher morale and an overall enhanced feeling of positivity in the workplace.
- Better Health: Dogs — as well as pets in general — have been known to cut down the risk of depression, high blood pressure, heart disease and drug addiction in their owners.
- Comic Relief: Picture a dog dragging a pizza slice its own size during a meeting. This may sound like something out of a cartoon, but apparently it really did happen at Etsy!
- Peace of Mind: When you have a dog, the benefits go both ways. According to Louise Lee, a spokesperson for the pet charity Blue Cross, dogs feel happier when they’re able to spend more time with their owners.
Of course, these benefits haven’t gone unnoticed. In 2015, around eight percent of American companies allow pets at work — including Google (Alphabet), GoDaddy, Activision Blizzard and Mars. These companies may be in the minority, but they’re a pretty impressive bunch!
If that’s enough to convince you and you want to convince your boss too, here’s a list of items to consider before you move forward.
Make Sure Everyone’s Cool With the Idea
Not everyone will appreciate furry friends at work. Some of your co-workers may have allergies. Others may have had traumatic experiences with dogs a la an encounter with Cujo. These aren’t issues to take lightly, so keep them in mind when you propose to make your company more dog-friendly.
Offer to bring allergy pills and make sure you have an area for your pet where he or she can be away from those with allergies.
Potty-Train Your Dog
Even if your co-workers are okay with dogs roaming the office, they will definitely not be cool with poo. Before you introduce Fido to them, make sure he knows where to do his business. The younger your dog, the easier it’ll be to housetrain them, but if yours still has accidents there’s always a doggy diaper.
Teach Your Dog to be Friendly to People (and Other Dogs)
As with potty-training, the earlier you train your dog to be nice, the better. If you introduce a puppy to as many people as possible, he’ll learn not to snap (too much) at those outside his family. Also, you’ll want to socialize him with other dogs too, so he won’t develop excessive aggression towards them later on.
If you aren’t 100% sure your dog will be absolutely friendly, work on their social skills and consider bringing them next year instead.
No matter how well-trained your dog is, it’s still possible for him to suddenly snap around your co-workers. To prepare for that, go over your insurance policy, and check with your provider whether they have anything that’ll cover for you in case your sweet pooch ends up injuring someone.
Give Them a Place in the Office
Ideally, you should be the one to give them a place. If allowed to make his own place, he can become territorial and aggressive about it. Bring a pillow or bed to work for him, and set it down in the same spot every day.
Set Pet-Free Zones
Some office spaces should be off-limits to animals. In Amazon, for example, pets aren’t allowed near factories and other distribution centers because those places can be dangerous for them, even though the company is technically “pet-friendly.”
It’s okay to let pets roam around, as long as they don’t disrupt work in any way.
Pet-Proof the Office
As far as most dogs are concerned, anything that can be chewed on should be chewed. Keep electrical wires, cords and other sensitive paraphernalia out of the dogs’ reach. Give them tons of chew toys.
And of course, be careful when you move your swivel chair, lest it accidentally run over a stray paw.
Have a Pet Rotation Schedule
If everyone’s dogs are in the office every day, things can get crazy, so take turns instead. You can consider having more than one dog per day, as long as you keep them at a manageable number and in separate areas. Even if they’re best of friends, their playing can be distracting to coworkers.
Be Responsible Don’t Forget the Essentials
It’s not just your dog who needs to be on their best behavior. Keep these rules in mind when bringing any dog to the office:
- Vaccinate your dog against common illnesses like rabies, distemper and canine parvovirus.
- If your dog shows any symptoms of disease, let him stay at home where he can rest and not infect others.
- Be considerate towards your co-workers. If anyone within your vicinity squirms at the sight of dogs and other animals, keep them away from your pet.
- Keep a close eye on your dog. If he causes any sort of incident at work, it’ll be on you to clean up after him.
- Give your dog the attention he needs at work — but don’t forget to actually work!
Don’t Forget the Essentials
If your dog spends as much time at work as you do, it’s important to make him feel at home. Bring anything your dog might need throughout the day, such as chew toys, first-aid kits, water bowls, treats, “poop bags” (for cleaning up Fido’s “business”), a bed, towel, and anything else they need to be comfortable and content.
Having a best friend at work always helps make work enjoyable. When that best friend happens to be a four-legged furball who’s happy to see you no matter what, that’s even better.
If you can make your office pet-friendly with due consideration for your canine companion and co-workers, everybody wins.
Bringing your pet to work this week? Share your pictures in the comments, or on social media tagging me @SarahLandrum on Twitter and @SarahRLandrum on Instagram! (Even if you aren’t bringing them to work, pet pictures are always appreciated!)
As always, be sure to subscribe to the Punched Clocks newsletter for all the latest news and tips about your career, and have a great day!