These days, it can feel like there are dogs everywhere you turn. About 68 percent of households in the U.S. own a pet, and 60.2 million of those pets are dogs. This statistic has resulted in an attitude shift. More and more public places are being deemed appropriate for pets — including the workplace.
Primarily driven by millennials, many companies are allowing pets in their offices. Large organizations, such as Google, Amazon, Etsy, and Ben & Jerry’s, have even used their dog-friendly policies as a recruiting tactic. And now, smaller companies are following suit.
But before you decide to take your four-legged friend to work with you, here’s a list of pros and cons to consider.
The Benefits of Having Dogs in the Workplace
- Relieves stress: A 2012 study revealed that people who brought their dogs to work had lower hormonal stress levels.
- Promotes positive interaction: Pets can be a point of common interest and can get co-workers talking to each other in a friendly way.
- Decreases employee turnover: For some people, the ability to bring their pet to work is a must-have perk. Once they’ve found a company that allows it, it’s not likely they’ll want to give that perk up anytime soon.
- Attracts top talent: Like generous maternity benefits or flextime, a dog-friendly office can be very enticing to potential hires and recruits.
- Increases performance: Because they don’t have to run home to take out their dog, employees at pet-friendly businesses tend to have fewer absences and can work longer hours.
- Decreases pet care costs: If you typically put your canine companion in doggy daycare or hire a dog walker, bringing your pet to work is a huge money saver.
- Improves morale: Dogs can help lighten the mood when things get stressful.
Disadvantages of a Dog-Friendly Workplace
- Co-workers with allergies or phobias: It’s been said that as many as 3-in-10 people are allergic to animals with fur, including dogs. Others may be uncomfortable around dogs.
- Disruptions: Similar to how most people don’t like every single person they meet, some dogs may not get along with certain dogs. A dogfight at work can be disruptive and dangerous. It can also harm relationships between co-workers, clients, or customers.
- Distractions: Dogs barking, whining, and snoring in the middle of the office can be very annoying and disruptive. You should only bring a dog to work that is well trained and housebroken.
- Time requirements: It may be difficult to find time to give your dog the potty breaks he needs when you’re constantly running to meetings or trying to meet a deadline.
- Potential legal and insurance issues: One dog bite could lead to a costly lawsuit. If you own a business and have considered adopting a dog-friendly office policy, talk to a lawyer about potential problems that may arise.
Ultimately, deciding whether or not to bring your dog to the office depends on a number of different factors. It’s important to weigh every pro and con before you show up with your canine companion in tow. And, of course, first check with your employer to make sure your pup is even allowed on the premises!