Who Let The Dogs Out?: The Benefits of Dogs at Work

September 27, 2013 3 Comments by Mareisha Winters

Who Let The Dogs Out?: The Benefits of Dogs at WorkWork is not the same as it was 50 years ago, or even 15 years ago! Flexible work arrangements have thrown the traditional 9 to 5 out the window.  In an effort to boost employee morale, productivity and engagement organizations are offering perks from bringing your dog to work to providing places to “play” during the workday.  This month at LTAW we are talking about the unconventional in the workplace…which we are sure will someday become the new normal.

Work has gone to the dogs.  Okay, not completely, but more and more companies are allowing the little furry companions into the workplace. There is  a national Take Your Dog to Work Day that some companies choose to participate in yearly. But some companies have adopted a dog-friendly policy year round. In a 2008 poll conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association of working Americans 18 and older, 17% responded that their company allows pets at work. In a different survey conducted by the same group in 2012, workers surveyed reported they brought their dogs to work 22 times, compared to 17 times in 2008.

So does bringing your dog to work really make good business sense? Employers who have embraced this policy– including Amazon, Google and even Congress – would most likely argue yes. Some of the benefits of dogs in the workplace include increased morale and productivity, happier employees, lower absenteeism rates and even improved relationships among co-workers. One survey found that employees would work longer hours if they could bring their dog to work. Having your pup in the office also forces you to take breaks; research has shown that when you take frequent, short breaks you boost productivity. Another study conducted by Central Michigan University revealed that dogs in the workplace can lead to more trust between co-workers and that leads to more collaboration among team members.  Having your dog around has its health benefits too. A recent study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that having your dog in the office could reduce stress and boost employee satisfaction.

While there are obviously benefits of having man’s best friend in the office, employers considering joining this trend should take the time to determine if it’s the right move for their organization. Keep in mind that not everyone is a dog lover (I know hard to believe! :-) ) and some people may have allergies. Also, not all dogs are well behaved and some may not warm up quickly to new people. Some companies have dog-friendly buildings or departments to accommodate those that may not be too keen on the idea of having dogs around. The Humane Society has published a guide to assist companies with creating a business environment where employees’ dogs are welcome.

Are you looking for a dog-friendly place to work? Check out this list of companies that allow dogs at work:

  1. Google: It’s not surprising that Google, probably known as the #1 fun place to work, is also dog-friendly. Google’s dog policy outlines a basic set of guidelines including cleaning up after the dog makes and being mindful of allergic co-workers.
  2. P&G Pet Care: P&G Pet Care not only allows employees to bring their dogs to work, the company has its very own V.P. of Canine Communications, a dog named Pawl Griffin (he even has his own twitter account!).
  3. Ben & Jerry’s: An ice cream and dog lovers dream! As if getting free ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet every day wasn’t enough, you can also bring your four-legged pal to the office…hmmm, I wonder if they have dog-friendly ice cream too.
  4. Build A Bear Workshop:  According to their blog, on any given day there could be 10-20 dogs at the World Bearquarters. Similar to P&G Pet Care, the company also has a dog on the executive team, Milford.
  5. Humane Society: We know the Humane Society knows dogs! Employees at this company have to submit an application to bring their pooch to work. If everything checks out, the dog can become a permanent member of the workplace.
  6. Amazon: Amazon has long had a pet friendly policy. A normal day at Seattle HQ will have anywhere from two to three dozen dogs on the premises. At Amazon the dog must remain on a leash unless it is behind a baby gate or in an office with a closed door.
  7. Clif Bar & Company: Allowing employees to bring their dogs to work fits into the company’s “sustaining our people” aspiration. Clif Bar was named one of Outside magazine’s Best Places to Work of 2010 in part due to their pooch-friendly workplace policy.
  8. Replacements, Ltd.:  “It’s part of our culture here to have pets,” said one employee, adding that most days there are 20 to 30 leashed or crated or behind-baby-gates dogs in the building, and even the occasional cat or rabbit.

What do you think about dogs in the workplace? Does your company allow dogs (or other pets)? Tell us in the comments below.

Be Unconventional!

 

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  • Not a fan

    Dogs at work – great idea… IF…
    Is there a way to keep your pooch safely away from those employees who are allergic, or just really don’t like (or are afraid of) dogs?
    Can you guarantee that Fido’s fur won’t get into places it shouldn’t? (ie: that allergic employee’s clothing?)
    Is Fido well-behaved, and well-controlled enough to not be trolling trashcans or pestering anyone with anything edible?
    Those are just a few questions, really, but the fact is, not everyone loves dogs and for some they cause severe allergic reactions (from dander, by the way, not hair… and there’s no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic pet).
    I’m in a workplace that allows dogs, and they trigger severe allergies and asthma in me. I’ve been told I should take medication, learn to deal with it, accept it as part of the company culture, and see another specialist because Fido is a hypoallergenic breed that doesn’t cause the boss’ allergic daughter any reactions.
    For every sane dog owner out there who has a well-behaved dog in the office there is at least one whose commonsense has gone out the window.

    • LetsTalkWork

      Thanks for your comment! Totally agree. I read in another article when doing research for this post that one company tells potential hires that they are a dog culture and that the person has to make the decision if they want to work for that company, but the company is not going to change.

      Did your workplace allow dogs before you started working there? If not, I would be interested to know how they brought up the new policy for all of those reasons you outlined.

  • LetsTalkWork

    Thanks for your comment! Totally agree. I read in another article when doing research for this post that one company tells potential hires that they are a dog culture and that person has to make the decision if they want to work for that company, but the company is not going to change.

    Did your workplace allow dogs before you started working there? If not, I would be interested to know how they brought up the new policy for all of those reasons you outlined below.

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