Dog friendly workplaces: Does it help or hinder employee morale?
Dog Friendly Workplaces let four-legged friends find a spot around offices.
Should you let employees bring their dog to work?
Dog Friendly Workplaces
Could having dogs at work or a ‘bring your dog’ policy help increase employee morale?
A few years ago, I worked at an advertising agency that allowed employees to have their dogs at work. It was great (at first)!
Having dogs at work relieved some of the tension and pressure- both which can be abundant in an ad agency with demanding clients.
It was a good conversation starter between coworkers; a way to break the ice and get to know others. We’ve talked about the benefits of talking in the workplace before!
Companies like Google, Amazon or Etsy all allow employees to have dogs at work and have been doing so, reportedly with great success.
The idea behind allowing dogs at work, is that dogs help to relieve stress, increase employee morale and improve workplace relationships.
According to this Forbes article, “In areas such as improved employee morale, greater work-life balance, improved work relationships and ability to work longer hours, respondents agreed between 75-95% of the time.”
Dog friendly workplaces
Austin Wagner, one of the respondents talked about the benefit of having a dog in the workplace from his point of view:
“Stress relief. My favorite thing about coming home after a long day at the office is being smothered by my dog. It’s wonderful having my best friend at the office all day.”
In my experience, after a few weeks, bringing dogs into work got kind of old.
Barking in the background of client calls, accidents on the floor and puppies who didn’t get along made productivity and efficiency at work a little difficult.
Plus, I’m a cat person.
The down sides of allowing dogs in the workplace
A FastCompany article detailed some of the down sides of allowing dogs in the workplace. According to the article, safety can be a huge concern for offices.
Though they may be “man’s best friend”, dogs can’t exactly be held responsible for their actions and accidents can happen. For employees with allergies, having dogs in the office can cause more stress than lower stress.
Plus, according to some workplaces, having an adorable puppy running around can prove to be a bit of a distraction for employees.
Shreyans Parekh, a marketing director for a wedding and event supplies company, conducted a workplace experiment with pets and found it did nothing to support the oft-cited creative and productive gains that dog friendly workplaces are supposed to enjoy.
In Parekh’s words, “We ran an experiment allowing dogs at work to lower stress levels and increase productivity. After four months, we eliminated it. Productivity, quarterly numbers, and error rates did not improve with the pets being present–in fact, they dropped during some weeks.”
Puppyforce, the company’s official pet policy
At company VMWare, to avoid the complications that can arise from bringing dogs to work, employees who bring in dogs to the office are asked to sign an etiquette agreement.
As does company Build-a-Bear Workshop. Salesforce, has an interesting approach to puppies at work. Salesforce implemented Puppyforce, the company’s official pet policy.
It lets up to six employees book a special room with all things necessary for a comfortable day working with Fido. This includes soundproof walls, water bowls, dog beds and more.
Salesforce also provides employees with pet insurance discounts, dog walking and vet house calls.
While costly, Salesforce’s approach is a great compromise for dog friendly workplaces.
However, multiple workplaces have a bring your dog to work policy that works well for them and that is reflected in their employee’s moods.
Do you agree with dog-friendly workplaces?
Is it something you would experiment with in the workplace?
Let us know on Twitter!
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