The Pros and Cons of a Dog-Friendly Office

Emily Patz
Emily Patz
Posted November 27, 2018 in Employee Perks

There are plenty of good reasons why more and more offices are going to the dogs.

As dog-friendly offices have reached beyond the tech startup world, many businesses are considering implementing this cute and culture-forward perk to add a little fun to their office environment because they  appreciate their employees' dedication to making their mission possible.

As with any workplace decision there will people on both sides, so it’s best to be informed about how office pups can positively affect your staff and work space, and of course, what could go wrong. Considering inviting four-legged friends to accompany employees to work? Read on to learn the pros and cons of a dog-friendly office.

Office Pups Pros that Win Over Most

Improve Collaboration Among Employees
Dogs serve as the ultimate icebreaker in any setting, so it’s no surprise that dogs in the office bring people together around common business goals and the projects that support them. From towering office slides to swirling candy machines, companies try all sorts of crazy ways to improve collaboration by creating an open and friendly environment. Consider office dogs a low-cost, low-risk alternative to making this happen at your company.

Employees meeting in a dog-friendly office

Boost Employee Retention and Happiness
When you welcome dogs’ lively energy and playful antics to work, you transform your office into a space filled with joy, comfort, and laughter. Keeping dogs deskside turns an occasionally tough place into a place employees enjoy. And this benefit reaps more than just fuzzy feelings. Happy employees are loyal, so expect that with the successful introduction of office pups, your employee retention rate will rise.

Appeal to Millennial Candidates and Employees
According to the American Pet Products Association, millennials are the largest demographic of today’s pet owners. This can be attributed to their desire to put off parenthood to focus on career, travel, and paying down college debt. Coveted for their tech-savvy skills and penchant for collaboration, millennials are a key demographic for hiring managers. Tailoring your pets-at-work policy to attract millennial pet parents is a smart move if you’re looking to fill key positions and retain future leaders of your company.

Reduce Work-Related Stress
From physical illness and poor mental health to decreased productivity and dropping retention rates, stress at work hurts both your employees and your business as a whole. What can a business owner do to alleviate stress? Some say dogs at work can make the day seem less “ruff”. A study by Virginia Commonwealth University revealed that the presence of cuddle-ready canines at work reduced stress among office employees and proactively created a more relaxed environment in which they could do their best work. In addition to chill vibes, a dog-friendly office also promotes a positive relationship between employees and their employer, because this upbeat perk makes employees feel cared about and valued.

An employee at her desk in a dog-friendly office

Promote Employee Wellness
Staring at a screen while sitting at a desk for 8 hours (or let’s be real, even longer) is detrimental to your well-being. Although it’s widely known that desk jobs can take a toll on your health, the all-consuming American work culture can often cause us to forget that not only is taking a break from the desk enjoyable, it’s necessary if we want to stay well, and in turn, produce great work. What better motivator to get up from your desk than to have your dog nudge you for a walk outside, a couple rounds of fetch, or an afternoon bathroom break?  

Office Pup Cons That Could Be a Dealbreaker

Some Employee Are Distracted By Dogs
Not everyone’s a fan of Fido, and the pitter-patter of paws trotting up and down rows of desks can deter people from focusing on their work. Some people are even fearful of dogs, which could put them on alert throughout their workday, when they deserve a work environment that is built for their success.

The best way to get a temperature check on how dogs will fly in your office environment? Ask the people it will affect the most! Send out an employee survey and ask if dogs at the office will make a difference in their workplace happiness. That way, you can address concerns and drum up enthusiasm before you open up the office to four-legged friends. And don’t forget, there’s no harm in trying. Hosting a “Bring Your Dog to Work Day” doesn’t cost a cent!

A dog resting on the floor in a dog-friendly office

Not All Dogs Play Well with Others
When feisty pups get into a scuffle, it can cause a potentially hazardous environment for both dogs and employees. Not to mention, it can pit pet parents against one another. The best way to handle aggressive behavior? Put a three strikes policy into place. If a dog causes trouble three times, they are no longer welcome at the office.