Dogs in the Workplace- Friend or Foe?

From the desk of Karen Lombardo, President of Put Another Way

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“Please take me with you.”

My company has a firm ‘Dogs are Welcome’ policy. Many of us are remote so the bring your dog to work day is an everyday occurrence. In the U.S., companies are beginning to allow dogs in the workplace to create a more serene and comforting environment.

There are a few drawbacks to this:

  1. People could be afraid of dogs
  2. People could be allergic to dogs
  3. People do not think having a dog in the office lends to a professional environment.

All valid points. However, numerous studies have proven that the effects of dogs in the workplace have an impact on employee satisfaction, output of work and overall morale. Some supporting evidence:

1. The Alliance of Therapy Dogs states, “It is nearly impossible to look at a picture of a dog and not smile or laugh. Laughter is the best medicine and a therapy dog adds just the right amount of humor to boost employee morale and increase workplace productivity. Therapy dogs can lift moods, improve happiness, and reduce stress. All the benefits of owning a dog at home translate to the workplace with a therapy dog by their side.”

2. There is an actual “Take Your Dog to Work Day.” According to Psychology Today posted on June 16, 2011, “Perhaps one major indicator of society’s more relaxed attitude toward the presence of dogs is the fact that this year on Friday, June 24, will mark the 13th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day. The first Take Your Dog to Work Day was held in 1999, and it was meant to be both a celebration of our companionship with dogs and also designed to encourage the adoptionof dogs from humane societies, animal shelters, and rescue organizations. This first event involved only 300 businesses, while this year more than 5000 businesses in the U.S. have expressed their interest in participating.”

3. Dogs can relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and create a calming environment which can lead to open creativity, dialogue, and communication. (no source, just opinion) I have a Pug named Izzy. She makes my day and when it is stressful or in a time crunch, her serenity has an impact on me and my performance. She makes me better.

My daughter is a senior at RIT in Rochester, NY. They have ‘Bow Wow Wellness’ days where the students can go and hang out with dogs, and a turtle (don’t ask) and feel a little love and stress relief. She told me during exam time, the place is packed! All I know is she feels better, the dogs get extra love, and, in her case, the GPA reflects the impact that Bow Wow Wellness has had on her peace of mind at test time.

Keep an open mind and if there are no health reasons not to have a dog around, give it a shot. Outside of a few sloppy kisses and some puppy snoring, your life and business might be just a little better.

“What do you think? Should employees be allowed to bring their dog into work?”

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