While the COVID-19 pandemic created many challenges for employees, one upside of working from home was that pet owners got to spend a lot more time with their dogs. According to a survey conducted by Honest Paws, 67% of dog owners said they would prefer looking for a new job if they were unable to bring their dog into the office once they return to a full-time in-person schedule. Furthermore, 78% of respondents said they would stay at their current employer if they were allowed to bring their dogs in.
So, in other words, it seems that dog owners would be more likely to stay at a job they’re unhappy at if it meant they could bring their pooch. While it may sound like a lot of work, a 2012 study found that people who bring their dogs to work have lower stress levels, so maybe they’re onto something!
Allowing dogs in the workplace is becoming more widely accepted, with 7% of U.S. employers now offering it as a recruitment perk. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, this is up from 5% from just five years ago. If you’re one of the lucky few who can bring their dog into the office, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind to keep things professional while caring for your furry friend.
1. Come prepared.
At work, your inbox and client meetings can keep you busy. Your dog isn’t as fortunate. Before you bring your dog in, create a checklist for everything they’ll need to survive the day. This includes:
Fresh food/water and something to eat/drink out of
Their dog bed and/or blanket
Paper towels/cleaner in case of an accident
By bringing these items with you, it will cut back on any need to use company supplies, such as paper bowls or plates. Furthermore, it will prevent you from having to run to the store to grab cleaning supplies or snacks, which could otherwise waste company time and work against you.
2. Leave the squeaky toys at home.
While your dog’s favorite toy might make a lot of noise, it’s best to leave that one at home and opt for something else. Having a dog in the workplace can be fun, but remember it is still a place of professionalism. While you may be able to tune out the sound of the squeaky toy at the office, they can be a major source of distraction for your co-workers who are trying to make phone calls or conduct meetings.
Instead of a squeaky toy, opt for something that creates minimal noise and can keep your dog entertained for long periods, such as a bone or a Kong toy that can be filled with peanut butter.
3. Consider your dog’s temperament and ability.
Before bringing your dog into the office, it’s important to determine whether or not it’s a good idea. If your office has stairs, will that pose a problem for your dog and make it difficult to take them outside for potty breaks? Do they tend to bark over every little noise? Do they have incontinence? Consider how your dog acts at home and whether that will pose any problems in the workplace.
It’s also a good idea to find out if anyone in your office space is allergic to dogs. While that might not deter you from bringing them in, it’s a good idea to ask ahead of time so you can find a suitable spot for them, such as a conference room so as not to trigger anyone’s symptoms.
4. Don’t forget to schedule breaks.
Sometimes, accidents are unavoidable but make the time to take them outside to use the bathroom. Most adult dogs can hold their bladder for 10-12 hours, but for puppies, it’s a different story. Depending on their age, puppies may have to be taken out every two or so hours.
Create a potty break schedule that won’t interrupt meetings or cause delays with clients. A good rule of thumb is to tie your dog’s bathroom breaks to your lunch break and when you get your cup of coffee in the morning and late afternoon.
5. Remember the value of personal space.
The reality is that not everyone likes dogs. Whether they are afraid of them due to their breed, size, or painful memory associated with a previous attack, respect your co-worker’s space. Remember, you are the one in control of your dog while it’s at the office. Keep them near you and avoid having them run loose and go up to people who may not feel comfortable around them.
Just because you know your dog won’t attack, doesn’t mean someone else does. Respect your co-workers’ boundaries and make compromises with them if necessary. Bringing your dog into the office can be a great experience as long as you adhere to these helpful tips.