The Doggy Debate: Bringing your dog to work

28 Jul 2023

The Doggy Debate: Bringing your dog to work

Woof! Wiggles! Wags! Imagine a furry coworker curled up under your desk, keeping those Monday (and Tuesday, Wednesday...)  blues at bay with a wagging tail and an infectious smile. Yep, we're talking about bringing our four-legged companions to work, and it's a hot topic in workplaces worldwide.

Here at HQ, we have our own little pocket rocket who goes by the name of Bine and accompanies Sales Manager Janža Pavlin everywhere, you may have seen them bobbing around the city visiting clients. “Bine’s great company but he does bark a lot. He also sees himself as a bigger boss than Niko.” 
Niko Slavnik, Janža Pavlin and the delightful Bine

While we let Bine bark out his superiority to our director Niko, let’s dig in and sniff out the pros and cons of this adorable office trend. 
Bine, stealthily plotting to assume the position of 'Top Dog'

The Furry Pros:
  • Stress Reduction: Interacting with dogs has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels and promote a sense of well-being. Having dogs in the workplace can create a more relaxed and positive atmosphere, helping employees cope with work-related pressures.
  • Improved Morale: Dogs in the workplace can boost team morale and foster a sense of camaraderie amongst employees. The presence of furry companions can lift spirits, improve team dynamics, and create a more enjoyable work environment.
  • Increased Productivity: Studies have shown that having dogs at work can lead to increased productivity. Employees often take short breaks to interact with the dogs, which can recharge their energy and improve focus when they return to work tasks.
  • Enhanced Employee Retention: A pet-friendly workplace can be a strong incentive for employees to stay with a company. The policy showcases a progressive and caring work culture that values work-life balance.
  • Icebreaker and Socialisation: Dogs can serve as excellent icebreakers, facilitating conversations and social interactions amongst colleagues who might not have interacted otherwise. This can improve communication and team cohesion.
  • Pet Owners' Peace of Mind: For employees who are pet owners, bringing their dogs to work means they don't have to worry about leaving their pets alone for long hours, leading to reduced stress and increased loyalty to the company.

The Canine Cons:
  • Allergies and Phobias: Not everyone is comfortable around dogs, and some individuals may have allergies or phobias that can make it challenging to work in a dog-friendly environment.
  • Distractions: While dogs can be stress-relievers, they can also become distractions, especially in busy work environments. Barking, playtime, and toilet breaks might divert employees' attention from their tasks.
  • Hygiene Concerns: Maintaining a clean and hygienic workspace can be more challenging with dogs present. Accidents, shedding, and the need to handle waste responsibly require additional effort and diligence.
  • Liability and Safety: There's a potential risk of dog-related incidents or injuries, such as bites or falls, which may lead to liability issues for the company.
  • Unequal Treatment: If not carefully managed, the presence of dogs in the workplace might lead to feelings of favouritism or discrimination amongst employees who don't own pets.
  • Compatibility Issues: Not all dogs may have the temperament or training to be comfortable in a workplace setting. Some dogs may become anxious or overwhelmed in a busy office environment.

Here in Slovenia, pet-friendly policies are barking up the right tree. Another local company that has embraced the trend is video game developer Triternion, which has a four-legged team member who has been a big hit with his co-workers.

Vinnie, the delightfully scruffy mixed breed, trots into the office two or three times a week with owner Jonathan Dunn, Development Director. “He’s quite the charmer. He loves to meet new people around the building and always puts a smile on their faces. Once in our office, he enjoys hanging out with the team, looking out the window, and coming out for lunch with us.”
Vinnie, the scruffy charmer

While some could argue that having a dog around could be a distraction from work, Dunn disagrees. “That’s not the case for us. He’s very calm and everyone likes having him here. Our team members enjoy being able to take five and play ball with him before getting back down to business. He’s a great addition to the team!”

Any problems getting him settled in? “Apart from stealing a few empty cappuccino cups from bins in the early days, he’s been very well behaved.”
Keeping a watchful eye on the outside world​​​​​

But taking dogs to work isn’t suitable for all pups. Dunn says of his second dog, “he just didn’t settle and was restless most of the day. He prefers to permanently ‘work from home’.”

In conclusion, having dogs in the workplace can bring numerous benefits but also requires careful consideration and management. The decision depends on each company's culture, space, respect for everyone's feelings, and most importantly, the dogs' wellbeing. But, with clear guidelines and open communication, bringing dogs to work can create a great environment that leaves employees happy and tails wagging.

So which side are you on? Bark once for yes, twice for no and let us know in the comments below! 🐾

Thumbnail photo: Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash


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