Happy Summer Solstice!
That’s right, today, 21 June, 2019 is the summer solstice - the first official day of summer!
And as we enjoy all things summer, today is one of those days where we’re not short of “national holidays” to celebrate. From National Peaches ‘N’ Cream Day (yum) to International Yoga Day…
But our favorite would have to be National Take Your Dog To Work Day!
Nowadays, more and more companies are making the decision to allow employees to bring their dogs to work. For many, especially millennials, a dog-friendly workplace can be a huge perk. Studies have shown that dogs bring plenty of health benefits to their owners, but they actually provide a number of benefits in the workplace as well.
What kind of benefits you ask?
Well studies have proven that having your dog at work can:
- It’s no secret that dogs help people manage their stress levels, so having that wagging tail under your desk when you’re fighting the upstream current of deadlines is definitely a welcome relief from the stress. Plus if you’re like most pet parents nowadays, it means you won’t have that lingering worry in the back of your mind about your dog being home alone, resenting your for it, all day.
- Statistics have shown that employees miss less work in office environments with dogs roaming around. It also shows that your time in the office is more productive as well, which means better bottom lines for the company in general.
Improved co-worker relationships
- Workplaces with dogs create friendlier co-worker/employer relationships. Dogs offer a real morale boost and help co-workers interact with one another, even if they’re only stopping by your desk to say hi to your dog.
- Many corporate offices offer gyms since taking a quick break for some physical activity actually helps give you a “mental reboot”, leading to better productivity and creativity. Except half of us barely us the gym membership we pay for, so why would we use an office gym?? This is why your dog is another great addition to the office. You can’t ignore going out for a walk with your dog there and exercise and fresh air means you’ll hit less of those mental blocks during your work day.
- You know that guy who clicks his pen repeatedly all day, every damn day? Yea, wouldn’t it be much better if he was [quietly] petting a dog instead? Sure would. Having a dog also means you can curve that leg twitching and focus your attention better while giving and receiving some TLC from your best friend.
So what do you need to know about bringing your dog to work?
Know the Rules
Office dogs are a privilege. Before you bring your best friend to the office you should be aware of the company policies. These rules vary from office to office, so it’s important to know the specifics in advance.
Some common office rules are:
- Your dog must be spayed/neutered
- Your dog must be vaccinated and free of illness
- Your dog must be clean and not have any parasites
- Dogs must be quiet (no barking, whining or noise that will disrupt the office)
- Dogs are limited to “canine-friendly zones” within the building
- Your dog must be well trained
- Your dog must behave with people as well as other dogs (aggressive dogs are definitely a no-go!)
- You must walk your dog regularly to make sure they don’t have accidents
- Dogs must be restrained at all times (by leash, closed doors, gates, pens, crates, etc)
- They should also be leashed when entering or exiting the building or other common areas
- Some offices have a free-range rule where dogs are allowed to roam freely
- You should keep your schedule in mind - if you have back-to-back meetings all day, your pup probably shouldn’t be there
Plan in advance
Not all dogs are cut out for office life, so it’s a good idea to sit down and have an honest conversation with yourself about whether or not your dog is a good fit for the office.
Things to ask yourself:
- Is my dog territorial?
- Does my dog get stressed out in crowded situations?
- Can my dog handle the change and unpredictability of day-to-day office life?
- Will my work day allow me to take breaks to walk my dog when he/she needs it?
- Is my dog sociable enough for the office?
- Is my dog trained and well behaved enough for the office?
- Your dog should have basic obedience skills to be manageable in the workplace
- Are my surrounding co-workers ok with me bringing my dog?
- Keep in mind that some people suffer from allergies, could be afraid of dogs or simply may not what your dog hovering around them for various reasons.
Bringing your pup to work
So you’re dog seems like a great candidate as a new office addition. You’ve spoken to your boss and co-workers and you’ve got the green light to bring your best friend to work with you. Yasss... 👌
Working dog life
- You wouldn’t show up to work without showering and neither should your dog. Simply put, make sure your dog is clean.
- This doesn’t mean bathing them every day they go in - just that they shouldn’t be overly dirty. For instance, if you went hiking on the weekend and they rolled in deer poop or mud puddles, please… wash. the. dog.
- Pack a doggy day-pack. It should include basics like a water bowl, treats, toys, bedding, a leash and anything you might need specific to your office (baby gates, crate, etc)
- Bowls are important! Don’t just use dishes from the kitchen - not everyone wants to share a bowl with your dog.
- Before heading into work, make sure to give your dog ample potty time. Your dog should obviously be house-trained before going to the office, but keep in mind that this is a new exciting environment so you should manage them a little more than usual to avoid any accidents.
- If your dog is very energetic, it might be a good idea to have a little run at the park before heading in for the day to burn off some of that energy.
- You should properly introduce your dog to co-workers and other dogs in the office. This means your dog shouldn’t be jumping, barking or misbehaving while saying hello to people/dogs. When introducing your dog to other dogs it’s best to introduce them on neutral territory. Your dog may be defensive of a cubicle or bed, so meeting outside on the sidewalk might be best.
- Create a safe space for them. Bringing familiar items from home can help settle your dog in a new environment. A bed, crate, or toy can help ease some of the anxiety of a busy office.
- But as we said earlier, if your dog is really that nervous, perhaps they would be better off at home napping on the couch anyways.
- Regular potty breaks are a must. It’s important to be attentive to your dog at all times. It’s easy to get swept away with your work and not notice that your dog might need a potty break. Remember to clean up after your dog on the property as well, so you don’t cause any grief to your employer or landlords.
- If your dog does have an accident while in the office, make sure you’re ready to clean up after your dog quickly. Many offices will not have supplies for this, so it’s important that remember to bring your own bags and disinfectant wipes. Dispose of the bags in the dumpster, NOT office trash cans (especially kitchens or restrooms).
- The office can undoubtedly become a boring place for everyone, your dog included, so it’s a good idea to bring toys. Keeping your dog entertained will help make sure he doesn’t decide to start singing the song of his peoples halfway through the day. Likewise, you wouldn’t want him causing damage to any office furniture/equipment when he decides it looks like a good chew toy. Having toys and treats to chew on can give him his own objective for the day.
- Remember to avoid bringing toys that are loud and disruptive
- Again, this is another reason why you should be attentive of your dog at all times in the office
- Remember when we said plan in advance? Having a “pet buddy” is a good idea. You should never leave your dog alone in an office/cubicle. So if you have a meeting or need a potty break yourself, it’s a good idea to have a colleague who’s willing to be your pet sitter while you’re gone. Ask in advance and always let them know what days your dog will be coming in with you. You shouldn’t randomly ask for someone to watch your dog (unless it’s an emergency or very unexpected).
Ultimately you’re responsible for your dog’s care and behavior in the office. Common sense goes a long way here, but if you’re ever in doubt, ASK. Bringing dogs that aren’t suited for the office could mean the end of your, and possibly everyone else's privileges.
At the end of the day, we’re all for taking our dogs to work. So whether you’re taking part in National Take Your Dog To Work Day or you’re lucky enough to work in an office with an awesome dog policy, be sure that you’re doing what’s best for your dog while being mindful and respectful of everyone you work with.
Now if only we could train him how to answer all our emails.