A distraction or the best thing ever!?
Companies such as Google, Amazon and Etsy have made headlines by allowing employees to bring their pets to work. But for small to medium startups, you have to think if it makes sense for your team. From the management perspective, some logistical questions may arise.
Although the prevalence of pets, especially dogs in the workplace, have been on the rise in recent years, there is limited data to pull from as to whether or not they are a negative or positive force at work. Some topics to consider is the impact of dogs on employee relations, workplace culture, performance, as well as health and safety.
“Empirical evidence supports the notion that dogs may provide social support, improve performance, and increase social interactions.”
Allen K.M., Blascovich J., Mendes W.B. Cardiovascular reactivity and the presence of pets, friends, and spouses: The truth about cats and dogs. Psychosom. Med. 2002
We know from Paranoid Internet’s employee engagement article that happy employees make for a better workplace and ultimately more productive employees. One way in which dogs provide a positive impact is additional “social support” for an employee. In this case, social support means the ways in which having positive relationships can act as a buffer from stress for people.
In the Paranoid Internet office, the choice to allow pets was easy. We asked the office their opinions on allowing pet-owning colleagues to bring their dogs to work. Not only were their no objections, but the whole team was excited by the idea. That being said, if we hire on someone new with a fear of dogs or some sort of allergy, we will have to rethink our plan to make the office as pleasant as possible for the humans first.
Dogs in the office, when well-behaved and handled correctly, help to create positive employee vibes! Furthermore, they provide a much-needed dose of cuteness to an office environment.
A good way to test if dogs make sense in your office could be to plan a ‘bring your dog to the office day’ and see how the team reacts. If it is positive, we say go for it!