Work + Growth

Tips for Working in a Dog Friendly Office

  • Dog friendly offices are becoming more common, and studies show dogs at work boost morale and lead to fewer sick days
  • There are definitely cons to having dogs at work, though: What about people who have allergies or are afraid of dogs?
  • If you’re going to bring your dog to work, be honest about your dog’s suitability for the environment

Dog friendly offices are becoming more common in 2019, with more workplaces allowing man’s (and woman’s) best friend to hang out all day while their human works.

By the middle of 2018, 8 percent of all offices in the U.S. allowed dogs, with big names like Amazon and URBN leading the pack, and some law firms are getting in on the trend, especially smaller firms. Of course, there are both positives and negatives when it comes to dealing with a pup friendly workspace. Here, we’ll break down the pros, the cons, and how to survive a dog friendly office whether you’re a dog lover or not.

The pros of dog friendly offices

One of the best things about dog friendly offices is that they’ve been unequivocally shown to boost office morale, cheering people up throughout the day. This certainly makes sense—who could stay in a bad mood when they look over at their furry friend wagging their tail or playing with their favorite toy? As a lawyer, you’re typically dealing with high-stress situations, so being able to have a dog nearby for comfort, whether it’s yours or not, can be a life raft during a moment of strife.

Having a dog in the first place might seem impossible for most lawyers, considering the long hours and unreliable schedules, so a dog friendly firm could give dog loving lawyers the opportunity to provide a loving home to a rescue puppy while still maintaining their work-life balance. Would a dog-friendly office increase your chances of getting a dog yourself?

Having dogs in the office even results in fewer sick days!

The cons of dog friendly offices

Certainly, there are drawbacks to dog friendly offices as well. For starters, some people suffer from allergies, and for those who get the sniffles or itchy eyes around a dog, it is unreasonable to be expected to load up on Claritin and tissues just to go to work. Dogs can also be quite a distraction—nobody wants a dog whining or barking in the background of an important call, and it’s possible that some employees might be tempted to pay more attention to an adorable pup’s antics than to their own work. Lawyers also have to factor in some clients’ possibly negative reactions to dogs in the office.

And it seems like common sense to not bring a dog who isn’t well-trained or housebroken into the workplace, but people are not always on the same page about what constitutes reasonableness. Some people are simply afraid of dogs and do not want to be in an office with them. It’s not difficult to imagine a dog friendly office as a hell for someone who is not comfortable around animals.

How to deal with a dog friendly office

If you start a new job at a dog friendly spot or your workplace transitions into a paradise for puppies, there are factors you’ll need to consider at the outset. If you’re a dog owner, you need to be honest about your dog’s temperament and ability to be around a lot of people and act appropriately in an office setting. Your dog must be housebroken—that is a non-negotiable point. He must be trained with the basic commands that will both keep him safe and avoid his being a distraction. A jumpy or noisy dog is simply not appropriate for an office. Dog owners must keep an eye on their dog at all times, and if you’re not able to do so, it’s best to leave the dog at home. A dog owner must also be sensitive to those who are afraid of dogs and are simply not comfortable being around them. It is not worth terrifying your coworkers just to have your dog at work.

If you’re not a dog owner, your only responsibility is to try not to get distracted by the cuteness. Remember that you are within your rights to let dog owners know if their four-legged friend is bothering you. Rather than let resentments pile up, be honest if you need to be seated away from the dog or have allergies and need to be accommodated so you don’t have to sneeze and itch your way through the workday. Everyone should have the opportunity to be comfortable in the workplace.