Would it surprise you if I told you that one of my favorite coworkers has no concept of time, sleeps on the job and constantly requests play and snack breaks? But that’s okay. He makes up for it by being funny, affectionate and oh-so-adorable.
You’ve probably guessed by now that this is no ordinary coworker. It’s my dog, Chilly!
I know I’m lucky. Not everyone gets to work with their pup by their side. But Pet Sitters International (PSI) is helping change that with its annual “Take Your Dog to Work Day.”
This workday-for-dogs, celebrated this year on June 26th, was created for two bone-e-fide reasons: to celebrate canine companionship and to demonstrate to dog-less coworkers the joy pets can bring to their lives.
It’s no secret that owning a pet has numerous health and psychological benefits. But studies are showing that allowing dogs in the office isn’t just a quirky perk; canine coworkers lessen stress while increasing employee morale, productivity and job satisfaction.
Larry Schmaltz, national program manager at Apex Companies, LLC in Tampa, Florida, has seen this firstpaw…er…hand. “Dogs bring a lot of camaraderie to our office,” he says. “Every day we have at least three of them at work, sometimes more.”
Although some bosses may worry that bringing dogs into an office setting will result in problems, especially among the dogs themselves, Larry says that hasn’t been the case for him. “So far, all the dogs have gotten along well, and almost every staff member keeps treats at their desk.”
For companies that are considering allowing canines in their cubicles, “Take Your Dog to Work Day” is a great way to trot out the program for a trial run. Check out PSI’s fun, interactive website, takeyourdog.com, to get more information on how to become involved.
PSI also offers these tips to make “Take Your Dog to Work Day” safe and enjoyable for everyone:
- Inform co-workers in advance of an employee or employees who will be bringing a dog to the office to make sure there are no surprises or concerns.
- Dog-proof the office (especially if puppies will be present) by covering garbage cans and exposed wires, and removing toxic materials from snout’s reach such as ink, toner, white-out, etc.
- Create and post guidelines and canine etiquette rules for staff to follow.
Dog owners have a responsibility to make sure Fido has the appropriate personality for the office. Workers should consider the following:
- Take an honest look at your dog’s temperament. If he/she is overly shy or aggressive – leave at home.
- Practice obedience training with your dog to polish his manners.
- Bring a leash in case your dog is apt to wander from your work area.
- Bring plenty of toys and treats to reward for good behavior.
- Make sure you have adequate water and food to meet your pet’s needs.
- Coordinate your breaks to take your pooch out to do his “business.”
- Have clean up supplies ready!
- Be considerate of other workers, minimize dogs disruptive barking or panting.
- Be on the lookout for signs of stress (panting, licking, whining).
- Have a backup plan in case things don’t work out for your dog at the office.
Remember, if your company offers “Take Your Dog to Work Day,” it could be a sign that a bone-e-fide change in policy is on the way! Take the opportunity to demonstrate how easy and beneficial it can be to share a workspace with coworkers of the furry kind.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my furry coworker is demanding yet another play break. It’s a ruff life!