The concept of bringing your dog to work is getting more and more buzz, and for good reason. Workplace studies document improvements in productivity and interaction as well as reductions in stress levels in dog-friendly workplaces. At the same time, though, bringing dogs into a workplace carries some real disadvantages. Whether you're thinking about bringing your dog to work or about letting your employees bring their pets with them, you might want to give some thought to the drawbacks of dogs in the office.
One of the biggest drawbacks of bringing dogs into the workplace is that it could very well be a breach of your office's lease agreement with its landlord. Many commercial real estate leases ban tenants or their employees from bringing animals into the building. Bringing a dog into a space with this rule could get you or the company you work for evicted.
Noise, Odors and Messes
Many dogs are well behaved, but like human beings, none are perfect. Poorly behaved dogs can be very noisy and disruptive. Furthermore, all dogs have to go to the bathroom. If the workplace is not configured to let employees take their animals out in time, it could get very smelly and very messy very quickly. The problem is compounded if you have multiple dogs in your workplace, all of which can generate noise and odors.
Allergies and Liabilities
Many people are allergic to the fur and dander from our furry friends. Letting one employee bring a dog in to make him happier could end up sending other employees home if they fall ill because of it. Furthermore, if a dog bites or scratches someone in the workplace, the employer will be responsible for those injuries.
Finally, even if a dog is perfectly well-behaved, never has an accident and doesn't trigger any allergies, it can still be a distraction. The key benefit of a dog in the workplace -- that it reduces stress among people who stop to play with it -- is also a key disadvantage. People like to play with dogs, and they spend work time doing it. Without proper management, this can become a serious productivity zapper.
Solomon Poretsky has been writing since 1996 and has been published in a number of trade publications including the "Minnesota Real Estate Journal" and "Minnesota Multi-Housing Association Advocate." He holds a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Columbia University and has extensive experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology.