Having a Ruff Time Paying Attention at Work?

Today's guest post is by Peppercommer Shira Palka.

AwA2kFICQAIINbbbbbbb4A.jpg largeMany call themselves animal lovers, claiming that “a dog is man’s best friend,” so would it be that crazy to imagine your best friend sitting beside you at work? While Peppercom acquired its name after a beloved dog, there are no puppies or kittens running around the office just yet. CNN recently wrote about the phenomenon of having pets in the office as a way to reduce stress on employees, and perhaps even attract clients to a unique and relaxing work environment.

The International Journal of Workplace Health Management recently published a study which revealed that employees who did not have dogs at work indicated higher stress levels and lower satisfaction rates, compared to employees who brought their dogs to work. Perhaps having dogs in the office can build company morale and promote friendships, like the live feed of Shiba Inu puppies did among the Peppercom interns. Having common likes and interests with the people you work can ultimately enhance the quality and efficiency of the tasks being done.

Allowing dogs in the office may have its upsides, but the downsides are equally inevitable. If you are sitting next to the guy who keeps sneezing from your pet’s soft, shedding fur, you may have a problem. Allergies are probably the number one reason for keeping them out. If you forgot to train your dog as a puppy and he accidentally bites another employee, you can both be sniffing up a lawsuit.

A dog can inappropriately bark during a meeting, lick the furniture in your cubicle, even eat your lunch when you look away, but perhaps companies are starting to view it as more of a helpful creature than useless monster, if the right rules are in place. Google’s dog policy, for example, requires that owners who bring their dogs to the office must have their pets properly licensed, vaccinated and supervised. If the dog has fleas, you’re both out of luck. Just like humans follow rules of common courtesy and respect, these dogs would have to do the same.

Perhaps I barked up the wrong tree with this post, as I may be responsible for the 20 dogs that appear in Peppercom’s kitchen tomorrow morning, but this is more of a “what if” type of situation which can either be utterly disastrous or greatly advantageous. Some people may even approach the topic as a joke, yet the companies who are proof of such a successful scenario can be examples for expanding the nature and atmosphere of many work forces. I’m curious to hear what professionals and thought leaders in the industry would make of having dogs in their offices: could it work or would it be destined to fail?

16 thoughts on “Having a Ruff Time Paying Attention at Work?

  1. Simmons’ reality show was canceled. At the least, Ed will be in a mood slump for a few days.

  2. Negative. He’s still mourning the loss of Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band. In fact, it was the last blog Ed ever wrote. I shudder to think what he’ll be like when Gene Simmons passes away.

  3. Ah-ha! Did you have the heart to tell Ed that, “some of the performers you see may not have been with the original band?”

  4. You’ve always been open to other points of view, Julie. I know the former Congressdog finds that among your most endearing traits. Btw, should he decide to re-enter politics, Mick would like you to know he’d consider you for his press secretary.

  5. Well, there are two schools of thought on that, Peter. As you may know, Ed is an arena rock band fan and spends much of his time attending the reunion concerts of Styx, Arrowsmith, KISS, Motel Crue, etc. But, when he is in the office, no one works harder or barks louder than Sir Edward.

  6. Thanks for passing along my question to the Mick. I see his point… Canines have enough to do at home without being dragged to the office to act as service dogs to their stressed-out owners. Cats wouldn’t care either way.

  7. I’ve worked with great creatives whose work was inspired by having Fido nuzzling at their feet. Part of what made that work is that they were willing to clean up the inevitable hot messes. Such a situation might work at Peppercom, but the prima donnas that come into so many other work places wouldn’t be as considerate.

  8. Thanks for the comment, Julie. The blog’s author has returned to school, so I shall attempt to reply on her behalf. Having experienced dogs in the workplace at the late, great Earle Palmer Brown, I can attest to the fact that it is, indeed, one hot mess. The dogs at EPB roamed the hallways, stole lunches off desks, rooted through garbage cans and mauled clients and prospects alike (not a good thing, btw). I did pass along your question to the former Congressdog. Here’s Mick’s response: ‘Canines have far more important matters to concern themselves with then whether or not we are workplace appropriate. The larger question in my mind is this, “Are humans dog park-appropriate?”

  9. Julie, very good point. My 2 cats would probably find a shoe box to hide in if I took them out of the house, but I like where the conversation is going.

  10. I think having dogs in the office is a great way to boost morale…only it would have to be limited to once a week or so, or the place would start smelling like the local Biscuits & Bath.
    What does RepMan’s former CongressDog Mick Cody think of the idea? Should we open it up to — dare I say it — cats as well?

  11. Ann, that sounds amazing! I would love to bring my dog, but I’m afraid he’d go straight for the candy drawer 🙂

  12. Shira, you just need to visit the SF office. Like most California office buildings, ours is animal friendly. We don’t have furry four legged visitors everyday, but it’s very comforting to have their company once in awhile.