A dog in the workplace – what a great idea

Chow Chow dog Sir Henri hard at work
Chow Chow dog Sir Henri hard at work

– A number of workplaces across the world are now allowing – and in fact encouraging – dogs into the workplace. We’re talking about urban workplaces too – not just the rural or security environments where you would expect to see dogs at work.

One of the most well known workplaces to allow dogs is Google headquarters in the US. Google management has publicly stated it believes allowing people to bring their dogs to work makes for a more productive and happier workplace all round. It makes a lot of sense too, as in many urban settings poor Fido is left at home all day to amuse himself – which is no fun for him or his owner.

The Daily Dog is sure most dog owners would love to work in a place where they can take their dog to work with them, but in those places that do allow it, there are of course strict rules to be observed. In most workplaces (and this is the case with Google) the dogs must be neutered, must have passed a socialisation test and are subject to penalties for breaking the “doggie rules”. Relieving themselves in the wrong place is of course the most obvious infraction to attract a penalty, but so is growling at a person or another dog, and so-on. Various levels of sanctions apply for different breaches of the rules, up to the maximum penalty of a dog being permanently banned from the workplace. At Google, we understand only a handful of dogs have ever suffered this penalty, with many dog owners successfully taking their best friends to work with them every day.

It seems the dog pictured in today’s Post is very well behaved, and a demonstration of how Australian dogs are penetrating the urban work space too. “Sir Henri” is a rescued Chow Chow who is the office “dogsbody” at McLaughlin & Associates Lawyers in the Brisbane suburb of Springwood. Sir Henri is certainly the star of the workplace too, with clients now expecting to see him in meetings around the office. Sir Henri’s owner, John McLaughlin, acknowledges his dog’s calming influence on staff and clients, and is an advocate for dogs in the workplace where possible. However as is the case with Google, Mr McLaughlin adds the caveat that there must be firm behaviour rules in place to prevent the situation descending into a “dog’s breakfast” of an arrangement.

So if you are considering allowing dogs into your workplace, or thinking about advocating it with your fellow employees and superiors, you need to think about the rules that will be required to make it work and who will be the umpire to enforce those rules.

Oh – and what about cats in the workplace too now that dogs are becoming more accepted there. Unfortunately it seems their relative lack of social skills when compared to dogs is telling against them, with most workplaces that allow dogs not allowing cats. For example, Google’s Policy (and yes, they have a cat policy!) on the issue says: “Google’s affection for our canine friends is an integral facet of our corporate culture. We like cats, but we’re a dog company, so as a general rule we feel cats visiting our offices would be fairly stressed out.” How diplomatic. 🙂

Does your workplace allow dogs? Of course at pups4sale dogs are our business, so “Ben” and  “Kim” are an ever present fixture as they busily sleep in various locales around the workplace. The pups4sale team would like to hear from you in the comments section below if your workplace does allow dogs or is thinking of taking on this great idea.

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