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I am a M.A. in industrial/organizational psychology. Most of my experience has been in human resources and change management. My passion lies in employee assessment, organizational development and employee opinions. Website: www.IanMondrow.com LinkedIn Profile: http://linkd.in/drBYoC

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dogs in the workplace. WOOF!

I have previously worked for a company that allows owners to bring their dog(s) to work. As an animal lover, this was astonishing to me. More and more companies are allowing owners to bring their dogs to work. PetsMart allows dogs to visit the corporate office once a week. DDB and OMD allow employees to bring their dogs every day of the week. Organizations are beginning to identify that people think of their pets as children.

However, before allowing personnel to bring their dogs to work, important considerations must be taken. Not only should the company take legal precautions but it must also be assured that it matches with the culture. Bringing dogs to work is clearly more prominent on the West Coast as many innovative companies are based there. From my experiences, I have found that companies that encourage innovation and creativity excel by allowing dogs in the work.

However, there are some corporate cultures that would not progress if dogs are allowed in the office. Centralized and structured organizations will not benefit from allowing owners to bring their dogs to work. Since power is often more controlled in these organizations, having a dog at work may in fact weaken the power of higher managers. In addition, organizations that wish to present the company in a professional and conservative manner would not benefit from having dogs in the office as it does not uphold this image.

I personally loved bringing my dog to work and I felt it put my mind at ease. Leaving your pet at home from 9-5 can be heartbreaking and sometimes pet daycare is not an option. For organizations that do allow dogs, clear guidelines must be established and communicated to all employees that wish to bring their pets to work. Paw Rescue (2009) suggests the following:

* Supervise pets closely. Each owner needs to act responsibly. Dogs must be kept on leash, and/or in a closed office or cubicle, or in a crate.

* Post a note at your door indicating that you have a pet in your office. This way, you will avoid unpleasant surprises.

* Owners can put a small folding fence or other sturdy barrier in front of their cubicle door so their pups cannot roam. Also, not all dogs like delivery people, providing another reason to keep dogs on leash.

* Bring chew toys and a water bowl. But do not bring loud squeeky toys and other items that will distract or annoy coworkers.

* Reward your dog frequently for good behavior.

* Be respectful of people with allergies and those who are uncomfortable around dogs.

* Keep the dog quiet, especially during conference calls.

* Avoid taking dogs to company meetings.

* Designate pet-free zones such as conference rooms, restrooms and cafeterias.


(2009, June 28) Dog tip: Taking pets to work. Paw Rescue. Retrieved July 14, 2009, from http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_PetsAtWork.php

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