National Take Your Dog to Work Day is June 25.
If you’re thinking of participating, don’t worry about the cuteness being too much to handle. In fact, having dogs in the office might actually help your team get more done.
“Research shows that dogs make us feel calm and reduce stress,” says Mary R. Burch, PhD, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, and American Kennel Club Family Dog Director. “And there is some thought that [having] dogs in the workplace results in people being more productive.”
Here are a few tips if you plan to participate.
1. Clear it with coworkers.
“Anytime there are dogs in the workplace, the rights of non-animal loving people or those who are allergic need to be respected,” says Burch. Check to make sure anyone who sits near you is okay with having a dog nearby. And don’t force your pup on anyone. As Beth Stultz-Hairston, the President of Pet Sitters International (which created National Take Your Dog to Work Day in 1999), puts it: “Pet lovers will make themselves known!”
2. Puppy-proof the office.
If you plan to bring your dog to work, there are a few things you’ll need to do in advance — such as creating a safe environment for animals. “Make sure any poisonous plants and any other items that may be toxic for dogs are removed, and hide electrical cords and wires,” says Stultz-Hairston.
3. Come prepared.
In addition to bringing everything your dog might need for the day — such as a leash, bed, food, treats, and water dish — Stultz-Hairston suggests identifying a “place to walk him and an appropriate area for him to relieve himself.” If you typically use a professional dog walker, don’t forget to either have him or her come to your office or cancel the service for that day. Burch adds, “It’s important that all dogs who come to work are clean and well-groomed.”
4. Implement a buddy system.
When dogs come to work, they should stay with their owner. But chances are good you can’t keep him by your side for the entire day — like when you use the restroom or are in a meeting. Burch recommends that employees “designate a ‘buddy’ in the office who agrees to be responsible for the dog when the owner is absent from the immediate area.”
5. Make it virtual.
If you’re currently working from home, there are still ways to celebrate. You could host an optional company-wide virtual meeting and invite all dog owners to introduce their four-legged friends. Or, create a dog-themed Slack channel. Another idea? Stultz-Hairston suggests you “encourage employees to submit photos of their dogs at home to be posted on the company’s blog or social media.”
She also recommends considering a few non-traditional ways to participate in the holiday, like inviting a local animal shelter or pet rescue to virtually introduce adoptable pets to employees. You could also host a virtual lunch-and-learn with a pet-care expert. “They could speak about an important topic, such as pet first aid or helping pets deal with separation anxiety post-pandemic.”