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How to convince your boss to let you bring your dog to the office

Dog sits by his owner in office

How can you convince your boss to let you bring your dog to the office?

© eva_blanco - Shutterstock

If your office can get stressful, bringing your dog to work could help create a more relaxed atmosphere, but how can you convince your boss it's a good idea?

By Zoë Monk

Updated on the

Imagine how great it would be if there were a Bring Your Dog to Work Day every day? Some lucky employees don't need to imagine as they can bring their pets into the office (like us at Wamiz). 

But while bosses may worry that dogs in the office could be too distracting, research by leading pet food company Purina found that 45% of people allowed to bring a dog to work say it creates a more relaxed atmosphere.

A further 40% said it enhances work-life balance. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was also found that 50% of employees without pets at work schemes would see having one as a real benefit.

There are numerous plus points to pups in the office. Getting to work with dogs sitting at your feet and around the workplace is not always something people can adapt to, and your boss may take some convincing. But as it's becoming more common, what have you got to lose in asking?

Can you bring your dog to an office by law?

There is nothing to say your employer should allow you to bring your pet to work. An increasing number of employers are allowing it, but it isn't commonplace. The only legal argument is employees with disabilities who need their assistance animal to work. Trained assistance dogs are often covered by the reasonable adjustments clause in the Equality Act 2010.

However, like Purina, many companies are beginning to recognise pets' important role in our lives. For example, Liverpool-Founded restaurant brand Mowgli offers team members who adopt a dog a day off and a week of flexible working to help their new family member fit in. As a result, this kind of policy is becoming more popular and driving employers to rethink their pets at work policies.

Should companies allow workers to bring pets to the workplace?

Bringing pets to the workplace isn't a decision to take lightly. But as Purina's research indicates, there are benefits for both pets and humans. That's why the company wants to encourage workplaces to set up their own Pets at Work scheme and allow employees to bring their canine companions into the office.

Purina started its Pets At Work scheme in 2003 and allows all Purina employees to bring their four-legged friends to work. There are now 50 canine colleagues in the scheme, and the benefits have been considerable, with happier, more relaxed employees and a more enjoyable and upbeat atmosphere.

Three huge benefits of bringing your dog to the office

golden retriever in office
How fun is it to work with your dog? ©LightField Studios - Shutterstock

Numerous studies show there are real benefits to allowing dogs in the office. Here are three more which should help convince your boss to allow your dog in the office:

1. Stress Management

Research carried out at Deakin University found that having an animal in the office can help improve mental health and that dogs in the workplace benefit the owner and the wider team. Other research by Virginia Commonwealth University reveals that workers are much less stressed than their colleagues who didn't bring their pets to work.

2. Morale

Central Michigan University found that group behaviour is much more cooperative, friendly, comfortable, and enthusiastic when there's a dog present. Dogs help lighten the mood in any environment and help create a generally more enjoyable and happy space. This, in turn, improves morale.

3. Productivity

Taking your dog to work makes your break times even more precious. You need to get outside and give your dog the chance to get some fresh air. This helps break up the day into more manageable chunks. Studies find that spending too much time on a single project can decrease productivity, so taking these extra breaks with your dog help to refresh the mind and bring your focus back to your work.

Armed with this research, you can take your proposal to your boss and convince them to allow you to bring your dog to work.

Four ways to convince your boss to allow dogs in the office

These four tips should help your boss see just how beneficial a pet-friendly workspace can be:

1. Get team support

Survey your colleagues and check the interest in working in a dog-friendly office is mutual. If your colleagues are also keen, you've got a stronger position from the start. In addition, showing you have done your research and many of your colleagues are interested may make your boss more willing to consider the idea.

2. Explain business-wide benefits

Pets in the workplace have many work-related benefits. Lay these out for your boss with the accompanying research, and they'll find it hard to say no. Most bosses will find it hard to turn down a proposal that shows their employees will be more productive and less stressed with their dogs around.

3. Set rules and offer your services

For a dog-friendly office to work, there must be rules. So be armed with your rules and dog policy, ready to show your boss you're serious. It should be laid out like any other workplace policy and offer your services to run the programme and ensure it is managed correctly. You can also offer to fully dog-proof and prepare the office and ensure there is a rota for cleaning duties and managing the workload alongside the dog's needs.

3. Suggest a trial run

If your boss is unconvinced, ask them to give you a chance to show them how well it works. Ask them for a trial period of a week or a month and see how it goes. One day is not long enough to see if the programme is suitable for your workplace long-term and a longer trial gives you time to convince your boss of the programme's merits.

Need help convincing your boss to bring your dog to the office? Purina has prepared a presentation you can use

No one likes leaving their pooch at home when they set out for work. With so many highly successful dog-friendly offices around the UK and the wider world, why can't your workplace be next?

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