A survey found that workers returning to the office miss their dogs way more than they miss their children, and many feel they would be more productive and less stressed if they had their dog with them. Which is why THRIVE | Coworking is all in on bringing your dog to work — here’s how to make it easy on pets, owners and coworkers. Sit. Stay.
Those of us lucky enough to spend time with four-legged friends know that dogs can enhance our lives in countless ways. Science backs these many benefits, too.
Dana Rosenkranz, Senior Manager, Real Estate and Workplace, at BARK — the dog-centric company that obsesses over canine treats, toys and gifts — knows how this applies to getting our jobs done, too. “Dogs are awesome for tension release,” she says. “If I’m having a bad or stressful day, I love being able to have a cute dog there to pet and make me feel better.”
BARK conducted a survey in 2021 that found about 1 in 3 dog owners had relied more than ever on their pet to keep them company and for emotional support. The survey also found that dog parents are skeptical about returning to an office that doesn’t allow them to bring their fur baby. In fact, 32 percent of dog parents believed they would be happier and less stressed at work if they had their companion with them, and 28 percent felt that life would be more convenient if they had this option.
How important are pets to the American workforce? Among those who have returned to pet-less offices, 72 percent said they missed their dog. That wallops the number of those who said they missed the savings from not commuting (37 percent), their partner (39 percent), or their children (35 percent). Twenty percent of respondents also stated they would be more productive at work if they had their dog with them (perhaps because a quarter of dog parents who’ve returned to the office check their dog camera during work hours).
It’s no surprise that BARK walks the walk when it comes to making their workplace a dog-friendly zone, greatly encouraging all employees to bring furry friends into the office. Pre-pandemic, they could see as many as 30 dogs in the office on any given day. Currently, they can expect as many as 10 to 15. “When there are a lot of dogs in the office, it can get a little loud,” Rosenkranz says. “Dogs love to play, but we have a lot of toys in the office to keep them occupied and a fenced-in play area where dogs can go off-leash and release some pent-up energy. We require all dogs to be on leash throughout the office, except for the play area, for peace of mind among our dog parents.”
Before deciding to bring your beloved pet into work, Rosenkranz recommends first making sure your tagalong gets along with other dogs and humans. “The office can get busy with a lot of people and dogs coming and going, and you’d want to make sure there are no scuffles,” she says. “Does your dog bark a lot? If so, they may not be the best office dog. Also, sometimes having your dog with you can be distracting. If you have a very busy day full of meetings, that might not be the best day to bring your dog to work with you.”
When it comes to workplace etiquette, Rosenkranz suggests arriving prepared, and trying to anticipate your dog’s needs to make the experience as smooth as possible. “For example, if you know your dog gets antsy,” she says, “bring a chew toy to keep them occupied while you work, or if they’re a little nervous, bring their favorite toy or dog bed from home to make them feel more comfortable.”
She also recommends setting boundaries with colleagues, on topics like when to approach your dog — and not feeding them human food without the dog parent’s permission. With ample preparation and forethought, we promise all will benefit from some midday cuddles.