Please Don’t Bring Your Dog To Work
I love dogs. I grew up with them and I think they're wonderful (the good looking ones).
But if I’m in an office, the last thing I want to see or hear is your dog panting, whining, snoring or barking in my face.
I’m sorry, I’m not allergic or anything, but get that dog out of here.
Of course, it looks like I’m the jerk in this scenario because there’s a new study that says people work harder and feel better when they bring their dogs into the office.
Bringing your dog to work also encourages exercise, reduces visits to the doctor, gives the dog a social life, encourages conversation between coworkers, relaxes the dog, reduces employee turnover and all the cool companies, like Amazon, Google and Ben & Jerry’s, are doing it.
My God, it sounds like you’d be a fool not to bring your dog to work.
But, seriously, don’t bring your dog to work.
First of all, dogs are animals. And like other animals, they're unpredictable and disruptive. That sudden barking because your dog thinks he sees a wombat is fun in your home. But if I’m trying to concentrate, the last thing I want is some dog scaring the hell out of me with his Wombat Alert Bark.
No. Get that dog out of here.
(I should stop here to mention that I’m not talking about trained assistance dogs that are actually necessary for people. Those dogs are more than welcome in the office.)
If the only way you’re going to talk to your coworker is through their dog, maybe it’s better if you don’t talk to that coworker. And do we all need to crowd around this dog and give it compliments? It's a dog. Have we never seen a dog before?
Yes, dogs are cute. And they’re cuddly. But I'm trying to work. And a lot of those people that are crowding around your dog probably need to respond to emails. They're holding up the workflow!
According to the lecturer Holly Patrick, “A number of studies have shown that having dogs in the workplace increases the interactions between people which can result in lower levels of stress for employees and higher levels of creativity because people are talking to each other more”.
Sorry, but telling someone they have a cute dog is not going to boost creativity. It’s just going to give someone a big head about their dog.
Now, I don't want to be the productivity police. I think it's good for people to be happy at work. But what if someone decided that smoking cigarettes made them more productive at work? Would that be encouraged? Do we all need to be dragged back to the 1940s and wear fedoras and call people “mack”?
Okay, maybe that’s taking things too far. A dog won’t give you cancer like second hand smoke might, as far as we know.
But then why stop at dogs? Should people also bring their cats to work? Don’t cats stop heart disease or something? And what about birds? Are they not allowed because they have feathers and not fur? Who decided that furry animals are cuter than feathered ones? I want to make some space on my desk for a big bird cage so my nightingale can sing to me and boost my confidence!
What about my pet mongoose? Why does she have to stay home?
I had a pet rat growing up. That’s right. A rat. We had two of them, in fact. Can I bring my old pet rat to work? I’ll put it in a cage, don’t worry.
But if you come over to my desk because you need something, you’ll have to stare right into the tiny eyes of my old pet rat. In fact, I might use him as an administrative assistant. If you need to talk to me, I’ll insist that you talk to the rat first. “Ask the rat,” I’ll say. I might even put up a sign that says “Got a question? Have you asked the rat?”
Important follow up question about this dog you want to bring to work:
Where is it relieving itself?
According to this thing, “New environments can be exciting and confusing so accidents may occur. If your dog toilets in the office, it is always best to display no reaction.”
What about the rest of us? Should we continue our meeting even though we can clearly see Bruno taking a deuce in the middle of the open plan communal area?
Also what if there are multiple dogs in the office and they don’t get along? What if a dogfight breaks out? What if a dogfight club is formed? What then? You can’t talk about it. That’s the first rule of dogfight club.
I’m spinning slightly out of control of course, but only because that’s how preposterous bringing an animal to an office is to me. In fact, the only plausible rationale I’ve come across is that keeping a dog at home alone all day is not nice for the dog. I buy that.
So how about working from home? That way, your dog can be comfortable and it’s a lot harder for it to bark in my face.
Besides, if you’re going to bring your dogs to work regularly, are they also going to get a salary? Do I have to copy them in on emails? Are they going to be in managerial meetings?
Why do I have to establish a “pet-free zone” and create a “pet committee”? Who’s trying to get work done here? Me or the pets?
Maybe you don’t think the barking thing is a big deal. Maybe you think that nothing will happen if a dog works near me.
Well, I’ve done a great deal of (read: minimal) research and there are quite a few things that can go wrong for me with a dog in the work place.
Here’s what I’m afraid of:
- Tripping over a sleeping dog
- Getting bitten by a dog that I have accidentally tripped over
- Odd looks
- Aggressive sniffing
- Forgetting a dog’s name
- Forgetting a dog owner’s name
- Calling the dog by its owner’s name and vice versa
- Having to explain to a dog how to pronounce my last name
- Running into a dog in the kitchen and having to make small talk while we wait for the microwave to heat up its fish, which makes the office smell terrible
- Having a dog learn my computer password and make a lot of unwise stock market investments
Hang on, I just discovered that there’s an International Take Your Dog to Work Day.
So it’s probably too late for all of us.