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  #21  
Old 03.09.2021, 15:20
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

Dog in the working environment? Sounds utipopian.

Had it once in Switzerland around 20 years ago. Will never forget the pain and reaction my dog went though when his tail got caught in the revolving door entrance.

Nor the pure joy that my colleagues had watching it (and doing nothing).
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  #22  
Old 03.09.2021, 16:13
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

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I am not a dog person and really resent the fact that dog owners are constantly trying to insist that their own particular dog is adorable and that I should love it as well. I would be horrified at the thought of dogs being permitted at my workplace. What a bizarre idea.
I am a dog person, yet I still agree with this sentiment
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  #23  
Old 03.09.2021, 16:25
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

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There is a huge amount of UK/US research on the positive effect dogs at work have on mental health, but I completely get the allergy/afraid of dogs part.
I will believe that only if you can provide at least one Russian research that proves exactly the contrary AND one Chinese conference proceeding agreeing with the UK/US research..

Anyhow, mental health of the subordinates is the thing on top of the to-do list of circa 3% of the HR manager I know. Of this 3%, 99% has no clue in quantifying the costs a company would incur in having the infrastructure to be "pet-friendly" and 100% has no interest/will/capacity in doing an internal project just to deliver a quote for this purpose.
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Old 03.09.2021, 16:32
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

Thanks everyone. These are really important points. It is clear that the question generates some high emotion.

The dog behaviour, dog cleanliness and such areas could probably be dealt with easily enough with those who wanted to bring in their dog signing an agreement (which could be revoked) regarding the standards required for said pooch to be there.

However, the phobias/allergies issues are much more problematic (I would note that I've not seen any cases of flowers in the office being banned if someone gets hay fever).

More research needed and the conversation on this thread is super useful. Thank you all for sharing all of your views.
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Old 03.09.2021, 16:37
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

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The dog behaviour, dog cleanliness and such areas could probably be dealt with easily enough with those who wanted to bring in their dog signing an agreement (which could be revoked) regarding the standards required for said pooch to be there.
This makes little sense as an actual precaution... obviously everyone who brings a dog to the office is going to think that their dog is fine and then will be "completely shocked" if any incident occurs... as is standard behaviour with the majority of dog owners who think the sun shines out of their pooches behind.
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Old 03.09.2021, 18:31
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

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This makes little sense as an actual precaution... obviously everyone who brings a dog to the office is going to think that their dog is fine and then will be "completely shocked" if any incident occurs... as is standard behaviour with the majority of dog owners who think the sun shines out of their pooches behind.
I was thinking of an official certification (like Nestlé have brought in apparently), rather than just a declaration. Maybe something like the "BREVET NATIONAL PROPRIÉTAIRE DE CHIEN"?
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Old 03.09.2021, 18:33
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

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Our US offices have a pets policy and its an awful work environment as a result.
Hi GParker - thanks for this concrete example. Really useful. Can you tell me more please on how it is an awful work environment?
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  #28  
Old 03.09.2021, 18:47
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

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The dog behaviour, dog cleanliness and such areas could probably be dealt with easily enough with those who wanted to bring in their dog signing an agreement (which could be revoked) regarding the standards required for said pooch to be there.
I'd guess that - in addition to what they may or may not think or feel about dogs, in their free-time - most employees and managers in any large company would resent the costs to HR and the legal department, and also the line managers, in time, money, effort and nerves, possibly with staff surveys and votes, that would have to be spent on discussing, drafting and determining the wording of the agreement, including health and safety compliance, then building up the structure to deal with complaints and issue warnings and final warnings, up until the revocation thereof.

This, when there are probably other issues, directly relevant to work (such as staff training costs), that ought to have greater priority.
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  #29  
Old 03.09.2021, 19:06
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

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There is a huge amount of UK/US research on the positive effect dogs at work have on mental health, but I completely get the allergy/afraid of dogs part.
Yeah, but I bet the benefit in mental health is seen only in the subset of the population that likes dogs. Some people find mental health improvements by doing yoga, for some it's gardening. Should such companies also bring in mandatory yoga classes and obligatory garden duty?

The problem with your idea of having dogs at work is that is you are forcing what you find beneficial onto others without regard to whether or not it is beneficial to them. If my work offers yoga classes to its employees to improve their mental health and I don't like yoga (which is actually true) I simply wouldn't go to the yoga classes.

But how are people who don't like dogs supposed to ignore them? Do you genuinely not understand how incredibly intrusive and unpleasant many people find it to have dogs around???
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  #30  
Old 03.09.2021, 19:19
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

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Yeah, but I bet the benefit in mental health is seen only in the subset of the population that likes dogs. Some people find mental health improvements by doing yoga, for some it's gardening. Should such companies also bring in mandatory yoga classes and obligatory garden duty?

The problem with your idea of having dogs at work is that is you are forcing what you find beneficial onto others without regard to whether or not it is beneficial to them. If my work offers yoga classes to its employees to improve their mental health and I don't like yoga (which is actually true) I simply wouldn't go to the yoga classes.

But how are people who don't like dogs supposed to ignore them? Do you genuinely not understand how incredibly intrusive and unpleasant many people find it to have dogs around???
Back in the day when smoking was still allowed in offices, there was a time that the rules said that smoking was only permitted if everybody in the office unanimously agreed to it. So if just one person said no, the entire office instantly became non smoking. Companies would try to strategically place employees to minimize conflicts.

Maybe something like this would work with dogs?
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  #31  
Old 03.09.2021, 19:48
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

That's far too much conflict potential.

Imagine a dog munching on a cat, or a cat blinding a dog. Two dogs having a fight or being in heat.

And why only dogs and cats? Bloody discrimination!
I'd demand to take my tarantula to the office as well. Same for the boa constrictor and the rats it's fed.

IMO every employer with a sane mind will want to keep that pandora's box shut and firmly locked.
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  #32  
Old 03.09.2021, 20:18
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

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The article that I read on Nestlé said that they had to have a behavioural test certificate - the dogs, not the owners, although maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing......
That's true, but the pet policy is specific to dogs and is mostly only valid at Purina. I know that the UK market office has also adopted this policy. But it's pretty uncommon; you won't see pets at the headquarters, the factories (Ewww ), the technology centers, the specific business units or R&D.
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  #33  
Old 03.09.2021, 20:29
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

Often, pet owners tend to develop the same mental disorder, like cyclists namely that they have the moral high ground and the world has to adjust to them.
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  #34  
Old 03.09.2021, 21:47
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

Tossing out some thoughts, wearing both my rescue and former corporate manager hats.

First from my perspective based on dog welfare, with the usual caveat that YMMV:

As an FYI, the rescue I work with generally is not in favor of bringing dogs to work, and rarely approves an adoption where this is mooted as the only dog care solution. The decision was made because we have too often seen it all go pear-shaped. To protect our dogs, we prefer that other, more dog-appropriate, solutions are in place when one wishes to adopt.

The few exceptions have been made where the work environment is wholly suited to the individual dog’s particular needs. Off the top of my head, the few times bring-my-dog-to-work exceptions have been granted were largely when the prospective owner had absolute total control over the work environment, or worked in appropriate non-office settings, mostly jobs with some kind of outdoor component.

In all cases where a dogs-at-work option is proposed there has to be an assessment of the work conditions as well as the usual home assessment, as well as an assessment of what the dog’s typical day would look like, including ability of the owner to balance interaction with and supervision of his dog with his work responsibilities, to make sure the environment is appropriate for the animal.

We generally do not like to see dogs in offices, especially in ‘cubicle farms’.

This is because many of the dogs we work with not the kind who are content to sit quietly for 8-10 hours per day, they usually need more interaction and stimulation either physical or mental than can be given while simultaneously creating a spreadsheet. And many are temperamentally unsuited to an office setting, among strangers or lots of coming-and-going.

I bring this all up to emphasize that it actually is not fair to many dogs to put them in an office setting, there is too much stress. I worry about QOL in such cases.

An employee may have permission to bring his dog to work, but that can be rescinded at any moment, should another employee object. What then is Plan B for the dog?

Your office is not your space alone, an employee cannot always control what goes on.

A significant problem we see is that an employee is often unable to provide sufficient supervision - of course, work needs to be done - and sometimes not in a position to advocate for his dog in the office due to power structures or office politics.

An example: A shy dog was turned over to the rescue a few years ago. The owner had taken him to the office, was not able to appropriately supervise him, and disaster struck.

The owner’s manager was a purported dog lover, and insisted on playing ‘raggers’ with this dog, because ‘every dog likes to play raggers’. Well, this dog did not like hands waving in his face, he was terrified of the manager. He tried to escape under the desk, but the manager insisted ‘all dogs love me’. The owner felt he could not contradict his manager because he did not want to cause friction with someone who held more power than he did.

You guessed it. One day the manager started up the game, the terrified dog could not get away, and snapped.

Game over. Literally and figuratively.

The dog fortunately passed the subsequent Veterinaramt ordered Wesenstest with flying colors, and so was not ordered euthanized - but obviously no longer allowed in the office. The employee had to give the dog up.

This is only one anecdote, but we have seen too many instances where having dogs at work doesn’t work, and the dog ultimately pays for it.

I understand that some dogs can cope, even fully enjoy being the office dog. But a thorough assessment of the individual dog and individual office needs to be made, all issues of liability thoroughly understood, and there must be a Plan B ready to put into immediate action at any moment.

To me the question should not be whether an office benefits by having a dog around, but rather whether the dog benefits by being in the office. And in my experience with the dogs I advocate for and typical offices, more often the answer is ‘no’.

——

Now donning my ex corporate manager hat:

A company has a duty to provide a safe working environment for all employees, and policies must be fair and equitably put into place.

As another poster said it best: Any benefit of the dog being in the office only applies to those who like dogs - or more accurately, only applies to those who like that particular dog. To those who are uncomfortable with dogs in the office, you have created a new stressor, which is unfair to those employees.

How does a manager balance the two?

Bringing dogs to work, in the corporate environment I once inhabited, would have been a nightmare from that standpoint.

First, there are liability issues. Now my management experience is in the US, and I am aware of the legal and cultural differences in Switzerland. But nonetheless a company would be foolish not to have the legal staff thoroughly look over corporate and individual liability wrt dogs in the office. And I mean thoroughly. (Remember that dog ownership is a causal Haftung in Switzerland.) What liability is born by the dog owner, the company, or even Manager X who approved the dog coming into the office, should something go wrong?

Not all employees will be on board with a dog in the office. Whether from allergies, hygiene issues, fear or dislike of dogs, or cultural reasons, it does not matter why. If any office mate is uncomfortable around dogs then the dog does not belong in the workplace. Punkt.

A company needs to understand whether bringing a dog into the office puts other employees at a disadvantage or even discomfort, especially when concerns are medical or religious/cultural, which could open a pretty big can o’ legal worms.

Do not underestimate this point. Many people in Switzerland are very much not dog fans. Unless every single employee in the office agrees to each individual dog proposed, the idea is dead in the water. One no is a veto - there can be no other way given what is at stake.

What if two employees want to bring in their dogs and one dog is a delight and so allowed, the other a nightmare and thus denied? There have to be quantifiable standards to ensure that you are not accused of playing favorites.

The NHB test was mentioned as a possible way to test behavior, but be aware that it does not really address the stressors a dog could encounter or test behaviors in an office environment. Thus, perhaps of limited use in such a case.

How would multiple dogs in the office be managed? What if the dogs individually are fine, but in a group do not get along? Does every dog get banned, or only some? Again, with an eye to fairness, your have to think of all possible troublesome situations and have a policy in place.

A manager also has to consider productivity. Here perception is important. You will have employees claiming that Bob spends too much time playing with his dog, time off that others do not get. (Think about complaints that smokers get to take more breaks - you likely already see this kind of thing where group X is perceived by group Y to have an unfair advantage.) There have to be plans in place to address this should it come up - which chances are it will.

OTOH, what happens when an employee claims his performance problems are due to the distraction of a dog in the office? How do you deal with such claims?

And finally, what is the cost to the company of allowing dogs at work? Extra cleaning, organizing work spaces, moving people around, compliance or paperwork, etc.? You need to research all possible costs, and be ready to answer questions. And, of course - how would you justify any additional cost that might arise, what benefits can be proved to offset costs?

—-

I’m about as big a dog lover as one can possibly be. Heck, I left corporate life so I could properly care for my dog when she unexpectedly appeared in my life.

Years later, there was only one period I brought the dogs to the office: When I worked by myself at home.

And most of the time they got bored as I stared at my computer, got frustrated that my deadline was more important than fetch, and trotted off to bark at squirrels. Fortunately they had that option.

OP, I’m just tossing some ideas out - if you seriously want to propose this, you should think very carefully about all possible objections, and prepare yourself. Try to put yourself in the shoes of someone who does not like dogs.

And then ask yourself: Is this really, truly, fair and beneficial to everyone, human and canine? Are you doing this primarily for dog owners, or for dogs? (Hint: the answer should not be the former.)

All the best.



ETA:

Now putting on my Captain Obvious hat:

The above applies to bringing a pet dog into the office.

It does not apply to a duly accredited working service dog, such as a guide dog or similar, who is there to assist the owner with a disability. That is a very different matter, and disability accommodation needs to be made.

Last edited by meloncollie; 04.12.2021 at 15:28.
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  #35  
Old 04.09.2021, 12:21
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

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The dog behaviour, dog cleanliness and such areas could probably be dealt with easily enough with those who wanted to bring in their dog signing an agreement (which could be revoked) regarding the standards required for said pooch to be there.
If a dog can't behave like a dog, what's the point? I don't see the point in bringing a dog to an office to make it sit quietly in a corner without distracting anyone, which to me, would be the only circumstances under which I would accept such an arrangement.

I like dogs. It's one thing if someone brings their dog to the office for a few minutes so we can see them, but it's an entirely different thing to have to have some coworker's pet hanging around the office and paying attention to it.

Sounds super annoying, intrusive, distracting, like someone is attempting to turn the office into their own living room.

Hard no from me. I would focus instead on having the company allow you to work from home more if you feel you need to spend more time with your dog. Not everyone likes your dog, many people don't show the dislike out of sheer politeness and can tolerate it for a few minutes. But it's an entirely different thing to shove it unto others during an entire workday!
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  #36  
Old 04.09.2021, 15:44
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

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Yeah, but I bet the benefit in mental health is seen only in the subset of the population that likes dogs. Some people find mental health improvements by doing yoga, for some it's gardening. Should such companies also bring in mandatory yoga classes and obligatory garden duty?

The problem with your idea of having dogs at work is that is you are forcing what you find beneficial onto others without regard to whether or not it is beneficial to them. If my work offers yoga classes to its employees to improve their mental health and I don't like yoga (which is actually true) I simply wouldn't go to the yoga classes.

But how are people who don't like dogs supposed to ignore them? Do you genuinely not understand how incredibly intrusive and unpleasant many people find it to have dogs around???
The purpose of my thread is to understand the different angles. I see no reason to be condescending in your response. Many people have engaged in the discussion in a polite and civilised way. I would appreciate a similar tone. Thank you.
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  #37  
Old 04.09.2021, 15:46
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

I keep wondering: how can spending a day in an office, or five long days a week in an office, with all those electrics and electronics, printers, photocopy machings, ventilation systems, synthetic lighting, LEDs some of which flash, phones ringing, and all those people talking, and all those feet walking past the space under the desk, with all the while one's owner sitting right there but mostly ignoring one, ever be a good way for a dog to spend its time?

Why would a caring dog-owner ever even contemplate subjecting their dog to such an environment?
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  #38  
Old 04.09.2021, 15:52
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

Melloncollie - a really great post!! Thank you. It’s incredibly useful to get all these points.
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  #39  
Old 04.09.2021, 15:53
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

Exception to what I wrote above: a guide dog for a blind person, because that dog knows that it has been trained to serve the owner, so the dog is at work, too.
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Old 04.09.2021, 16:54
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Re: Offices that accept dogs?

I can totally understand how some animal life can liven up the office and maybe provide an additional channel for small talk.

I have worked in an office where there was a bird feeder outside the window and we would take turns to buy bird feed and refill the feeder. We managed to attract quite a lot of unusual birds and even a squirrel.

Our bird sightings would often be a topic of conversation and we later fitted a web cam so we could capture goings on even when out.

Things like that make office life more interesting and improve the team spirit and cohesion.

I have also heard of people having fish tanks in the office for similar reasons.

But I agree with others that dogs may introduce as many problems as they solve.

Some companies provide an at-work creche or daycare so people can leave small children while they work. This takes a lot of the stress out of having to take the kids elsewhere and thus adding complexity to one's commute and daily routine.

Maybe companies could provide doggy daycare in a similar vein?

Just an idea?
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