Your Colleagues May Have Some Strong Opinions About Dogs At Work, New Study Says
Despite the popularity of Bring Your Dog To Work Day last Friday, it turns out the practice isn't as accepted as you might expect — at least not in the UK. A new survey by YouGov found that almost two thirds of Brits think pet dogs shouldn't be allowed in the workplace, while about a quarter think you should be able to bring your dog to work, and just over a tenth are undecided.
YouGov asked 2,021 adults whether dogs, excluding service animals, should be permitted in the workplace, and for 65 percent of respondents, the answer was a staunch no, while 23 percent were in favour. Women were slightly more likely than men to support a fluffy office mate, with 27 percent of women saying they should be allowed in the office compared to only 19 percent of men. And support for the practice declined as the age of the respondents increased: 35 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds and 27 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds thought dogs should be allowed in the workplace, while only 17 percent of those 55 and over were in favour.
Those who do want to bring their dog to work might find themselves disappointed: according to a 2017 Guardian article, only around 8 percent of UK and U.S. employers allow dogs at work.
Dog lovers might be put out (I, personally, aspire to one day install a lovable whippet under my desk), but there's a host of valid reasons why non-service pups in the office could be problematic. For one, some of your coworkers could be allergic — and with potential symptoms including sneezing, nasal congestion, facial pain, itchy eyes, and hives, according to the Mayo Clinic, it's unsurprising that they might object to a dog in their workplace.
As the Blue Cross points out, health and safety regulations in some workplaces might prohibit the presence of animals altogether. Plus, there's a chance a colleague might have a phobia of dogs, known as cynophobia. In short, if a coworker isn't comfortable with your non-service dog in the office, no matter how delightful the pup is to you, you really have no right to get shirty about it.
There are, however, plenty of benefits to bringing your dog to work, providing doing so won't subject your coworkers to distress. As Time notes, dogs can provide "more social support for employees"; social support can be vital for those with "serious mental illness," the magazine notes. A cute dog is likely to trigger more social interactions between coworkers, too.
What's more, an office pup could be a happier pup — as the Blue Cross points out, dogs don't love being left alone, so taking them to work could relieve their anxiety. You should, however, remain alert to "any signs of stress, like panting and licking lips," the charity advises, "and make sure they have a quiet place to relax at all times." Take a look at the charity's other tips if you're considering taking your dog (ensure they have plenty of water, for one) — and enjoy a 100 percent cuter day at work!