It’s not unreasonable to say that the professional workplace has changed dramatically in the past fifty years. From business attire to flexible work schedules, today, many employees experience a relaxed atmosphere that accommodates their lifestyle and preferences.

Perhaps the most extreme example of the dramatic shift in workplace culture is the increasingly common practice of allowing dogs to join their owners at work. You may associate pets in the workplace with young startups or tech companies like Google, but more companies are visiting this topic in favor of the furry companions.

It’s A Dog’s Life

We’ve heard the phrase a million times. We’ve used it to describe the easy life or how we spent our time on vacation. But the phrase’s origin outlines a much different scenario.

First used in the 16th century, the term described a home’s guard dog, who spent the majority of his life outdoors, who was fed scraps, and generally lived a short life. Today, dogs have it a bit easier. From organic dog food to pet insurance, the canines we keep today truly live the good life.

Dogs at Work

Do you allow pets to join their owners at work? Chances are, you’ve had an employee or two ask you to consider the policy change. No matter where you stand on the issue of pets, there are benefits to consider.

Reduced Stress

There’s something about a dog that seems to ease an atmosphere in a good way. In recent years, there’s been a rise in therapy dogs at schools and hospitals. Adding a dog or two to your workplace may provide a small amount of stress reliever for your employees. Think about it. If a tired employee spends a few minutes in the morning petting the office dog, chances are he or she will return to work in an improved mood.

Boost in Productivity

While this may not be the case in every situation, owners who are allowed to bring their pets to work typically rate their jobs higher. Pets also bring the necessity of needing to take bathroom breaks throughout the day. Use this to your advantage and encourage employees to take a five minute stretch break. Returning to work refocused is an excellent way to boost productivity.

Can You Make it Work?

Of course, there will always be situations where allowing employees to bring their dogs to work simply won’t work. For example, if you work in a restaurant or medical facility where sterilization is critical, dogs won’t be a great addition.

Further, if you do decide to allow pets in the workplace, you’ll want to adopt a standard policy. Mandating that dogs arrive with all proper immunizations, are healthy, house trained, and friendly, are absolutely necessities.

With more and more dogs returning to work, we can’t help but question if the pendulum will swing once more to its initial origin. Maybe in 100 years, the phrase will once again conjure a feeling of hard, laboring work. One thing is for certain: these dogs at work are having a much easier time at it than their 16th century predecessors.