Tech companies are known for having incredible perks: free food, flexible time off, and sometimes even pets being allowed to come to the office. I've worked at companies that allowed dogs in the office before, and I can honestly say that this particular perk annoys me to no end. Before you call me the Grinch, hear me out.
First things first, I love dogs (and cats, but I think I'll stick to one controversial opinion at a time). I love watching dogs happily trot down the street while I'm having brunch, I love visiting with my friends dogs and taking them for walks in the park, I love looking at cute pictures of dogs when I need a mood booster. When I have an apartment that's big enough and a schedule that doesn't require working and traveling 24/7, I'm even planning on getting a dog of my own. (Probably a Pomeranian named Pom Ford, thanks for asking.)
So before you imagine me to be a canine-hating witch, I must emphasize just how much I love dogs! Not, however, in my place of work.
Here's the first and most important fact that no one wants to talk about: having dogs in the office is extremely distracting. Sure, it's fun for the first hour of the day when everyone is parading their pooch around, but when people actually need to start their day and focus, it becomes massively distracting to have every Fido and Fluffy barking and yelping and needing to go outside. It's rare that a dog can sit still through a work day because, guess what, dogs aren't supposed to sit still! They're supposed to run and jump and play all day. Dog walkers are there for a reason. As well as being extremely distracting, I actually think forcing dogs to come to work can be cruel as well — we sit through work days because we have to, they shouldn't be subjected to the 9 to 5.
Have you ever tried to present your marketing strategy while a 150-pound Dalmatian is trying to get comfortable? I have.
I have actually had to sit through important meetings with colleagues who brought their dogs in, yes, into the meeting. Have you ever tried to present your marketing strategy while a 150-pound Dalmatian is trying to get comfortable? I have. Let me tell you, it's not that fun, and it makes getting your point across twice as difficult. Dogs are like children to their owners, and whenever someone's dog is in the room, they get all the attention.
I hate to be the Debbie Downer of the century, but dogs in the office can get a little, well, smelly. One day at my office it was raining super hard, and the smell of 20-plus wet dogs was absolutely nauseating while I was trying to concentrate. I also won't go into detail, but dogs also have accidents from time to time, and that's not something I want to have to see or smell while trying to crank out a marketing plan.
There's also a certain amount of forced chat that comes with having everyone's dogs in the office. When someone is toting their dog around, you basically have to ask them what its name is and how old it is — even when its a vile balding Chihuahua that won't stop barking. Fine, maybe I am evil, but unless it's cute and fluffy, I really don't care what your dog's name is or that it prefers kibble to wet food.
There's a time and a place for dogs, and the workplace is not it. I'm all for making work as comfortable a place as possible, but can't we interpret that as casual Fridays and not turn every day into a Petco commercial? Having your pets around is distracting and unprofessional. If you need a break in the middle of the day, do what the rest of the world does and scroll through your frenemy's Instagram account while sipping that extra iced coffee you didn't need. Trust me, your dog will be all the more excited to see you when you get home.