Dogs In The Office?
A recent article in Crain’s examined the idea of having dogs in the office. The results were very positive. They found that having dogs at work improved productivity and enhanced the team’s sense of community. I work from home, and my Jack Russel and Boston Terrier named Sylvain and Oscar respectively (pictured above), are constant companions. I find that having them around is very beneficial for me and my work output. They are the cause of regular unscheduled, but not unwanted, distractions. Now this may seem counterintuitive because we often discuss ways to remove distractions, but they do have their place.
For instance, any time you are dealing with a complex problem, it is usually a good idea to step away from it, change your perspective and reapproach the problem with a fresh mind. It’s difficult to schedule these kind of breaks. Do you do it every hour? Every time you get so frustrated that you have to stop and rub your eyes? How about simply each time your dog brings you the latest sock they found in your closet? I like that much better because it’s truly random. Your dog has no greater sense of timing and these completely random distractions will make you markedly more productive. This is different than the random distraction of a Facebook message because that requires action, or at least shifting your train of thought whereas interacting with a dog requires nothing more than a smile and a free hand.
Having a dog around also requires you to get out of your own head because something else is depending on you to eat and go to the bathroom. Taking a break to go for a 15 minute walk outside can provide you as much relief and relaxation as a full hour massage. Seriously.
The Bottom Line
I’m not saying you should go out and buy a dog (actually, I’m kind of saying that), but if you have one, don’t be so quick to shut them out when you’re working, and if you work in an office see if people would be open to the idea of you bringing in a little helper.