I read a couple of studies that said having dogs at work increases productivity. Now that doesn't mean it would hold for us because we do everything we can to minimize interruptions so people can focus on work. But I figured we should at least try. So I suggested it to our CEO.
She asked and the response was either no opinion or enthusiastic agreement. So she had a couple of employees put together guidelines. And they came up with a good set including a max of 2 dogs/day, they have to be calm & quiet, etc.
A number of employees brought their dogs in and they did fine. So I signed up to bring my two in – two adult golden retrievers. I figured since they spend all day sleeping around the house, they could sleep here instead. And I came in early when there was just one other person here so they could check out all the new smells, run all over, and settle down before anyone else showed up.
And within 10 minutes one of them violated the prime directive. In the main hallway. A giant pile of it.
So back home we went. I was back home dropping them off before my wife had even left for work – which she found hilarious (me not so much). And the dogs were happy because they got to drive around with me that morning – twice. Plus one of them got to mark some new territory.
But a couple of the employees have now been bringing their dogs in regularly. They're all very calm and quiet, mostly just lying somewhere sleeping and occasionally wandering slowly around to see if any food has miraculously appeared somewhere. And I like it – it makes you smile to stop and pet one of them as you walk through the halls.
So even in a programming company where you want quiet and concentrated focused effort, I think the dogs are a net positive. But make sure they've done their morning business before you bring them in.