Who let the dogs in? A brief comment on animal spirits.

Dog on Floor

Some of my best friends are animals. (No snickering.) So I’m happy to report on a growing office trend: bringing your dog to work. One example of this, as detailed in the Boston Globe, is at WeWork, a Coworking Space at Fort Point in Boston, that houses 900 people, 250 companies, and 30 four-legged guests.

Why not? In the words of WeWork’s Fort Point community manager Capri Coury, dogs “boost morale, productivity, and overall happiness.” Dogs also spark conversations that can improve worker socialization and idea-sharing. And, at the Thursday Meet-ups—or “Dog Happy Hour” or “Yappy Hour”—where dogs and workers from the various companies hang out together over potato chips and dog biscuits, we can assume that some valuable networking takes place. (I’m guessing, though, that the networking rituals appropriate for canines might present legal problems if practiced by owners.)

I already know what you’re thinking: “Our workforce productivity is down and morale is low. Time to bring in the dogs!” Well, this would undoubtedly fare better than a lot of organizational fixes we hear about these days. And it has special attraction for younger hi-tech workers who spend 15 hours at work and can barely get home to spend quality time with their pooches. The truth is I’m all for anything that can bring some humanity and spontaneity to work.

Of course you could make the case that it’s discriminatory against cats and their owners. But with proper mediation techniques (not to be confused with medication techniques) dogs and cats could learn to work side by side with each other. Given the obvious interest in such a topic, this could be my next book.

Now how does this all relate to rock & roll? Well, many of the guys I played music with in the old days WERE animals. And you didn’t want them in your workplace.

They (we) were too freaky. Too weird. Too unconventional. Too outlandish. Too irreverent. Too radical. Too comical. Too passionate. Too free-spirited. Too rebellious. Too impractical. Too spontaneous. Too unpredictable. Too willing to try anything. Too willing to disagree. Too willing to stand out. Too willing to speak truth to power.

Fortunately, some new-economy businesses are recognizing that we can use more of those animal (i.e. rock & roll)—spirits in our workplace. Dogs are just the beginning.


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5 Comments

    1. Yeah, those and pet boa constrictors might not work at some places. Good conversation starters though.

      1. I've been wearing mismatched socks to business events for years. Those conversations which ensue are a good guide to who I want to work with.

        Safer than dragons and snakes, too. Though, apparently, far more confusing to some folk.

  1. Well, I don't even need to tell you what I think of dogs and/or animals at work. Best places to work.

  2. It's a well known factoid that The Beatles recorded a dog whistle during the sessions for 'Sgt. Pepper' and it was inserted into 'A Day In The Life.' Play it to your dog and watch him get confused...

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