In recent years, pet friendly workplaces have become more and more commonplace. In 2016 the Society for Human Resource Management estimated that 7% of workplaces are now pet-friendly. Having a pet friendly workplace can make work more fun and is a job perk that may help recruit or retain top talent in today’s competitive job market. A study conducted in 2010 found that having pets in the workplace makes people more productive, while a 2017 study found that allowing pets encourages collaboration amongst employees. While having pets in the office can lightens spirits and brings much needed stress relief, without proper guidelines and arrangements pets in the office can create tension and turmoil.
Here are six steps to ensure a happy and successful pet-friendly workplace:
- Before allowing pets, create and distribute behavior guidelines and expectations for pets in the workplace. Medical guidelines that outline spay/neuter requirements, vaccinations, and preventative treatment requirements should be included as well.
- Craft pet etiquette standards to ensure a harmonious workplace. Share these with employees and post them in a common area. Aggressive or disruptive dogs should not be allowed to come to work. Dogs should be on a leash when travelling between their owner’s car and the workplace.
- Have a plan in place to address issues that come up. When planning a pet-friendly workplace, be sure to consider employees who may be scared by or allergic to pets and include them in the planning process.
- Ask employees to bring all necessary supplies for their pets including beds, water and food bowls, toys, crates, dog waste bags, and enrichment activities, but also keep emergency supplies in case an employee forgets an item or runs out.
- If possible, build a fenced in area outside for pets to relieve themselves and stretch their legs during the day.
- Consider providing a pet friendly mini refrigerator for employees to store enrichment toys or medications, if needed.
In short, a pet friendly workplace can provide great benefits, but it is necessary to have rules and to hold staff accountable. By following the tips above you can be well on your way to planning a pet-friendly workplace.