22 Dec Chew Toys and Treats: Dogs in the WorkPlace
As the millennial generation gets ready to take their place as the largest workforce demographic, they’re making some changes to their office cultures, along the way. And as a way to incentivize younger generations, more and more companies are beginning to lax their rules about allowing dogs in the workplace. In fact, it’s now more common than ever to see four-legged friends within a professional work setting.
Is this trend something that your business should consider getting on board with? Let’s take a look at the pet-friendly culture shift that’s happening in the work world, and see whether pet-friendly is a direction your company should head in.
The first thing to note, when looking at the pet-friendly workplace trend is that a lot of big name companies are leading the way. From Amazon, to Google, to Ben & Jerry’s, to Etsy, not only are pets beginning to change the policies of businesses throughout the professional spheres, but they’re beginning to change company cultures, themselves.
Etsy is a prime example of a company that is more than a little proud of their dog culture, even going as far as to have a blog page dedicated to their “Dogs of Etsy.” The company, dedicated to creatively minded ecommerce, has stood by its pet-friendly policy since it opened in 2005, and in the years since it has created a company culture that has customers and clients, alike, happy to have the furry friends as part of their work family.
Another thing to note, while looking at this trend, is that not ALL pets are created equal, in the pet-friendly sphere. While workplaces are becoming “pet-friendly” they are doing so, most of the time, only in the case of dogs (or, on occasion, cats). Other, more exotic, pets are generally not as universally embraced. Although, perhaps there will be a time when they too are welcomed to the office. Make sure that, if you become a pet-friendly zone, you let your employees know which pets are welcome. And, in the meantime, have them take advantage of days like June 26th, which is “Take Your Dog To Work Day,” and can be a great test run to introducing dogs (or cats!) to the office.
The reasons behind wanting to have dogs in the workplace can seem easy enough to understand, considering that the responsibility of having a pet waiting at home makes staying at work later more of a hassle for employees. And with more and more workplaces beginning to expect longer workweeks than the once standard 40 hours, having the flexibility to bring your pet with you makes businesses more appealing, while adding a home like atmosphere.
The list of other benefits to having pets in an office setting are more than a few, from lowering stress, to boosting creativity, to connecting better with clients and customers who come to visit; pets in workplaces seem to do a great job of bringing workplaces together.
But pet-friendly life isn’t all chew toys and catnip, it’s important to remember that not all pets are meant to be in an office setting, and not all office settings are meant to have pets. While health (such as allergies) or safety restrictions may prevent pets from entering certain workplaces, it’s important to make sure you’re doing everything in your power to make sure that, when turning your workplace into somewhere that does allow them, you’re prepared. Here are our tips for making sure your office space is dog or cat-friendly, and has everyone feeling right at home in the office community:
Have Clearly Stated And Written Policies
As a company hoping to include pets in its office setting, it’s important to outline rules for having pets in the space. Written rules, or a contract, that pet owners can sign and agree upon, is a great way to make sure that everyone is on the same page, as far as what the protocol for having pets at work, means.
Check With Landlord
As an employer, make sure that any all involved parties, such as landlords, are being contacted before deciding to instate a pet-friendly workplace. It’s important to make sure that pets are legally allowed on the premises to ensure that everyone is in agreement that pets are allowed in the shared space.
Give Dogs A Place To Feel Safe
When pets are spending time in the office, it’s important that they have their own safe space. This may mean having owners bring crates or beds in order to make sure they feel secure in their new space. Dogs are territorial by nature, and especially if there are other dogs in the office, having this space may keep you from dealing with other problems in the long run.
h2> Make Sure Dogs Are Well-Behaved At Work
Having a dog that’s trained and socialized to interact with other dogs and people is a really important factor to having them in your workplace. “Well-behaved” behavior for pets includes them being housebroken, trained not to be disruptive with consistent barking, and to be friendly to people who may be coming in to the office from the outside. When thinking about introducing a pet-friendly policy, be sure to remind pet owners that these ideals are there in order to help keep workplaces friendly and safe for pets and workers alike.
Pets Must Be Supervised At All Times
While each office space varies, make sure that employees are taking care of their pets while they’re at the office, or that they know where they are at all times (if, for instance, there are designated areas the pets can go). Again, this helps to maintain the balance of the office, and can help to avoid problems that occuring from pets being unsupervised.
Dogs Should Be Healthy And Up-To-Date On All Vaccinations
Sharing space with multiple pets means that it’s important to make sure it’s a safe and healthy place for all of them to be. It’s important, as a business owner that you make sure that pets are up to date on all of their vaccinations. Having up-to-date vaccination information for each pet coming into a workspace can be handled by having each pet owner turn in proof of their pet’s vaccinations when they turn in their initial “pet-friendly workspace” contract agreement.
While allowing dogs in the workplace is a practice on the rise in popularity, it’s important to look at all of the factors that creating that kind of culture requires. The goal of bringing dogs and other pets to work is to enrich the workspace, and by creating a plan before bringing pets into the space, you can ensure that the transition goes smooth.
From reducing stress, to bringing people together, pets in workplaces can be a great way to enliven and brighten the culture and communities of the professional world.
But it’s important to think about what it means for you, and your business, in order to really thrive with a pet-friendly business model. Do the research, ask questions, and create an action plan for creating an environment that not only brings pets in, but allows the company to thrive as a result.