Though keeping pets at work hasn’t caught on everywhere, there’s no denying the trend of bringing well-behaved pets into the office is growing. With benefits such as reduced stress or encouraging more interactions between team members, there are definitely reasons why pets in the workplace is worth giving a shot.
Whether pets are a permanent fixture in your workspace, or you’re planning on trying out scheduled “pet days” on a weekly or monthly basis, consider the following to make introducing pets in the office go a little more smoothly:
Be aware of allergies
One of the first things you’ll want to consider is the possibility of anyone having pet allergies, and how it might affect clients (if they visit the office). Having a pet on site might be a wonderful thing for most employees, but those with allergies won’t appreciate working with red, itchy eyes. Prior to welcoming pets into your worksite, ask everyone whether or not they have allergies and to what degree. Some people don’t experience allergies unless they have direct contact with an animal.
In situations where someone does have an allergy, some dog breeds might still be ok. Breeds that are known to be hypoallergenic include the Bichon Frise, schnauzer, maltese, and others. Breeds that drool a lot or produce a lot of dander tend to be the worst for those with allergies (like St. Bernards or Bulldogs).
Set aome ground rules for pets in the workplace
To prevent chaos and maintain a have rules in place prior to bringing in pets. It would also be helpful to schedule a meeting to discuss rules (and answer questions) ahead of time. This gets everyone on the same page, both pet owners and non-pet owners.
- Pets brought into the workplace must maintain good hygiene
- Pets must be up-to-date on vaccines, flea treatment, etc
- If your pet is ill or has a contagious illness, they must stay at home
- Ask owners before giving pets snacks
- Have guidelines on where to take pets for walks
Making areas for them to Sleep and Relax
Ideally, pets brought into the workplace will need to be able to handle downtime and spend some time sleeping. You can help by preparing a bed that they will recognize as their designated areas. Dogs in particular are much more likely to relax near their owners, so you’ll have an easier time getting them to settle down in their owners work area rather than a separate room.
Some other ways you can keep pets content in a designated area:
Chew toys: A toy like a kong with a peanut butter inside or other snack can keep a dog entertained for hours.
Walks: Taking a long walk or throwing a ball in the morning or during lunch will make your dog more likely to rest during work periods.
A comfortable bed: A comfortable bed with with familiar smells from home will give your pet a sense that they have their own space.
Food and water: If your pet has a food and water bowl near them, they’ll be less likely to feel like they have to “forage” around the office for it.
If possible, create a “nook” area for your pet, so they feel like they have their own safe space. Many animals can feel uneasy being in an environment that doesn’t feel like theirs, so by giving them a designated they’re more likely to relax.
Know The Rules of Your Building
Find out if your building has any rules on animals or breed restrictions that you would need to find out prior to introducing pets. Some buildings have pet policies that include filling out an application form so your pet’s information is documented. There could also be weight/size restrictions for dogs, vaccine requirements, or a number of pets allowed per person. The only way you’ll know if your building has any pet policies is to check ahead of time.
Be Conscious of People’s Fears Towards Some Animals/Breeds
Your experience with a certain animal or breed may not be the same as another person’s experience, so respect that some people might be uneasy around (or fear) some animals. Only well-socialized pets with good temperaments should be allowed in the workplace, but there are still some breeds (or large dogs) that can make some people nervous.
Depending on the good behaviour of the animal and the opening mindedness of employees, it’s possible to establish trust over time. However, if someone feels their safety is at risk, respect their feelings and don’t press the issue.
As long as you take the proper steps before introducing pets into your workplace, you might be pleasantly surprised the effect it has on the atmosphere. Allowing employees to bring their pets, even just on designated pet days can be a huge perk for doting pet owners.