Professional Poochy – Things To Consider Before Making Your Office “Pet Friendly”

Being an avid dog lover, the thought of bringing my furry best friend with me to work everyday was a dream I never thought was an option a few years ago. However, as time progressed, so have the norms of workplace policies. More organizations are now changing their work culture and environment to make it more appealing and accommodating for their employees. If you think about it, we spend an average of 8 hours a day at our workplace which translates to about 33% of our lives. Wouldn’t you want your employees to feel comfortable and enjoy coming to work every day? This is something business owners and managers try and cultivate within the culture of their workplace by creating perks and policies that are beneficial to the employees. One new trend emerging is “Pet Friendly” workplaces. According to Trupanion, a leading company in dog insurance, they have discovered that having pets in the office has led to increased employee satisfaction and retention, decreased stress and a positive work environment for their employees. For those who are dog owners and lovers, this is an ideal work environment, but what about those individuals who don’t like animals or are allergic? This poses some great questions around whether or not making your office space “pet friendly” is the right fit for your business.

Here are some things to consider before implementing a “pet friendly” policy at your office:

Landlord approval:

  • The first step is to ensure that your buildings policy will actually allow pets. You should always checking with your landlord to make sure this is something that is actually allowed in your building.

Executive buy-in:

  • You will need Executive support to create a great pet friendly environment. Make certain all your Executives are on board with a pet friendly workplace so they can help make the transition to your new policy smooth.

Do your research:

  • It’s important to make sure that a pet friendly office is something your employees actually want. Survey your staff asking them basic questions about their opinion on this new potential policy. The health and safety of your employees is the upmost importance, so it’s very important to make sure no one in your office has severe allergies. Ask employees to provide their concerns with having a new pet friendly policy so you can address them in your pet friendly policy (see below).

 Pet-proofing:

  • Before allowing pets in the office, it’s important to pet-proof your workplace and make sure it is safe for animals. This includes incorporating baby gates or tethers, and hiding electrical cords. Make sure you have all the supplies needed to take care of your pets at work including having water and food bowls available, clean-up supplies, etc.

Pet policy:

  • Once you’ve decide that a pet friendly office is the way you want to go, you must make sure a well structured and thought out pet policy is in place. Included below are some tips to consider when drafting your pet policy.

Employees Notification:

  • Finally, the fun part – notifying employees that they are now allowed to bring their beloved pets to work! An orientation to go over the new pet friendly policy is recommended to avoid any misunderstandings.

Now that you are all set up and ready to bring your four legged friend into work with you, here are some tips to creating a solid pet friendly policy:

  • Building and Executive application processes and approvals
  • Pet rules and etiquette when in the office
  • Pet cleanliness and clean-up
  • Pet complaint process and procedures
  • Vaccination guidelines

Once a pet friendly policy is created, it’s very important your whole office is held accountable to the policy from interns and all the way up to Executives.

There are so many benefits of having a pet friendly workplace, but first and foremost, it’s very important to make sure you give some serious thought as to whether it’s right for your workplace and employees. Ensure that your pet friendly policy is sound and leaves no room for misinterpretation before making the move.  If you need help creating a customized pet friendly policy for your company, contact Salopek and Associates to help.

Sources for this article where found on: Trupanion 

About Vanessa Salopek

Vanessa is a Marketing and Business Development professional with over 10 years of experience working in Calgary. She has developed and executed marketing and business development strategies for companies ranging  in size from entrepreneurial startups to globally recognized brands and franchises. Vanessa holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing and is in the processing of obtaining her CPHR designation. Vanessa has hands on experience working in Human Resources as she runs a very successful restaurant in Calgary. People management is part of Vanessa's every day job and includes experience in recruitment, policies and procedure development, performance management and building a positive work culture.

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