With a new study showing that allowing animals in the workplace makes everyone happier, we show you how to create a pet-friendly environment. It’s not as barking mad as it sounds…
Workplaces that open their doors to pets are shown to boost morale, reduce stress levels and increase productivity.
Pets are also great for breaking the ice between departments. They put a smile on people’s faces and bring a sense of fun into the office environment.
A survey carried out by the Banfield Pet Hospital in the US found employers that allow the pets are viewed as highly positive.
If you’re considering implementing a pet-friendly office, here’s what you need to know.
Keep it legal
If you have a commercial landlord, check pets are actually allowed in the building so you don’t break the terms of your lease. You might also need to adjust your insurance cover.
Health and hygiene are very important too. Ask pet owners to make sure vaccinations are up to date and get them to sign a consent form accepting responsibility for any property damage.
Implement a pet rota
If everyone brought in their pets on the same day, no one would get any work done. Some workplaces operate a rotation system, allowing workers to bring their pet in on a given day, which reduces distractions – and potential scraps between Poppy and Tinker.
You should also take into account the fact some employees may prefer a pet-free environment due to allergies. Talk to your staff to gauge their concerns before going ahead with a pet-friendly office to make sure it’s right for you.
Make employees responsible for their own animals
If you’re implementing a PAW (Pets at Work) policy, stress to your staff the importance of good pet etiquette.
Make it their responsibility to bring in any appropriate equipment for their furry friends, such as food bowls, bedding, toys and litter trays.
Pet proof your office
Cables, wires and bins are very appealing to pets, but they can cause accidents. Take the time to pet proof your office space to ensure it’s safe for animals.
It helps if cats and small dogs wear a bell on their collar so you know when they’re underfoot. You wouldn’t want to run over a stray paw with your chair.
Establish pet-free zones
Designate areas of the office where pets are off limits to ensure your staff can get away from the animals if they want to.
Areas that involve food, including kitchens, canteens and break rooms, should be free from pets, as should the toilets and formal meeting rooms.
Make sure pets are comfortable around others
Pets are meant to create a calming environment. That certainly won’t be the case if someone brings their dog in, only for it to spend the whole time barking, growling or pouncing on people.
Make sure they’re a ‘fit’ for your office. We’re not saying you have to put them through a gruelling interview process, but you need to know they can behave.
It’s also important that they get on with other animals if there’s more than one in the office at the same time. If the fur flies in front of an important visitor, it doesn’t look very professional. You wouldn’t want to end up in the doghouse would you?