For many, the pandemic meant working from home which created a wonderful opportunity for us to spend more quality time with our pets. They were at our feet, walking across our keyboards and enjoying that extra walk at lunch time. As we transition back into the office, one thing that we are loathe to give up is this extra time with our pets. But do we have to?
More and more workplaces are opening their doors to animals by implementing pet-friendly policies. Animals in the office don’t just increase your workplace’s cute quotient —there are big benefits to allowing pets in the workplace. Conscientious employers are always on the lookout for ways to reduce stress and encourage mindfulness, and bringing animals to work can do just that!
Employees working in pet-friendly workplaces report decreased stress levels, increased job satisfaction, and a more positive work environment. It’s also a great low-cost perk to offer employees.
Want to reap the benefits of becoming a pro-animal workplace but not sure where to start? Here are 7 crucial considerations to make the pet-friendly transition a smooth one:
1. Get permission. Get everyone in the management team on board with your plan to bring pets into the workplace. Renting a space? Check with your building manager and building regulations to make sure you’re not breaking any agreements by having animals in the space.
2. Accommodate allergies. There are definite advantages to having animals around at work, but not every workplace can make the transition to allowing pets. Before you implement a policy, make sure no one is allergic! The last thing you want is to have an employee miserably sneezing all day because of their coworker’s shedding Husky.
3. Have a puppy policy. Put it in writing and make sure everyone knows about it—avoid miscommunication and nip issues in the bud before they arise by establishing ground rules around acceptable pet (and owner) behaviour before you install the doggie doors.
4. Pet proof. Pre-plan, and make sure anything that could be dangerous to pets or easily destroyed is out of reach. Things to think about? Hide electrical cords, install tethers, and use baby gates to block off pet zones.
5. Get back to the basics. As with human employees, fulfilling pets’ basic needs keeps everyone happy. Identify areas for pets to rest, eat and play without getting in the way. Determine which areas of your neighbourhood are appropriate for pet bathroom breaks, and keep neighbours happy by making sure everyone knows where they are and abides by those rules.
6. Check their paperwork. Ask pet-owners for documentation. Any pet who will be coming to work needs to be healthy and have documentation that they’re up to date on vaccinations and flea treatments.
7. Try it out. Interviews and probation periods aren’t just for human employees. Every pet is different, and some animals might be too disruptive in a work environment. Start out each pet on a trial basis so everyone can assess whether they’ll mesh with the workplace long term.
Your Engaged HR Assignment: Does your workplace welcome animals? If not, consider putting a pet-friendly policy in place. Review our list and put the idea into action. With a little planning, everyone can reap the stress-reducing benefits of bringing pets to work!
Looking to learn more about other HR topics? Check out our Art of HR series!