Bringing your dog to work has become all the rage. Progressive, pup-friendly workplaces tout it as a perk similar to offering free snacks and on-site car detailing or having a foosball table. But is a dog-friendly office the right benefit for your business?
There are numerous pros and cons to welcoming your coworkers’ canines—and many rules to establish before setting up a dog-friendly office—but the first thing to suss out is how many people are interested in bringing their dog to work, as well as how many are opposed. Here’s what else you need to consider.
Dogs in the Office: Distracting or Therapeutic?
In theory, nothing could be sweeter than driving to work with your pooch every day, only to have them snooze cozily at your feet, get an occasional pat from colleagues and take a walk together on your lunch break. Typically, dog owners who’ve had to leave their furry friends at home while they work couldn’t be more thrilled with a dog-friendly policy. In fact, a Virginia Commonwealth University study found that bringing a dog to the workplace can actually reduce stress and provide more job satisfaction.
On the other hand, “non-dog people” and those with allergies need to be heard, too. Nobody wants to be the bad guy by speaking up and saying they’d prefer not to have dogs at work. It’s up to business owners to poll everyone on whether bringing your dog to work is right for the office culture.
And remember, even if everyone—non-dog owners as well as pet parents—agree to try a pup-friendly workplace, rules must be in place and enforced for the good of both pups and people.
Dog Rules for the Office
If you go forward with allowing dogs in your office, make sure animals are allowed in the building (so you don’t violate your organization’s lease). Also, check with your insurance policy to see if there are any liability issues to address.
It’s a good idea to form a “canine committee” to handle the scheduling and rule enforcement, as well as address any issues that crop up. Decide if dogs can be brought every day or just once per week. If you have a large office, or many dogs, you may need a schedule to coordinate days and allow only three to six dogs per day.
Set the new dog policy down in writing, distribute it to every staff member and add it to the company’s employee handbook. Other rules to enforce include:
- Dogs must be up-to-date on vaccinations and have a good bill of health from the vet.
- Dogs should remain with their owners, and not be allowed to wander around the office.
- Dogs may need to be crated at your desk, tethered to your chair or under verbal control.
- Only well-behaved pups, who are non-aggressive toward other dogs and people, can be brought in.
- Dogs must be housebroken (or work-broken, in this case).
- Dogs must not bother any other colleagues.
- Dogs must be relatively quiet. No excessive whiners or barkers allowed.
- Dogs must not harass or bother the other pups.
- Dogs must not interfere with productivity or their owners’ ability to do their work.
- Owners must clean up after their dog and take them to an acceptable outside area during their appointed lunch and break time.
- Dogs should have quiet toys to play with, no distracting squeaks.
- If your dog violates any of these rules, you will be asked to not bring them back until the issue has been addressed through training or obedience classes.
- The dog-friendly office policy can be reevaluated at any time.
Ready to foster a pet-friendly culture at your office? Promote it as a work perk and recruiting tool! Dogs can be a great de-stressor for both owners and non-owners alike. If your organization has a lot of office space, you can designate a dog-free area for those who prefer not to interact with canines due to fear or allergies.
When offices successfully incorporate a pet-forward atmosphere, it can be good for business. Giving your pup a midday treat or stopping by to pet your work buddy’s dog can foster friendship and help support good morale.
Searching for tools and resources to help your colleagues manage their dental benefits? Check out the Employer Toolkit on United Concordia Dental’s website.