Pets in the Workplace

As companies look to provide perks that will attract and retain talent, many are realizing offering pet friendly offices are an effective tool for improving recruitment. With more than 54 million U.S. households owning a dog, it’s a no-brainer that office pet policies are on the rise. When polled, 75 million Americans said having pets in the workplace would positively impact their mood and productivity. Central Michigan University also found that pets can act as social catalysts, a 2017 study found that animals in the workplace made employees more attentive, friendly, and collaborative. There are many benefits to bringing Fido to work, such as lowering stress levels, creating camaraderie amongst staff, and fostering productivity. What questions do employers need to ask when considering a pet-friendly policy?

 

Read on for 3 questions to ask before you establish a pet policy:

                                                                

1: How do your employees feel?

Before you make any decisions, consult with your staff first. You may be surprised to learn that one of your top employees is afraid of dogs, or allergic to pet hair. You might receive a resounding “no” from more staff than expected. It’s not worth losing good employees over a new perk. But, if your entire team is enthusiastic about the prospect of bringing their pets to the office with them, move forward!

 

2:  Does your office lease allow pets?

Read the fine print! If it does, move forward with your consideration. If not, nix the pet perk. Take into consideration what kind of wear and tear your office flooring can handle and what the cost of having to potentially replace it may be. It is up to you to decide if enacting this policy would require any unreasonable accommodations.

3: Is it reasonable?

Is it reasonable to expect your employees to remain productive with their pet at work? The answer to that is most likely yes if your office space and culture are conducive and the pet is able to behave without being a burden. However, customer facing roles such as bank teller, retail worker or food handler are not appropriate positions to be handling a pet while working. Since there are many variables and things to consider when setting up a new policy, especially regarding pets, set clear guidelines on your pet policy to ensure employee understanding and compliance.

 

Prioritize a safe, happy, and productive office environment as you continue to strive towards a cohesive culture for your staff. Do your research and conduct trial runs before you make your final decision. Try giving employees a bi-monthly pet day if every day is not feasible. If opening up your workplace to pets isn’t in your best interest, don’t push it. If it is, by all means enact a pet policy and enjoy having your four-legged friends with you!

 

 

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