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Pets in the WorkplaceThe concept of bringing pets into the workplace is increasingly being recognized as beneficial to business operations by improving employee effectiveness and sense of well-being, and increasing customer satisfaction.  More and more businesses are getting on board, and studies and articles are highlighting the results:

  • When workers bring their pets to their workstations, they report less stress by the end of the day, unlike coworkers who do not bring their pets or who are without pets, both of whom report an increased amount of stress by the end of the day.

  • Employees work more hours in a day, stay at an organization for longer, and have fewer absences if they can bring their pets into the workplace.

  • Customers are more likely to relax and enjoy their time at a business, as well as view it as forward-thinking.

  • Gleeful pets may facilitate more positive coworker exchanges and can allow employees to step back from problems before getting too engrossed to find a solution.

  • Being able to take time at work to care for their pet’s needs allows long-distance or long-working employees to cut the costs of walking services.  Simply owning pets saves billions in healthcare costs, but being able to walk those pets saves millions.

Are you interested in bringing these benefits into your work environment, but aren’t sure how to get the ball rolling?  Here are some considerations to help get you started:

 

Decisive Initial Questions – Pets in the Workplace

  • Does your industry-type match up?  The medical, pharmaceutical, chemical, and food industries may not have the regulatory standards compatible with pet-hospitality in the workplace.

  • What is the condition of your workplace?  Even if you work outside of these industries, you may want to consider whether the condition of your workplace poses any threat to the health of your pet, or whether it can handle the wear and tear that  pets might cause.

  • What will insurance cover?  As implied above, pets can impose some level of risk for  property damage and personal injury at the workplace, as well as the legal and insurance issues that may follow them.  It is important for both business owners and employees to verify with their agents how they can be covered in this situations before moving on.

  • Is your work community up for it?  Some people have moderate to severe allergies or phobias.  Others may be concerned about pets being the causes of and outlets for distraction.  How will a pet impact cleanliness and order at work ; are there fears of property damage and personal injury.

 

Suggestions for Implementation

If the movement gets a go-ahead, it can be helpful to co-create/collaborate on a pet-policy!  Why make a policy?  Not only could it address any legal issues should they occur later on down the line, but rules can support the execution of both work goals and interpersonal harmony during the transition into work life with this new addition.  Furthermore, if a business owner includes employees in the policy-making process, participants may be more likely to follow through on requirements because they understand the reason for existence and they all generally agreed on them.  For sample policies, consider these sources: Workable, Pet Sitters International, and LawRoom (this one includes a reminder about Service Dogs).

 

Lastly, check out articles on pets in the workplace supplied by The Balance and Cesar’s Way for more ideas of details to think of adding to a pet-policy.  From fun to strictly practical, they have it all; here are some of the ones we find the most important and the most fun:

  • Fun Group Idea: Make a habit of gathering up the team’s friendly furry family members before/after work or during lunch for a group walk, run, or bike ride!  Be sure they meet in a neutral area and have plenty of time to smell each other.

  • How will the pets be contained and supervised throughout the workday?

  • Pet Play Time: For at least 20-30 minutes a day, declare a jamboree – have the pets share a toy, play one-on-one, or go to a pet-friendly park!  Make sure your pet has an outlet for all of their energy and attention!

  • Which behaviors will be met with which level of consequences?

  • Before they Arrive: Designate a special place for your pet in the workplace, perhaps with a special cushion, and lead them to it.  It may decrease territorial behavior and increase feelings of safety and a willingness to share the area.

  • What level of training is required for pets, and what phase of learning are coworkers willing to support?  That being said, what are any rules around how coworkers and customers can interact with pets at which times – will there be a no touch, no talk, no eye-contact policy?

  • To Maintain that Work-Life Balance: Play, run, walk, or bike for at least 30 minutes before work so that it serves the dual purpose of bonding with your pet  through activity and also allowing them to tire out enough to allow you to work for more sustained periods of time.  A backpack for your pet may also have a similar effect.  Be sure to walk your pet every few hours.

  • What are the requirements surrounding a pet’s vaccine status, health condition, and grooming rituals?

  • Where and when, or, for what events, are pets not allowed?

  • Remember your Responsibility to the Needs of your Pet and to the Items in your Policy

Trainers and veterinarians can be valuable sources of input on whether a furry family member is ready for a trip to the workplace, or on whether a workplace is ready for a few furry visitors!  All questions are welcome at Longview Animal Hospital! (903)-807-0887

 

Other Sources

https://appliedpsychologydegree.usc.edu/resources/articles/the-benefits-of-bringing-pets-to-work/

https://www.selective.com/info-center/resource-center/newsletters/commercial-connections/volume5-issue1-2016/liabilities-for-pet-friendly-business