Feeling stressed at work? A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management concluded that workplaces with dogs present had significantly lower stress and higher rates of collaboration. If a more relaxed and engaging work environment sounds appealing to you, it may be time to think about making your workplace pet friendly. Here are some tips to help make that transition successful.
1. Talk to the Management Team
Getting management on board is the most crucial component of creating a pet-friendly workplace. This will require that you do some homework on your end, compiling information to make a credible appeal. First help the management team see what’s in it for them. Some may be persuaded by the facts about how a less-stressful environment can decrease employee absenteeism and boost productivity. Others may like the thought of providing a low-cost wellness perk and elevating their company’s status as a desirable place to work. Whatever tactic you take, be sure to focus on the features and benefits to your employer as well as their employees.
2. Get Employees Engaged
After you have management’s buy-in, the next step is to get your fellow employees excited about bringing pets to work. If you’ve never had pets in the office before, you’ll want to start slowly. Take advantage of national events, like Take your Dog to Work Day, or have a Dog Days of Summer party to get people used to the idea and create a memorable experience for all involved. Once you’ve held your first successful event, start talking to coworkers about the idea of having dogs around regularly. Your research and your enthusiasm are your best resources to build momentum and get people on board.
3. Set Some Ground Rules
Work with your human resources department to put some simple rules in place. Cover the basic details of who, what, where, when, and how to ensure that pets (and their owners) are being respectful and well behaved.
Some companies will host dog interviews prior to allowing them onsite. Employees would all have a chance to meet the prospect and determine whether the dog’s personality is a good fit for the office before welcoming the pup on board.
Create areas where dogs are off-limits. Meeting rooms, lunchrooms, and bathrooms are often barricaded by doors or child safety gates to establish pet-free zones. If you have coworkers with allergies or pet sensitivities, make sure to respect their wishes and keep their workspace clear of pets.
4. Prepare your Environment
A pet-friendly environment is one that anticipates the occasional accident. Having the proper cleaning supplies and equipment on hand will make it a breeze to clean up messes and minimize the impact on others.
Identify the accessible outdoor areas that you will use for periodic pet breaks. Try to choose a location that is away from the main entrances and walkways and make sure that pet owners are diligent about picking up after their pet.
Armed with the right information, you can easily transform your workplace from a stressful environment to a place where you, and your pet, are eager to come to each day.
Interested in learning more about other workplaces that welcome pets? Check out these recent articles:
Pooch Power: What Dog Friendly Workplaces Can Do for Your Business
Man’s Best Co-Worker
11 Pet Friendly Workplaces