Is Your Office Pet-Friendly?
For some offices, every day is considered a Bring Your Pet to Work Day. According to Wellness Natural Pet Food 2018 research, pet-friendly workplaces add to the attraction and retention of employees. Whether your employees are given the flexibility to bring their own pet or the workplace has a dedicated “office pet”, it has been shown to have health benefits such as lower blood pressure, less anxiety, improved mood, and increased physical activity. Out of 1,100 pet owners, ages 18 to 65, whom a research company surveyed nationally, fifty-one percent said they would consider a career change for a pet-friendly workplace. Thirty-seven percent polled they would sacrifice benefits like vacation time or work from home days in order to enjoy a pet-friendly workplace.
To boost employee morale and support a good cause, some offices partner with animal shelters or rescues to create an office foster program. While the shelter maintains “ownership” of the cat or dog, the office employees care for the pet and help to find it a forever home. This is a great option for businesses who want to add to their office culture, uphold the company’s core values, and provide much needed community aid.
If you’re thinking about introducing pets into your workplace, here are some things to consider for ensuring a pet-friendly office and successful workdays for your employees.
Make sure the landlord or building management allows pets in the office. Check with your team to make sure this is an opportunity they are interested in. In case anyone has allergies or any reservations about animals being in the office, you’ll want to give them the opportunity to voice their opinion. For those interested in starting an office foster program, don’t hesitate to reach out to Lee County Humane Society.
Decide where the pets will spend their time. Is there enough space for your employees to have a bed or crate near their desk? For those looking into getting an office cat, is there an appropriate space for a litter box that is also out of sight from customers? Your goal should be to make pets, their owners, and non-owners as comfortable as possible.
Draft a Pet Policy
Create a formal policy that sets clear expectations for your employees. This can outline everything from the type of pets that are allowed to the process by which pets are accepted into the office to the types of toys allowed in the workplace. Are squeaky toys approved? Your employees will need to know.
Pet-Proof the Office
Think of it as baby-proofing your home. Just as you would hide cleaning supplies, secure equipment and loose wires, and block off-limit areas, you’ll do the same for introducing a pet into the office. It wouldn’t hurt to stock up on carpet cleaner and even lint rollers to have on-hand!
Any pet coming into the office should be allowed a transition or introduction period to the new environment. Pets should be introduced to new spaces and each other slowly. If possible, introducing pets to one another in an outdoor area is best. Enclosed areas can cause stress and agitation. Not all pets are cut out for office visits. Owners should pay close attention to their pet for signs of stress and be respectful of their pets social limitations.