Riley is hands down our best-loved employee. Everyone’s face lights up when she walks in the door, she is friendly, never complains, works for treats and gives big, wet kisses when she greets you! Riley is a four-year-old Vizsla who comes to work at Pathway Creations with her owner.
Studies and surveys have reported on the positive impact of having pets in the workplace.
- Productivity and employee morale are increased
- People collaborate more effectively
- Stress hormones measure at lower levels for employees who bring their dogs to work
- Employees are more willing to work overtime
- Higher customer sales
I have to admit, my history in corporate management immediately caused me to cringe as I envisioned all of the issues that could arise with a pet in the workplace. In spite of my concerns, our experience has been extremely positive. What has made this easier is Riley was adopted from a rescue group and our employee has kept records of Riley’s personality and progress in socialization. We had a high degree of confidence that Riley would fit well in our office environment.
One of our employees is allergic to dogs, she made clear that as long as she didn’t touch Riley she was fine with having Riley in the workplace. She enjoys the calming effect Riley has on everyone in the workplace. But, it really underscored the need to develop guidelines around having a pet in the workplace.
If you are considering dogs in your workplace, The Bark published some helpful suggestions for any company considering adapting a “dog friendly” policy.
- Start off with a dog-committee made up of dog owners and non-dog owners to draft a policy.
- Dogs must be friendly to human and other dogs.
- Make sure there are readily accessible outdoor areas for dog “breaks.”
- Follow a dog “hire” policy where a new dog is interviewed for acceptability into the workplace.
- Have a three strikes rule concerning behavioral breaches or human-non compliance (like not picking up after a dog), but if a dog displays aggressive behavior he/she must be removed from the office immediately.
- Some dogs might not be “ready” for the workplace, make sure the office environment is amenable to your dog too. Fearful and shy dogs might not flourish in a busy office.
- Basic training is a must and dogs should have a good social personality.
- If dogs are permitted in meeting rooms, make sure your dog is well-mannered and does not cause distractions.
- Curb barking and dogs should not be allowed to play with squeaky toys.
- Dogs should be housebroken and receives frequent breaks.
- Dogs should be clean, free of illness, and should be up on routine vaccinations and flea protection.
- Introduce a dog slowly into the workplace, and introduce a new dog to the current office dogs in a neutral area, perhaps while out for a walk and not in the office itself.
- Employees should sign a waiver and be responsible for any damage to equipment or other employees. Dogs should not chew on furniture, wiring, cords etc.
- Checks for signs of stress in a dog, signs include excessive panting, drooling, pinned-back ears, etc.
- Depending on the size and layout of the office, dogs can be leashed, and use of baby gates or crates can also be considered.
- Consider a dog-free zone for employees who might have allergies or who are frightened of dogs.
One of our employees who previously worked in sales had called on businesses that allowed dogs. He noted that he consistently observed a calmer, more welcoming environment when dogs were present. Isn’t that something to consider for your workplace?