Pets in the workplace – is your office ready?
by Ontario SPCA and Humane Society | General Pet Care Interesting | May 24, 2022
Are you a business owner thinking of welcoming pets to the office? For many employees, bringing their furry friend to work can improve their well-being and job satisfaction. If welcoming Fido at work is something you’re considering offering your staff, here are some things to consider.
Is your workplace appropriate for pets?
Pet-friendly policies work great in smaller organizations with an office setting. This reduces how many animals might be on-site at once. If your organization is a large workplace and/or a non-office setting such as a factory, a pet-friendly policy may create hazards.
Other considerations including whether there is sufficient outdoor space to walk dogs during breaks. Dogs need a place to relieve themselves, which means poop bags are a must. Think of where those bags will end up. Will there be an outdoor garbage designated for this purpose and who will maintain it?
Health and safety policies
Implementing a pet-friendly policy is a more in-depth process than just allowing animals at work. Animals must be up to date on vaccinations for health and safety reasons.
Do you have employees that are allergic to animals? Do you have any employees who are fearful of dogs? While some employees may want to bring their animals with them to work for comfort, it may cause discomfort and anxiety for others. You must consider all employee preferences in your decision.
Your health and safety policies should also address what to do in the event of an emergency. Animals in your building should be factored into evacuation plans.
Will you have restrictions on how many animals are allowed in the workplace in one day? Are the animals going to be allowed at all hours and during meetings? Will you require the animals to be leashed, kept in offices, or are they allowed to roam? Will there be animal-free areas?
Another important aspect to consider is who will be responsible for regulating the policy. Will it be the responsibility of Human Resources or each employee’s manager? You should also have a plan in place for repercussions if the guidelines are not met, or if a pet isn’t behaving.
While there are many considerations for employers to make before welcoming companion animals to the workplace, there can also be many benefits. Having animals accompany employees can foster positivity and happiness in the workplace, increase productivity and creativity and reduce stress. You may even see an increase in team communication as animals act as an ice breaker and a way to get to know each other.
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