Workplace culture has been changing recently to encourage employees to be more comfortable, and in turn more happy working at an office. Casual dress codes, open work spaces, and office pets are becoming more widely accepted, and appreciated by hardworking employees.
At Clove & Twine, we love our office mascots Paya and Tatertot. We have learned that creating a workplace culture that welcomes furry friends can be very rewarding if done the right way.
Since June 21st is “Take Your Dog to Work Day” we have some helpful guidelines to make your office more dog friendly.
How to Create a Dog Friendly Office
Approach your colleagues armed with information.
There are many reasons why dogs can be beneficial in the workplace, such as:
- Being a helpful perk for employees with pets that live far from the office
- Fostering connections between coworkers
- Supporting pet care when employees need to stay late
- Encouraging employee health with walking and play
- Lowering stress levels
- Increased overall morale and happiness
- Weigh any issues with the office itself.
Consider the management company that runs your office building. Would they approve of pets? Is the office compatible for dogs being around, or can anything be moved or altered to make the space more functional? Are there areas that should be gated off as dog-free zones, like break rooms?
- Understand that some will be adverse to the change, and be proactive.
Some employees might be severely allergic to dogs, or have an intense fear of them. Others may be concerned about messiness or of dogs being a distraction. Be understanding of these worries, and be willing to identify and address each concern with a solution.
- Set expectations, and stick to them.
An owner’s habits reflect on their pets, and it is important to set up standards ahead of time to ensure a work culture balance is maintained. Include these kinds of requirements in a pet policy that employees can sign. This ensures clear understanding between both the pet owner and the company. Employees that bring their dogs to work should:
- Practice cleanliness
A messy pet space will reflect poorly on clients, and potentially create discord between employees. This includes sweeping up pet hair and quickly cleaning up accidents. Pet owners are responsible for keeping their area clean.
- Be respectful of boundaries
Any aggressive behavior at all should not be tolerated. If employees don’t like dogs in their personal desk space, that should be respected by the owner.
- Train appropriately
Although barking can’t always be prevented owners should take responsibility for discouraging the behavior. The same goes for whining, pacing, and jumping up on people.
Have awareness of additional pet time
Set time expectations for short walking breaks. Company time should be respected, as should company property (picking up waste).
- Make your space welcoming to dogs.
While you have your space, dogs should have theirs too. This will not only create a more comfortable atmosphere for colleagues, but also for the dogs themselves. Make sure dogs are set up with a bed and a water or food bowl in designated areas.
Having dogs in the workplace is a wonderful perk, but employees should understand that it is a perk that comes with important rules. Everyone should respectfully follow guidelines according to company values and principles in order to create a comfortable work environment for all.
A dog-friendly workplace isn’t right for every office, and a good compromise may be to suggest bringing dogs to the office just once or twice a month. If after a discussion welcoming dogs to the office seems like a good fit, with the right set up it can truly enhance and uplift your work culture.