As companies look to offer employee perks that will attract and retain top talent, pet-friendly office policies have become popular. You don’t need to scroll too far in your social media news feed to see a picture of someone with their dog at work. But bringing your pet to the office is more than a marketing gimmick used to lure job candidates. There are some real advantages to be gained.

While you might want to jump on the bandwagon and adopt an office pet policy, it’s important you do so discreetly. A flippant approach will only result in problems. It’s important to stay informed of the benefits and procedures for allowing dogs at work to avoid any issues. The following blog post serves as a resource to help you make the best decision for your office. 

Dogs in the Workplace are Nothing New

Dogs have always had a place at work:

  • Fire Department Dogs
  • Dogs in garages/auto-shops
  • Search & rescue dogs

The circumstances and reasons for having dogs in these professions are obviously different. They help rescue people and save lives in ways humans simply can’t. That doesn’t mean bringing dogs into an office setting doesn’t have advantages. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Benefits of Dogs in the workplace

1. Make you take necessary breaks

Sometimes we get so busy at work and don’t even realize how much time has passed. That’s not good for your mind or body. The risk of heart disease, dementia, diabetes, and other health concerns increase as a result of sitting too much. If you bring a dog to work, you’re forced to get up and take them outside for a quick walk.

2. Reduces stress

Workplace stress is a real and constant issue for many people. Dogs offer comfort and companionship which, according to studies, can help reduce stress at work.

3. Brings People Together

Dogs in the workplace help foster healthy working relationships among employees. They present a common ground for people to connect, one that is positive and can help boost morale in the office.

Additionally, bringing dogs to work help increase productivity and employee retention. Not to mention it keeps dogs from being alone at home all day. Sounds great, right? Before you implement a new policy, however, consider these helpful tips for establishing one that fits your office.

5 Tips to Establish a Successful Pet-Friendly Office Policy

As mentioned above, you can’t just suddenly declare pets are allowed at work. It’s a surefire way to cause confusion and chaos among employees, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. Do your research and plan well enough so that when you do implement the policy it’s successful. Here are five tips to help:

1. Make sure everyone is on board.

Most people in your office might love pets. But it’s important to speak with everyone regarding their feelings about bringing dogs to work. Someone might be petrified of dogs. If that’s the case, moving forward with a policy would not serve in your best interests.

2. Know the risks.

What happens if someone gets bitten? Although it’s unlikely, it is a real possibility and one that should be considered seriously. Check your insurance plan.

3. Is your office pet proof?

Once you determine employees are onboard with bringing pets to work, you must make sure the office is pet proof.  Some things to consider include:

  • Space for introducing new dogs to each other
  • An outdoor space for dogs to relieve themselves
  • How can pets be contained if their owners need to step out?

4. Set up rules.

It’s important to establish a set of rules for how employees will manage their pets in the office. For example, pet owners should come prepared with their own food and bowls for water. Determine protocol for when a dog starts barking too much. Establishing these guidelines will keep everyone on the same page and make it easier to manage situations if they arise.

5. Have everyone sign the policy.

Once you’ve finalized the new pet policy for your office, print it up for everyone to sign and keep it on file.

Bringing dogs into work is a fantastic employee perk. The benefits are numerous and it can have a lasting positive impact on your office culture. But the execution of the policy must be acceptable for everyone to create a happier workplace.