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Allowing Pets in the Workplace: Is it a Good Idea?

By DoodyCalls

Allowing pets in the workplace is a topic that has sparked much debate and discussion in recent years. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 11% of American workplaces allow employees to bring their pets to work. While it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon and allow fluffy friends into the office, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of having pets in the workplace before making a decision. In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of allowing pets at work, and provide some tips for crafting a policy for pets in the workplace.

Benefits of Allowing Pets in the Workplace

There can be many benefits to having pets in the workplace. From happier employees to improved collaboration, pet owners’ passion for their animals can translate to their work ethic and mood when allowed to have them by their side.

Increased Employee Morale

One of the biggest benefits of allowing pets in the workplace is improved employee morale. Pets can be a source of comfort, relaxation, and stress relief, leading to happier and more productive employees. In regards to employee retention, a happy employee is less likely to be looking for other job opportunities.

Better Work-Life Balance

By allowing pets in the workplace, companies can help employees achieve a better work-life balance. Staff members no longer need to worry about rushing home to take their pets for a walk or feel guilty about leaving them alone for long periods during the day. An added benefit to employees is that they will be spending less on doggy daycare, kennels, and dog walkers.

Improved Collaboration

Dogs, in particular, can be a great conversation starter. When employees bring their furry friends to work, they often have a reason to wander around and socialize with colleagues, leading to improved collaboration and employee relationships.

Drawbacks of Allowing Pets in the Workplace

While some may find it hard to see the downside of having pets in the workplace, there are several considerations an employer should take into account. All employees and customers should feel safe and comfortable in your place of business and having animals around may cause unease for some.

Health and Safety Concerns

The most significant drawback of allowing pets in the workplace is the potential for health and safety issues. Pet allergies, bites, and scratches are all common risks associated with allowing animals into an office setting. How do you ensure that the animals allowed in your establishment will not pose a threat to other employees or their pets that have accompanied them to work?

Distractions, Disruptions, and Damages

Pets can be noisy, disruptive, and sometimes even destructive. While some employees may love having pets around, others may need help to concentrate in a pet-friendly environment. The workplace may need extra cleaning due to pet messes and shedding. The employer should also consider who is responsible if a pet causes damage to property in the business establishment.

Discrimination Issues

Allowing pets in the workplace can raise discrimination issues, particularly around those who are allergic to pets or have discomfort or even a phobia of certain animals.

What to Consider for Your Pet Policy

If allowing pets in the workplace is a path you want to navigate as a leader in your organization, you should establish a clearly defined pet policy. This policy should outline several areas that will protect you, the employer, your employees, and their pets from any liabilities, misunderstandings, or mishaps that may arise.

Clearly Define Acceptable Pets

Before welcoming pets to the workplace, it's essential to define which types of animals are allowed. Consider the size, breed, and temperament of the pet, and ensure that all employees are aware of the guidelines.

Provide a Safe Space

Provide a designated pet area that is hygienic and safe for animals to be in and an easy-to-access outdoor area to relieve themselves. Ensure that employees have access to this area throughout the day. You may also need to consider areas in your establishment that may need to remain pet free for those with allergies or other aversions or for health and sanitation reasons, like the cafeteria or restrooms.

Address Health and Safety Concerns

Consider requiring all pets to be up-to-date on vaccinations, are housebroken, and have owners sign a liability waiver to minimize the risk of health and safety issues in the workplace. Other considerations that should be outlined in your pet policy include rules about whether pets need to be leashed at all times or in certain areas, how many pets are allowed in the workplace at a time, and which days of the week - if there will be limitations.

Are Pets in the Workplace a Good Idea?

Allowing pets in the workplace can be a great way to boost employee morale and create a friendly, relaxed working environment. However, before implementing a pet policy, it's essential to weigh the risks and benefits and ensure that all staff members are comfortable with having pets in the office. By following these tips and guidelines, you can create a pet policy that works for you and your employees - and leads to a happier, healthier workplace overall.

How to Make Your Workplace Dog Friendly

Part of your pet policy may be that dog owners must pick up their pet’s droppings. Depending on the size of your business and the number of employees who bring their pets to work, you may consider our pet waste management services for commercial properties. From our pooper scooper services to the installation and management of pet waste stations, we are happy to accommodate the needs of your property and provide our customized recommendation for a comprehensive pet waste management solution. Call (888) 659-6558 or find your location to get a quote or receive more information.